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The population enumerated in the different censuses as being of British-American birth had increased from 21,707 in 1855 to 147,352 in 1885, and of the latter, 64,503 were French Canadians.*
Plural Births. - In 1895 the number of cases of plural birth was 745, of which 736 were cases of twin births and 9 were cases of triplets, the whole number of children born in such plural births being 1,499, of which 773 were males and 726 were females.
This was equivalent to the following ratios : 1.09 per cent. for cases of twins, or 1 case to 92 living births, and .013 per cent. for cases of triplets, or 1 case to each 7,505 living births.
For the two twenty-year periods the figures were as follows:
TABLE 25. — Plural Births, 1856-95.
Cases Cases Percentage Percentage Living Births Living Births
to One Twins. Triplets. Twin Births. Triplet Births. Case of Twins. Case of Triplets.
The foregoing figures are derived from more than one and threefourths million births which occurred in Massachusetts in the forty years 1856–95. They may be compared with the statistics of about twenty million births which occurred in the following countries, mostly during the ten years 1874-83:
* See Report of Provincial Board of Health of Quebec, 1895–96, page 58, for birth-rates in counties inhabited mostly by the French population.
† Die Bewegung der Bevölkerung. Bern, 1885.
Still-births. — The whole number of still-births registered in the two twenty-year periods, together with the number of living births whose sex was known, is indicated in the following table :
ABLE 27. — Living Births and Still-births, 1856-95.
The deaths of males to those of females, among the still-born infants whose sex was known, in the first period, maintained the ratio of 1,501 males to 1,000 females, and in the second period 1,489 males to 1,000 females.
The recorded fatality for each sex was greater in the second period than it was in the first, being for males 2.95 per cent. of all recorded births of males living or dead, in the first period, and 3.78 in the second, and for females 2.10 per cent. in the first and 3.26 in the second.
The mean percentage of the whole period for males was 3.42 and for females 2.45, and for both sexes 2.96, the latter being the ratio of 52,858 still-births to 1,787,301 births living and dead, of those whose sex was known.
In the first period there were 1,589 still-births the sex of which was not registered, or 7.7 per cent. of the whole number of stillbirths registered in that period. In the second period there were 1,558 of this class, or 4.6 of the whole number. This reduction, not only in the relative but also in the absolute figures, may be taken as an indication of more perfect registration, and probably furnishes a partial explanation of the increased percentage of the still-born in the second period as compared with the first.
The still-births registered in 1895 were 2,367, of which number 1,423 were males, 892 were females, and the sex of 52 was not stated.
The following figures comprise the statistics of over a half-million still-births which were registered in the countries named:
The death-rate of the still-born among illegitimates is usually from 10 to 30 per cent. higher than that of legitimate infants.
Illegitimacy. The record of illegitimacy in Massachusetts must be more or less incomplete, because under existing laws there is no requirement that the certificate shall contain the facts as to legitimacy or illegitimacy. A partial clue to the solution of this question exists in the names of the parents, which must be recorded. The tendency of legislation in this direction does not appear to improve the accuracy of the record. Moreover, a considerable number of births occurs in each year in which the parentage is unknown, or not stated in the record. The presumption is that most of these births are illegitimate.
With these facts in view the following figures are presented, for the period 1856–91.
During the first twenty years of the period, from 10 to 25 per cent. of the recorded illegitimate births occurred in the three State almshouses at Tewksbury, Bridgewater and Monson. To these should be added, in the second period, a small number at the Reformatory Prison for Women. The relative number of such births at public institutions was less in the second period than in the first. The unusual ratio recorded in Suffolk County is due to a larger number of such births in the public charitable and correctional institutions of Boston.
TABLE 29. — Illegitimate Births in Massachusetts, 1856-91.
If any reliance can be placed in these figures, illegitimacy has increased considerably in Massachusetts, comparing the two periods, that of the first being as 9.3 per 1,000 births and that of the second period as 18.5 per 1,000.
On account of the defective character of the returns upon this point for the years 1892, 1893, 1894 and 1895, the figures of these years are omitted from the foregoing table, and the total number of illegitimate births at the bottom of the column (14,485) and the ratio (18.5) are for the sixteen years ending with 1891.
Sex. - In the twenty years 1856–75 there were registered 3,294 births of illegitimate males and 3,472 of females, or in the ratio of 1,054 females to 1,000 males. The sex of 39 was unknown.
In the twenty years 1876–95 there were registered 8,820 births of illegitimate males and 8,302 of females, and the sex of 33 was unknown, or in the ratio of 941 females to 1,000 males.
The following table presents the illegitimate birth-rates deduced from over thirty million births in the countries named :
The number of deaths registered in 1895 was 47,450. This was greater than the number registered in 1894 by 659, but was less than those of 1892 or 1893. The death-rate per 1,000 of the living population was 19.01, which was less than that of any previous year since 1879, except that of 1886, which was 18.64 per 1,000.
Comparing the death-rates of the two twenty-year periods, 1856–75 and 1876-95, the death-rates were nearly identical, or 19.49 for the former and 19.51 per 1,000 for the latter period, the difference being only .02.
The death-rates of the successive five-year periods were as follows: 17.94, 20.71, 18.19, 20.83, 18.84, 19.82, 19.41 and 19.83.
The following table presents the deaths and death-rates for each year from 1856 to 1895 inclusive, together with the death-rates for the five-year, ten-year and twenty-year periods. The numbers for earlier years may be found in the table on page 721.