Full text: Problems in eugenics

M. L. March. Sociology and Eugenics.209 
which are difficult to bring into agreement ; whereas the number of children 
per family, and certain particulars concerning the family, might be recorded 
on one document only, either census returns or death returns (bulletin de 
décès). Unfortunately, family statistics are few. The first researches made, 
based either on the registers of the civil state or on genealogies, were made in 
Great Britain, but they referred to selected families. 
In 1890 Rubin and Westergaard made a general inquiry, at the time of 
the census, in the families in the city of Copenhagen and in some Danish 
districts. These families were classed according to their professional or 
social status. The same work was taken up again in 1900 by Cordt Trap. 
There is no country in which complete statistics have been collected 
of families classed according to the number of their children and the social 
status. Meanwhile in France, from 1886-1901, a census was taken every five 
years throughout the whole country in which the families were grouped 
according to the number of children surviving at the time of the census. No 
information was collected on the total number of children born of a kind 
which could appear in the published figures, nor on the total productivity of 
marriages; only the combined effect of this productivity and of the deaths 
which had occurred were investigated. Further, no distinction was made 
between the different professions and social classes. 
In 1906, for the first time, the French statistics dealt with all the children 
born, distinguishing between children alive on the day of the census and 
children who had died after birth. Further, the families were classed 
according to the profession and station of their heads. 
Although these statistics were the first in which the study of the fertility 
of marriages according to occupation covered the whole country, certain 
previous investigations had furnished valuable information on the relations 
between social position and fertility. The researches, based on genealogies, 
particularly those of Anseele, Colin, Pearson, and Fahlbeck, and many 
statistical inquiries concerning families, grouped according to their habitat in 
town or country, according to their presumed means, according to their 
living in a rich or poor quarter of certain capitals, or again according to the 
number of domestic servants kept, have enabled one to establish a strict 
relation between fertility and residence in town or country and between 
fertility and wealth or environment. At the present time the general causes 
of restriction of fertility, wherever it occurs, are to a certain extent deter­ 
mined, and they are summarised up, in the statement that the restriction is 
closely connected, in our own time as in the ancient world, with civilisation, 
or at any rate with a certain form of civilisation. It is there, as Professor 
Fahlbeck remarked in his masterly communication to the International Insti­ 
tute of Statistics in London in 1905, that the danger exists with which 
eugenists are rightly concerned.p

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