A Further Discussion of the Variability of Family Strains in the Negro-White Population of New York City

A Further Discussion of the Variability of Family Strains in the Negro-White Population of New York City

Journal of the American Statistical Association
Volume 20, Issue 151 (1925)
pages 380-389
DOI: 10.1080/01621459.1925.10503502

Melville J. Herskovits

A paper read at the meeting of Section H., American Association for the Advancement of Science, at Washington , D.C., January 2, 1925.

In an investigation of the variability of a population, there are a number of sub-variabilities which can be studied, all of which must be taken into consideration when a study of the general variability of a population in a given trait is to be made. Thus, there is, besides the individual variability, that of the individuals themselves from day to day. In the case of growing children, this is an important factor, and is generally recognized where child-data are being worked with. But even with adults, there is the change which occurs with the day’s activity, particularly in such matters as height, or weight. Again, a population is not made up of isolated individuals, but is composed of family lines, and the variability of these is important, as well as the variation within the families. Although great attention is usually paid to the differing variabilities of populations taken as a whole, these others have usually been overlooked.

The present paper is concerned with variations within the family strains, and between these strains, in the Negro-White population of New York City. The measurements were taken at Public School 89, Manhattan, a school the pupils of which are about 98 per cent Negro. The amount of mixture which has gone into the racial composition of this population, is, of course, an unknown quantity, but there is strong reason to believe that an estimate of 15 to 20 per cent pure Negro would be high. In other words, the population is almost entirely mixed. By measuring the variability of family strains an indication may be had of the amount of mixture, and, at the same time, a measure of the variability within these family lines. The statistical procedure needed for such analysis was given by Boas in a paper published some time ago. The writer also has prepared a paper dealing with the…

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