Inherent Hardiness of Jewish Race is Factor in People’s Preservation, New York Survey Shows
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Inherent Hardiness of Jewish Race is Factor in People’s Preservation, New York Survey Shows

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The inherent hardiness of the Jewish race which other peoples lack was pointed to as the reason for the unusually low death rate among the Jewish population of the congested districts of New York City. by Dr. William H. Guilfoy, head of the statistical division of the New York City Health Department, in a survey made public several days ago.

“It is a curious and interesting thing to take a look at the infant death rate in two typical Jewish districts-just as crowded, just as congested, as the other districts with high infant death rates. These districts ranged from 48 to 52 per 1,000-a record just as good as the Washington Heights district where the average income is over $2,500.

“The Jews are unusually eager to take advantage of public health clinics,” Dr. Guilfoy said, “but even this does not explain such an unusual record. And inspections show that they are no better and no worse housekeepers than their neighbors. Apparently it can be explained only as an inherent hardiness.”

The infant mortality rate in two crowded East Side Italian districts ran from 85 to 90 per 1,000. The infant death rate in two crowded negro districts of Harlem ran from 100 to 120 per 1,000.

A look at the tuberculosis map, covering a period of five years, in the office of Dr. L. I. Harris, city Health Commissioner, tells the story of poor housing and its relation to health at one glance.

The districts with a death toll of over 400 per 100,000 inhabitants are shown in solid black. A heavy diagonal stripe indicates districts with a death rate of 200 to 400 per 100,000. Under that there is a lighter diagonal stripe, and districts where there is practically no tuberculosis at all remain white, the survey stated.

The whole lower end of Manhattan Island, from Canal street down, is almost solid black. This includes the Bowery district and the Armenian and Greek sections. One of these sanitary districts had a death rate as high as 1,113 per 100,000 people.

On the West Side as high as Fifty-eighth street the map is marked with heavy black stripes. This section includes many old law tenements, with Irish, Scotch, English, German and some Italian residents.

Harlem is almost solid black on the map. The Jewish East Side, however, shows up as well here as the Riverside Drive and Fifth Avenue districts, despite its unfavorable housing conditions and terrible congestion.

Although physicians differ as to the reason, some advance the opinion that the Jewish race, herded together in ghettos for centuries, long since paid its death tribute to the great white plague, with the result that the race has built up a natural immunity.

But when the same results are shown in pneumonia, in all sorts of children’s diseases and in all other contagions, as well as in the general death rate, it seems logical to assume that the cause must be an inherent racial hardihood which may have resulted from the operation of the law of survival of the fittest, with all the weak weeded out in generations past.

The 1925 figures on tuberculosis, in their relation to living conditions show a typical Italian tenement house section has a death rate of 148 per 100,000; a typical negro district, with some white people, has a rate of 182, and still another has 196, while all records are broken in one district in Harlem with a death rate of 310 per 100,000 from tuberculosis.

This would indicate that the Negroes as a race have not yet built up immunity to tuberculosis, having lived for centuries under conditions in which tuberculosis seldom makes its appearance.

Compare these figures with the Riverside Drive district, with a death toll of only 48 per 100,000 from tuberculosis, and the Filth Avenue district, with only 37 per 100,000. As in other diseases, the Jews kept their death rate down to from 47 to 52 under housing conditions which took more than double that death toll from other races.

The figures on paeumonia tell the same story. This is attributed at least to some extent. to improper heating and bad rentilation. A typical Italian district had 239 deaths per man A typical Negro district 585 A mixed lrish and German district had 274 deaths, while the Riverside Drive section had and the Fifth Avenue district 234. The Jews kept their death rate from pnoumomia, in its crowded East Side district, even lower than the Fifth Avenue millionaires. It ranged from 80 to 106.

One index of sanitary conditions is the death rate from ### diseases among young children. A typical tenement benge semen made up largely of Italians. had a death rate of 712 per 100,000 Riverside Drive had only five per100,000 while Fifth Avenue had only 15. Typical East Side Jewish sections had from S to 25. The same propotions repear themselves in nearly every other disease – contagrous diseases. such as measles. scarlet lever, whooping cough and ###.

A. J. Diamond was re-elected president: of the Newark M.Y.W.H.A at the organization’s annual meeting. The ### were elected to the beard of directors for terms of three years: Louis Bamberg. Felix Fuld Michael Hollander. Morns Cohm Jewish Siegler. Frederick Jay. Bernard Miller, David Satz, lsaan Lerenstion and Rabbi Soloemon Fester.

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