Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/384

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heart, and from apoplexy, Bright's and nephritis has alone increased 94 per cent, in 30 years.

4. In Massachusetts the death rate from cancer has increased 66 per cent, in 30 years, and 31 per cent, during the past 10 years.

5. In the entire registration area the death rate from external cancer alone has increased 55 per cent, in 10 years, from 1900 to 1910.

6. The increase in mortality from diseases of middle life and old age is reflected in the general death rate by an increase commencing in Massachusetts and New Jersey in age group 40-44; in 16 cities group 45-54.

7. The death rate of the total population age 40 and over has increased, 1910 over 1880:

In Massachusetts and New Jersey, 30 years 5.3, or 21.2 per cent.
In sixteen cities, 30 years 8.1, or 25.3 per cent.
In ten states, 10 years (1900-10) .89, or 3 per cent.

The increase in the proportion of older lives in our population has been very slight and could not account for the increase in the death rate.

To what extent are these adverse mortality tendencies reflected in our total population? In estimating the probable increase in the entire country, many factors must be considered, the discussion of which would consume many pages.

The rate of increase in Massachusetts and New Jersey (21 per cent.) doubtless approximates that of all of the populous states of the east. This rate would, however, be reduced if merged with the rate of increase for the agricultural population of the western and northwestern states. On the other hand, this reduction would be largely, if not totally, neutralized by the heavy urban and rural mortality in the south.

It would seem an entirely reasonable conclusion that while the average length of life has advanced, the extreme span of life has not done so—in fact, the indications are that it has been shortened.

Our failure to adapt ourselves to the extraordinary changes and strains of modern existence is commonly accepted as the cause for this excessive mortality in the later age periods. Even though the statistics indicated no increase, the urgent need for correcting our living habits would still exist.

We may agree that in the long run the trend of humanity is ever upward, and that this is but a temporary reaction, but can we afford to rest wholly upon the hope that race deterioration will automatically cease when our people have had time to adjust themselves to modern conditions? "Wise men doubt it. This problem will not solve itself; this adverse tendency will be checked only when our people are made to see conditions as they actually exist, and are aroused to the need of correcting them.