Science: The Fertile Farmers

In the hustle-bustle of the H-bomb age, the North American Hutterites* are remarkable for their ascetic isolation and puritanical dress. Scattered in some 100 farm settlements across the Dakotas, Montana and western Canada, 8,000 Hutterites live under a strict religious communism: no member may hold public office; all property is jointly owned.

Last week the Bulletin of the Population Reference Bureau reported that the Hutterites are notable in another respect: they may be the world's most prolific people. Their annual birth rate, 45.9 per 1,000, is almost double that of the U.S. (24.1). Thanks to modern medical care, the death rate is...

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