Much has been made of the new Canada Periodical Fund, which Masthead calls the “biggest shake-up” to hit mag-funding in a long, long time.

We all had a fun time parsing the politics behind the changes the feds were making to magazine funding: Artsy, small circulation mags were upset to learn that they may get their funding cut off completely, since publications now have to meet a 5,000 minimum paid circulation to qualify for funding. Some larger magazines may actually get more money. Magazines aimed at minority groups will not have to meet a minimum circulation requirement, but, gay and lesbian-oriented titles will. No one will be able to receive more than $1.5 million in funding. Except farm publications. Hmm…what could it all mean?

Well, American mag-lovers should be doing some parsing of their own, according to David Westphal of the USC Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism. In a just-released study, he writes that funding and postal subsidies are “a matter of life and death” for many publications and that they’ve been quietly shrinking for years—since 1792, in fact.