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purpose of apportionment of Representatives in Congress and direct
The early censuses were confined closely to the enumeration of population for political purposes. At the Seventh Census, which was taken in 1850, many additional inquiries were undertaken, among them the enumeration of deaths. It was well understood, or very soon discovered, that the method proposed for obtaining this information, namely, by an enumeration of deaths at the same time that the population was enumerated, would fail to be effective. Never- i theless, the inclusion of the subject of vital statistics in the Federal census was of great importance, although less so for the value of the statistical data collected than for the recognition of the inquiry as of national interest and significance. The work thus undertaken was continued along substantially the same lines at the censuses of 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, and 1900, and was not finally done away with until the Thirteenth Census (1910), when it was decided to dispense entirely with the futile attempt to enumerate deaths, and to rely solely upon the results of actual registration.
Here it may be well to indicate the sharp distinction which exists between the ordinary census method of enumeration and the method of registration, by which only can vital data be satisfactorily collected. Existing facts, as for example the status of the population at a certain date, can readily be ascertained by a count conducted on that date or extending through a brief interval of time. On the
ther hand, events succeeding one another in time can only be comletely and surely recorded by means of a system of registration in onstant operation. The lapse of time, even a comparatively short iterval, dims the recollection of past events. When the attempt is hade to recall the births, deaths, or marriages for a year past and
set down the details, it is found that a considerable number fail to e recorded; and the details concerning those recorded are less trustkorthy than if the records had been made immediately after the ccurrence of the events. 1. To obtain accurate vital statistics, therefore, requires continuous egistration. The establishment of such registration was quite out of he power or scope of the decennial census enumeration, even if
uthority were available therefor. Hence it was necessary to wait ntil the states, acting individually, should pass and enforce the proper lws for this purpose. The collection and utilization of data thus egistered under state (and municipal) laws mark the establishment f what is known as the "registration area," or more properly the i registration area for deaths,” in 1880. The history of the connecion of the Government with the subject is mainly a study of the expansion of that area from its original content, only about one-sixth :17 per cent) of the total population of the United States in 1880, until
now embraces, in 1915, over two-thirds (66.9 per cent) of the total opulation. And the hope of the future is its rapid extension, not
nly for deaths—to which the registration area solely relates at presnt—but also for births, until the entire country shall have attained di condition of 100 per cent efficiency in this respect.
EXTENSION OF THE REGISTRATION AREA FOR DEATHS. The growth of the registration area for deaths is clearly shown in he diagram on page 13, in which the percentages of population and lso the percentages of land area included in the area as compared vith the total population and land area of the United States are disslayed from 1880 to the present time. The geographic distribution If the registration states is shown in the series of cartograms following or the years 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, and 1915. Full details of the population, by geographic divisions and states, may be found in the letailed tables of the appendices, together with death rates 2 and jirth rates,» according to the best data available, for registration ind nonregistration states for various years. The rates for nonRegistration states are given solely for the purpose of showing the general relation of the returns to population. They are not properly o be compared with rates based upon approximately complete eturns from registration sources.
POPULATION, LAND AREA, AND DEATH RATES OF THE REGISTRATION AREA:
1880 To 1914.
Calendar year 1914..
98,781.324 | ? 2,973, 890
77,747, 402 2,974, 159
1 Exclusive of stillbirths.
2 Net reduction of 269 square miles as compared with area stated by census of 1900, due to drainage of lakes and swamps in Illinois and Indiana, building of the Roosevelt and Laguna Reservoirs, and overflow of the Colorado River into the Salton Sea in California.
3 Ending May 31.
It is observed that the registration area increased considerably in population at each decennial census from 1880 to 1900 and that the proportion of land area increased even more rapidly (from 0.6 per cent to 5.9 per cent), although still remaining only an insignificant representative of the entire expanse of the United States. A slight increase is shown in passing from the census year 1900 to the calendar year 1900, which is due to the inclusion of Indiana for the latter year. The proportion of population and land area remained practically constant from 1900 to 1905 (about 40 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively), since which time additions are shown for nearly every year.
The Tenth Census (1880) marked the establishment of the registration area for deaths. It included only two states (Massachusetts and New Jersey), the District of Columbia, and 19 cities. The aggregate population was only 8,538,366, or 17 per cent of the total population of the United States. The number of deaths returned as transcripts of registration records was 169,453, corresponding to a death rate of 19.8 per 1,000 population, while the deaths obtained by enumeration from the nonregistration area numbered 562,564, or 13.5 per 1,000 population. The latter figures are considerably increased by the efforts of Dr. John S. Billings to interest the medical profession of the country in the importance of complete returns and by sending