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The University of North Carolina news letter. online resource (None) 1914-1944, July 09, 1924, Image 1

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The news in this publi cation is released for the press on receipt. THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA NEWS LETTER Published Weekly by the University of North Caro lina for the University Ex tension Division. JULY 9,1924 CHAPEL HILL, N. C. THE UNIVERSITY OP NORTH CAROLINA PRESS VOL. X, NO. 34 BdiloriiU aC.Braa.»n. 3. H., h.. L. H. Wll,™. B. W. Kbirtt D. D. CarMlI. 1. B. BbiUtt, H. W. ( N.vm.b.t K 1914. .t tb.P.»t«ac.t Chai,.l Hill. N. C.. undar tb, act at Aa»n,t £ BIRTH AND INFANT DEATH RATES iXX—DENMARK, A HOME-OWNING CIVILIZATION T. ivBlz«tion of Denmark is based on h .tfie and farm ownership, and the o.viiership of homes and farms is prac tically universal. But it has taken more than a century to lay down these foundations of an enduring cooperative commonwealth. For Denmark is what no other country of Europe is, indeed what no other state in the world is, namely a cooperative commonwealth in every phase of statehood, economic, social, and civic- The Danes believe that home and farm ownership tethers a man to law and order better tfhan all the laws on the statute books, that it promotes in dustry, thrift, sobriety and integrity, that it makes a man a stable, respon sible citizen, that it breeds in him a sense of proprietary interest in church es, schools and roads, that it moves him to safeguard his home and home community against social contamina tions, that it makes him a better’ hus band, a better father, a better neigh bor, and a better citizen. And they are everlastingly right about it. Any com munity, state, or country is in peril so long as its mud-sills are laid down in landlessness, homelessness, and roving, irresponsible citizenship. The Danes are so strongly established in this be lief that they have literally moved Heaven and earth in the last quarter century to reduce town and country tenancy to zero, or as nearly so as humanly possible. America has moved steadily in the' opposite direction. More than one-half of all the people in the United States live in dwellings that they do not own, more than one-half of all the Southern farmers are renters and croppers, a third of all our white farmers and two- thirds of our negro farmers in North Carolina are tenants, while in our larg er cities from two-thirds to three- fourths of the people spend their days and nights like poor Dante going up and down somebody else's stairs. But in Denmark the farmers believe in having their legs under their own tables. There are a few more farmers in Denmark ihan in North Carolina but the Danish tenants and renters are barely more than 5,000 or less than two and a half percent of all the farmers. That is to say, tenants and renters in the American sense of these words. The Danish peasants like the peasants of Germany and France have a passion for land ownership. The lust for land that was the ruling passion of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers in the long- ago days died out in western civiliza tion, but it lives in Denmark. Said a Jutland Dane to me, “A farmer hasn’t got any standing unless he owns some land if it isn’t more than a hectare. Hardly anybody respects him in Den mark unless he is a landowner big or little.” It brought to my mind the ancient sayings of the early Saxons: “The land’s the man, Noland, no man. Who owns the land owns the man. Who owns the land rules the realm.” A self-respecting farmer in Denmark owns a farm of some size if it isn’t bigger than a pocket handerkerchief, and the passion for home ownership is Dearly as strong in the cities. If communism moves westward out of Russia as it may do in some distant day, it will assuredly leave Denmark untouched. Communism ^gathers vol ume wherever there are groups of landless, homeless people. It showed its head in the cities and industrial areas of Germany and France in the last elections, and it is in a position in both these countries to demand a hear ing in legislative halls. And not only this, it is in a position to demand a place in the ministries of both coun tries. Its strength is entirely in the towns, cities and other industrial cen ters where homeless wage and salary earners are multiplying as rapidly as in America. But the bulwark of defence against communism in Denmark is uni versal or nearly universal home and farm ownership. Property owners tend to be conservative in their ways of thinking about life, business and politics, for the very simple reason that they have something to conserve. The radicals are radical everywhere because they own barely more than the clothes on their bodies, the strength of their backs, and the skill of their fingers. They are radical because they have little or no property at risk. Property and Wage-Earners Outside of Copenhagen the Dane without land, goods, and chattels is rare, so rare that he is almost un known. Even the farm laborer is usu ally a house-holder settled onj a little lot of his very own, and he thinks of himself as belonging to the Little Lander class of home-owning farmers. The property-owning passion of the small wage and salary earning classes of Copenhagen leads them to build and furnish little shacks of their own on small garden spots on the vacant lots and open fields fringing the city. They look like colonies of doll houses. Some of them are artistic, many are mere shanties—a mere trifle, a poor thing but their own, they say. On Sundays the proprietors swarm into these col onies with their wives and children, fly their Danebrogs gkily, smoke, gossip, eat, and work their little garden spa ces, and revel in the open air enjoyment of life. Copenhagen and every other Danish city are rimmed ^around with holiday scenes of thisjsort. They are as spectacular as the traveling fairs of Germany or the street carnivals of France and America, but they are es sentially different, because their origin lies in the lust for property ownetship, I may say that these tinyj garden lots are sometimes owned by the occupants, who actually live in the midget dwell ings until they can move up into larger land ownership, but.ijusually they are merely renters or leaseholders. Fre quently the owners of these vacant lots are merchants or manufacturers who grant rent-free privileges of this sort to their employees. The vacant lot gardening of the UnitedJStates is one thing, but in Denmark it is quite an other thing. It is more>r less a fad in the United States, it isja racial pas sion in Denmark—a passion for grow ing things and for something they can call their own. Promoting Home Ownership The cities of Denmark are busy get ting wage and salary earners into homes of their own. There^ are signs of it everywhere you turn. The outskirts of Copenhagen in a dozen points of the compass show colonies of people living in modest homes built with money bor rowed straight out;;of the state and municipal treasuries, or built by the municipalities and sold to citizens of good character at cost upon long term payments at low rates of interest. Frederickshaven, for instance, bought a tract of land, erected some seventy brick or brick-veneer buildings, each one different from all the rest, and the city is now offering these dwellings to picked people among its wage and sal ary earners at the exact cost, including to be sure the expenses of street building, water, sewer and light instal lations. Any reputable citizen of small income can buy the dwelling of his choice and have from sixty-five to ninety-eight years in which^'to pay for it in regular monthly payments upon principal and interest. What he pays is always less than the rent he would otherwise surrender to grasping landlords. I found the same purpose embodied in a different plan in Elsi nore. Taking the city dwellers of Den mark as a whole,: nearly* three-fourths of them own the houses they live in. In North Carolina nearly three-fourths of the city dwellers in towns of 10,000 or more inhabitants are renters, and rent in every one of these cities has now come to be a nightmare. State-Aid to Farm Ownership Any reputable farmer over twenty- five and under fifty years of age can own a farm in Denmark. The state for twenty-five years has beenjdeliberately helping men to rise out of tenancy into farm-ownership. State-aid to farmers began in 1899 and up to date 96 million kroner has been appropriated by the Danish Parliament for this purpose. Reckoned in the normal exchange value of the krone the total is right around thirty million dollars. Forty percent of this amount was taken out . of the PLUNKETT’S FORMULA Every man working to help the ' farmer must look at rural life as an industry, a business, and a life. They must organize for better farming, better business, and better living. We soon discovered that better business was the basic thing in rural organization. The farmer would not listen to plans for better farming and better living until organization got him money for his stuff. Coop erative organization proved to be the foundation for the whole uplift movement. If it is profitable for farmers to come together they will stay together. They will use their business organization for social and intellectual purposes. No organiza tion can neglect any one of the threefold purposes of combination and live. The organization must have people working on all three sides of the problem. In successful farm organization there must be no building from the top down. The local community group must feel its part in the big organization, must understand it, and must have its say in the forma tion of policies.—Sir Horace Plun kett. ordinary revenues of the state and the rest or most of it.Vas furnished by the fourteen land credit societies. These credit societies are regional societies. They are private coporations composed of members who have investment capi tal at their disposal, that is to say trust moneys that they are willing to let in this way at low rates of interest be cause of the safety of ithe security. They lend to a farmer 80 percent of the value of the farm and farm equipments on very much the plan of our building and loan associations in America. They hand out tax-free debenture bonds to the borrowers and they are bonds un derwritten by both the state authorities and the credit societies. The farmers cash these bonds at the banks or sell them to private buyers. The borrowers make stated monthly payments that in 98 years dismiss the debt. These pay ments are calculated at four percent, three and one-half percent being inter est and one-half percent;*being pay ments on the principal. In twenty-five years the losses of the fourteen credit societies have been less than one-third of one percent. The foreclosing of mort gages is rare in Denmark. If anybody loses finally the loss falls upon the state that guarantees these land mort gage bonds, but the state is willing to bear the loss if any in order to build a stable and enduring commonwealth upon the substantial basis of home ownership and the citizenship that own ership breeds. The rule is for a farmer of experience to evidence his character by offering one-tenth of the purchase money as a first payment. If he does not have the power of . hardy self-denial sufficient to have saved at least that much, the conclu-! sion is that he is not a good credit j risk. The would-be farm owner, upon ! satisfactory evidence of character, can I borrow as much as $4,000 on first and second mortgages, the first mortgage maturing in 66 years and the second in 98 years. The interest rate is 4 per cent, which includes regular payments on the principal. The short-term loans he needs for productive uses or emer gency purposes he gets from his co operative credit union, where again his collateral is his character, re-en- forced by the combined character of his cooperative credit group. There is no better collateral at the bank count ers of the country. An Extreme State Policy But five years ago Denmark went a step further. The state seized the glebe lands of the Lutheran churches and in this way secured 100 thousand acres to be sold to small-scale farmers. It was already state property, of course, and what the state did was to make it available for settlement by little farmers and farm laborers. But also parliament broke down the ancient laws of entail and seized one-fourth of the land of the large estates and one- fifth of their accrued capital wealth. In this way it secured 126,000 acres more and opened them up to settlement by the Little Landers of character upon the usual terms of interest and pay ment. The details of which need not be given here. Indeed this whole story of state-aid to farm ownership in Den mark will be found in brief in Howe’s Denmark, A Cooperative Common wealth, Mead’s Helping Men Own Farms, and Faber’s Cooperation in Danish Agriculture. But the pertinent point I make is this, namely, that for twenty-five years Denmark has had a settled plan of get ting farmers and city dwellers settled down safely under their own roof-trees, that it is a business plan figured upon the basis of solvency. The business of promoting farm ownership in Denmark is a growing concern far removed from bankruptcy. It is in no sense a charity but in every sense an opportunity that the state gives to worthy people to ac quire farms and homes of their very own. The details of management are business details and men charged with these business details are trained busi ness men. So far the state has suffered no losses, and the losses of the credit societies have been so small as to make scarcely a dent in the twenty million dollar reserve fund of these corpora tions. All this, to make 18,000 farm owners out of so many farm tenants and farm laborers! The number looks small when set against twenty-five years of intri cate tedious work, but these 18,000 owners of new homes and farms swell the volume of national wealth, increase the tax resources of the state, multi ply business profits and bank dividends, re-enforce the army of stable, respon sible citizens devoted to Denmark be cause they have a stake in the land. The Danes are firmly convinced that their home ownership policies are worth vastly more than the risk, the trouble, and the loan capital of ninety-five mil lion kroner. Manifestly the farmers of Denmark are loaded down with debt—around a hundred millions of state debt, another hundred millions of municipal debt, and another hundred millions of land mortgage debt. Their children and their children’s children will be bur dened with debt for generations to come. But it is debt willingly assumed in order to transform renters of trifling significance into owners and citizens of value and consequence. The Danes are not afraid of mortgage debt or bonded debt. To be in big business of any sort, private, municipal or state, is to be in debt—inescapably so. But they are sturdy in body and brain, and they look forward into a hopeful future. They are moving upward inch by inch, day by day, into untrammeled owner ship, ownership of themselves, their homes, their farms, their businesses, and their commonwealth. All told, the most cheerful and the most alert farm civilization that I have ever looked upon is the civilization of the debt laden people of Denmark. —E. C. Bran son, Copenhagen. BIRTH AND DEATH RATES For many years North Carolina has ranked first among the states of the registration area in the number of births per 1,000 inhabitants. The fig ures for 1923 which have just been re leased by the Bureau of the Census show that North Carolina again ranks first in birth rates with 30 births per 1,000 inhabitants in the state. Utah ranks second, while Virginia, Ken tucky, and South Carolina, adjoining states, follow in the order named. The table which appears elsewhere shows the rank of the states of the reeistra- tion area in birth rates, while the ac companying column shows the number of infant deaths, deaths under one year of age exclusive of still-births, per 1,000 births. The birth rate in North Carolina is 35 percent above the average birth rate for the states of the registration area, which contain about 86 percent of the population of the United States. Every year our birth rate averages about one- third higher than the rate for all the states. And our high rate is not due to our negro population for as a rule the white and negro rates are about the same. Our high birth rate is due largely to the fact that the bulk of our people live on farms and in small towns. Farm families are usually larger than urban families. But also the high rate is due in a large measure to the virile stock of natives who in habit the state, since out urban birth rate is not far below the country rate. The urban birth rate is higher in onlv one state. Twenty-one of the 27 states had low er birth rates in 1923 than in 1922. North Carolina was one of these, her rate decreasing from 30.9 to 30. Our rate in 1921 was 33.8, which was con siderably above the rate for last year. However, we still lead our nearest competitor by a comfortable margin. Infant Deaths But when it comes to infant mortali ty the picture is almost the reverse. For every 1,000 babies born in North Carolina in 1923 there were 82 deaths of infants under one year of age ex clusive of still-births. The infant death rate was higher in only eight states, mainly states with either large negro ratios or a high percentage of foreign- born inhabitants. Infant mortality among negroes helps to account for the high infant death rate in this and other southern states. Figures for 1923 are not avail able as yet, but in 1921 the negro in fant death rate in North Carolina was 95 per 1,000 births, while the white rate was 66. Although we still rank* low in infant mortality we have made remarkable progress during recent years, due mainly to the great work of our state and county health departments. For instance the negro infant mortality rate in 1917 was 133 deaths for 1 000 births. By 1921 the rate had been re duced to 96. The white infant death rate was reduced from 85 to 66 during ’ the same period. We do not have data by races for 1923. Ignorance is the one great cause of infant deaths. North Carolina is mak ing gratifying progress along educa tional lines and this, together with the excellent work of our public health of ficers, IS bringing about a rapid reduc tion in infant deaths. The rate is still too high—far too high. We cannot af ford to remain near the bottom in in fant deaths. For every 1,000 births in North Carolina 82 infants die during the first twelve months. This is a use less waste of human life, attributable very largely to ignorance. With a public health department in every coun ty in the state the infant death rate would gradually be reduced. Before' many years we would lead not only in births, but in the prevention of sick ness, the conservation of health and life, and especially in the saving of in nocent infants from an untimely grave. Ignorance and infant mortality are com panion evils. The infant death rate is a good yardstick with which to meas ure the level of intelligence of a peo ple. To lead in births is both praise worthy and desirable, but to rank best in infant mortality rates is immeasur ably more desirable. BIRTH AND INFANT DEATH RATES In the Registration Area of the U. S in 1923 I table, based on U. S. Census report, the states which be- ,^^®5®SJstration area are ranked according to the birth rate excln«?ivp of stilLbirths, per 1,000 population. The accompanying column shows the death rate of infants under one year of age per 1,000 births. ueueaia Average birth rate for the states in the registration area 22 2 ner 1 000 population. Average infant death rate 77 per 1,000 births ' ’ Average birth rate for North Carolina 30.0 per 1,000'inhabitants and we continue to lead the states of the registration area. However our infant tUs%Tpect^^ pooler ”n S. H. Hobbs, Jr. Department of Rural Social Economics, University of North Carolina Rank State Birth rate per 1,000 popu lation Infant death rate per 1,000 births Rank State Birth rate per 1,000 popu lation 1 North Carolina.,. .... 30.0 82 16 Indiana . . 5>1 7 2 Utah .... 28.6 68 16 Kansas 91 7 3 Virginia .... 26.7 84 18 Wisconsin .... 91 a 4 Kentucky .... 26.4 72 19 New York 91 9 4 South Carolina. . .... 25.4 96 20 Ohio 6 Pennsylvania .... .... 23.9 90 21 California ... 90 Q 7 Mississippi .... 23.8 68 22 Connecticut -.. 20.8 8 Wyoming .... 23.2 80 22 New Hampshire... 20 8 9 Rhode Island*.. . .... 23.1 86 22 Vermont. . 90 8 10 Maryland .... 23.0 96 26 Delaware IQ 7 11 Minnesota .... 22.6 62 26 Illinois IQ 4 12 Maine .... 22.4 89 27 Oregon 18 1 ]3 New Jersey .... 22.1 72 28 Washington.... 17 K 13 Massachusetts*... .... 22.1 81 29 Montana . .. 17.1 16 Nebraska * 1922 22.0 66 Infant death rate per 1,000 births 71 63 71 72 75 73 77 93 76 104 82 67 57 71

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