Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/831

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

prevails, nevertheless each land has its peculiar, apparently constant characteristic sexual composition. In Europe there anciently and still is a greater excess of women in the north than in the states of middle Europe and the east, in some of which the women are in the minority. Through Europe as a whole the number of women is very definitely in excess of that of the men, and the excess appears to be increasing. It was very great after the Napoleonic wars; then the numbers gradually tended toward equality and nearly reached it (1847 to 1850, 1,009 to 1,000); then they diverged again, and stood, in 1870, 1,037 to 1,000. The phases of increased difference are generally observable after wars, and latterly appear to be the result partly of the enormous emigration which has taken place to other quarters of the earth. In America as a whole, and in Australia and Africa, on the other hand, whither this emigration with its preponderance of males is tending, the men are in excess, and the excess is increasing with the constant arrival of new parties of immigrants. Nevertheless, a near approach to equality prevails over the earth as a whole, and this whether we regard the white, black, or red races, or their mixtures.

Another instance of typical regularity of structure is seen in the constitution of society by ages. Each country has its characteristic peculiarities in this respect. In France, for example, the percentage of children is the smallest, and that of men of from forty to sixty years, and of old men, is the greatest; while in the United States the exact contrary rules. European states generally lie between the two extremes, and present constant normal figures. The age-constitution of each country might be represented by a pyramid, the base of which should be made up of the class of the youngest, and the summit of that of the highest age. Such pyramids would have their particular proportions for each country, which would suffer only gradual changes through the continual operation of social and political influences. The pyramids standing for the United States and Hungary would have very broad bases, and rise by much sharper angles to their tops than those in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where children are relatively less, and middle-aged and old men more numerous.

A similar constancy is observed in respect to civil condition. Except in France—where the proportion of the married is greater and that of the single is less—of the whole population of all ages in the several European states, and with but little variation in any single state, sixty-two per cent of the male and fifty-nine per cent of the female inhabitants are single, thirty-four and thirty-three per cent are married, and six and eight per cent are widowed. Taking only that part of the population between forty-one and fifty years of age, with similar constancy, seventy to eighty-four per cent of them are married. Similar constants have been established with reference to religious confession, nationality, the choice of occupations, and