(Read to the American Public Health Association, Nov. 15, 1883)
The increase of population necessarily increases the aggregate of insane. The important question, and the one mainly to be discussed, is this: Does insanity increase faster, in proportion, than does the population?
The facts, on which the following discussion is based, are taken mainly from the census of 1880, in connection with that of 1850, 1860 and 1870. The reports of the number of insane in the preceding decades are known to be defective in their aggregates, but whatever error there is in the total, the error is fairly and proportionately distributed between the several classes of population, and to this extent they may be used as standards of comparison.
The census of 1880, manifestly the fullest and most accurate ever made by our Government, is itself defective; while it makes manifest the increased ratio of insane to population, it