|THE JEWS: A STUDY OF RACE AND ENVIRONMENT|
NEW YORK CITY
ONE of the most important causes of the low birth rate of the Jews is their low marriage rate. Only about fifty years ago an unmarried Jew was very rare in Europe, while an old maid was hardly to be met with in the Ghetto. They then followed closely the rabbinical ordinances: "It is the duty of every Israelite to marry as early in life as possible. Eighteen years is the age set by the rabbis; any one remaining unmarried after his twentieth year is said to be cursed by God Himself. Some rabbis urge that children should marry as soon as they reach the age of puberty, i. e., the fourteenth year. A man, who, without any reason, refuses to marry after he has passed his twentieth year is frequently compelled to do so by court." These Talmudical ordinances are not observed to-day by the bulk of European and American Jews, and their marriage rates are much below those of the christian populations among which they live.
Taking first statistics of the crude marriage rate, i. e., the annual number of marriages per 1,000 population, we find in every country in Europe, where data are available, that the rates for the Jews are lower, as can be seen from the following table:
|Country.||Period||No. of Marriages per 1,000 Population.|
It must be emphasized that even these figures do not give an adequate idea of the low marriage rates of the Jews, because the Jewish population contains a smaller number of children and larger proportion
- 'Jewish Encyclopedia,' Vol. VIII., p. 347.