Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 85.djvu/199

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195
DISTRIBUTION OF AMERICAN GENIUS

cent, above New York, the state outside of New England coming next in rank.

There is another test to which the figures may he subjected. There may conceivably be some relation between the educational advantages offered in cities and the proportion of eminent men developed in any population. The champions of environment as the modifying factor in life insist that the influences of city life go far to outweigh heredity qualities. Therefore, since the northeastern portion of the United States was the original center of educational activity, and since it now contains the largest proportion of city population, it might well be expected to produce the largest proportion of eminent persons.

There were twenty-seven cities which reported a population of more than 20,000 in 1850. A separate tabulation for these gives an excellent idea of the proportion of eminent persons born in city and rural districts. In passing, it is interesting to note that of these twenty-seven cities,

 
4 were in New England,
10 were in the Middle Atlantic States,
4 were in the East North Central States.
 

The other six geographical divisions of states have but nine of the twenty-seven cities.

Table V

Eminent Persons who were Born in the Cities of the United States which had a Population of 20,000 or over in 1850, with the Per Cent, of the Total Population of the United States living in those Cities in 1850 and in 1880
 
Time of Birth Total Eminent Persons Eminent Per-
sons Born in 27
Leading Cities
Per Cent.
Before 1850 2,818 599 21.2
1850-1859 2,715 610 22.5
1860-1869 2,717 591 21.7
1870-1879 1,304 363 27.8
1880-1889 95 38 40.0
No age 351 123 ———
 Totals 10,000 2,324 23.2
 

During the entire period under consideration, these twenty-seven cities contained from one twelfth to one eighth of the population of the United States. The proportion of the total population of the United States living in these twenty-seven cities was,

 
In 1850 8.7 per cent.
In 1860 11.2 per cent.
In 1870 12.8 per cent.
In 1880 13.1 per cent.