Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/489

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485
ASSORTATIVE MATING IN MEN

Bell laid great emphasis upon the influence of educational segregation, especially upon the use of a sign language, with its subjective influence on thought, in bringing about the intermarriage of the deaf. That this is a factor appears from Fay's elaborate records. He classified 7,277 deaf individuals according to the method of education and found that of those who attended boarding schools for the deaf, 86.2 per cent, married deaf mates, while of those who attended day schools, or both day and boarding schools, for the deaf 77.8 per cent, married deaf consorts.[1] In contrast are the records of those who attended no school for the deaf: in this class, 62.4 per cent, married deaf individuals. The difference between 62.4 per cent, and 86.2 per cent, probably indicates roughly the influence of scholastic segregation.

Fay also finds that of the pupils who attended exclusively oral schools 78.2 per cent, married deaf partners, while of those who were educated at schools not exclusively oral, or partly at schools exclusively oral and partly at schools not exclusively oral, somewhat over 86 per cent, of marriages were homogamous for deafness. Perhaps these figures indicate a sensible influence of the method of instruction.[2] Nevertheless, one cannot but be impressed with the intensity of the assortative mating that occurs independent of this factor. With no such isolation 62 per cent, of deaf individuals marry those who are deaf. Considering the intensity of the inheritance of deafness,[3] we see what grave social results may be expected from this tendency.

Apparently unions where both members are deaf are more happy than those where only one is so afflicted. Table IV. gives the best available

TABLE IV
Marriages of the Deaf Num-
ber of
Mar-
riages
Divorces Separations Divorces and Separations
Num-
ber
Per-
centage
Num-
ber
Per-
centage
Num-
ber
Per-
centage
Both partners deaf 3,242 33 1.018 51 1.573 84 2,591
One partner deaf, the other hearing 894 25 2,796 33 3,691 58 6,488
One partner deaf, the other unreported 335 7 2.090 7 2.090 14 4.179
Total 4,471 65 1.454 91 2.035 156 3.489

records indicating the "success" or "failure" of like and unlike matings. Of course divorce, separation or number of children do not tell the whole tale; they give rather a lower limit to the measure of domestic infelicity.

  1. In the eases where the mode of education is not known, 77.3 per cent. chose deaf partners.
  2. If the probable error of the percentages were calculated, their distinctness would appear much more open to question.
  3. See besides Fay's analysis of his data, a paper by Schuster, Biometrika, Vol. 4, pp. 465-482, 1906.