Birth and Death Rates.
—The lowest death rate in the history of the country and the largest annual number of births were forecast for 1954 by Dr. Leonard A. Scheele, Surgeon General of the Public Health Service of the U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Dr. Scheele made his statement on the basis of vital statistics reports for the first ten months of the year.The death rate for the year is expected to close at 9.2 deaths per 1,000 population, a substantial drop from the rates of 9.6 or 9.7 which have prevailed over the past five years. The absence of any reported outbreak of influenza in 1954, with consequent low death rates for the chronic cardiovascular diseases, was cited as a principal reason for the decline. Infant and maternal deaths were also expected to hit new lows.Births will top the four-million mark for