Lapas attēli

garian households were living in two-room apartments, and two-fifths in three rooms.

Of all the households of foreign-born wage-earners, numbering 15,127, one-tenth were housed in two rooms, one-fifth in three rooms, and one-third in four rooms. The immigrant households averaged 587 persons for each 100 apartments, 138 persons for each 100 rooms, and 253 occupants for each 100 sleepingrooms. By way of contrast, the native American households had only 362 persons for each 100 apartments, 77 persons for each 100 rooms, and 184 persons for each 100 sleeping-rooms. Many of the households of recent immigrants had from four to eight persons for each sleeping-room, the maximum number being conditioned only on the available space.


Another significant aspect of the situation is the tendency exhibited by immigrant households to use all of the rooms of their apartments for sleeping purposes. Of the total number studied in detail by the Immigration Commission about 5 per cent. used all of their rooms as sleeping quarters. Of the Bulgarians 63.3 per cent., of the Greeks 16.4 per cent., of the Ruthenians 12.1 per cent., and of the Slovenians 10.3 per cent. used all of the rooms of the apartments in which they lived for sleeping purposes. One-third of the immigrant households had only one room available for cooking, eating and general living purposes.


Perhaps the best general indication of the congested conditions and low standards of living which prevail in the households of immigrant industrial workers

may be seen in the average rent payments per person, due to the tendency of the immigrants to crowd together in order to reduce the per capita rent outlay. The average monthly rent payment per person of native American wage-earners was found by the Immigration Commission to be $2.87, and of immigrant industrial workers only $1.51. The Bulgarians paid only $0.97, the Macedonians $0.78, the Rumanians $1.02, the Servians $1.03, the Croatians $1.09, the Ruthenians $1.15, the Slovaks $1.18 and the Poles $1.24, rental monthly per capita.


General housing and sanitary conditions have been discust in another connection.* The recent immigrant is more inclined than the native American or other immigrants to use the so-called "company-house" system. In bituminous coal mining, iron ore and copper-mining communities in all sections of the country, members of races of recent immigration are more commonly found in company houses than the native American and British and northern European employees. Wherever possible, the two latter classes of employees settle in the urban centers around which the mining villages cluster. In the villages themselves, where all classes of employees are found, there is little discrimination as to the housing facilities, the usual policy of the mining companies being to rent the houses to the first applicants regardless of race. On the other hand, the housing conditions of the immigrants in the larger industrial towns and cities are unattractive and uninviting, and often unsanitary and

* See Chapter IV on Immigrant Communities, and Chapter VII on Immigrant Institutions in America. Also Chapter XI, entitled "The Immigrant as a Dynamic Factor in Industry."

dangerous to the community as a whole. Very little interest in his surroundings is evinced by the recent immigrant. The duties of the immigrant housewife are so arduous and so numerous that she has but little time to keep the living and sleeping quarters in a cleanly condition. The presence of a large number of boarders and lodgers also tends to make this impossible. Consequently the houses are dirty, as a rule, badly kept, and there is little privacy or independent family life. As a rule, there are no water or sanitary appliances in the house.


Space is not available to enter into detailed descriptions of immigrant households. As a concrete illustration, however, of the living conditions which prevail among recent immigrant households, two composite and representative cases may be described: (1) a household in an industrial locality conducted by a family with one or more children; and (2) a boarding group composed entirely of males. The first type of household usually occupies a four-room apartment. The rear room on the first floor is used as a kitchen and living and dining-room for the family and its boarders and lodgers. It is equipped with an ordinary cheap cooking range, a plain table and simple cooking and eating utensils. Sometimes there is running water and a sink, but usually water must be carried from an outside source. In this room the household, which may consist of twelve to twenty adults and children, cook and eat. All the laundry work for the entire household is done in this room. It is also used as a general living and loafing room.

The front room on the ground floor is the sleeping


room of the head of the household and his wife and children. It contains all their personal effects, which are very meager. Almost all of the available floor space is occupied by beds or cots for the family, and clothing is hung on nails around the walls.

The two rooms upstairs are given over to boarders and lodgers. Their furniture consists of beds or cots, seating facilities, so far as they exist, being afforded by the beds or trunks of the boarders. Usually four men sleep in each room, the only limitation upon the number in each room being the available space for placing beds or cots. Working or other clothes are hung about the walls on hooks or nails. In some instances the rooms are occupied by two sets of lodgers, the men who work during the day using the beds at night while the night-workers occupy the same beds during the day. Household conditions throughout are usually very dirty and unattractive.

In the case of the second general type of immigrant industrial households, composed entirely of males, the general arrangement is the same except that all rooms are used for sleeping purposes. Groups of this character usually consist of four to eight men occupying one to two rooms, four men sleeping in a room. The rooms are used indiscriminately for general living purposes. The furniture usually consists wholly of beds and cots and a small stove for heating and cooking. The different members of the group take turns in doing the cooking and the housework. It is hardly necessary to say that, as unsatisfactory as are the conditions in the first class of households, the conditions in the group just described are much worse.



Radical changes have come about within recent years in the racial make-up of the operating forces of American mines and manufacturing establishments. In most of the principal branches of the industries the native American and immigrant employees from Great Britain and northern Europe have, to a large extent, especially in the unskilled occupations, been displaced by recent immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and the Orient. The employment of recent immigrant races has been rendered possible by the development of new processes and mechanical inventions which, in a large measure, have eliminated the elements of skill formerly required of American wage-earners.

Racial Classification of Industrial Workers

A recent study by the Federal Government, including within its scope about three-fourths of a million industrial workers, has revealed the extent to which the different races are employed in American mines and factories.*

See Report of the United States Immigration Commission (18 volumes), entitled, "Immigrants in Industries.' The investigation upon which this report is based was conducted during the last half of 1908, and the first half of the year 1909. The results of the investigation were not affected by the industrial depression which followed the financial breakdown of November, 1907. In the case of the study of families or individuals whose incomes had been impaired by the depression, an allowance was made, and normal earnings and incomes secured. The same method was followed in making inquiries as to housing and living conditions. In this connection, if the investigation were influenced by the industrial depression, the result would be a more favorable showing for the recent immigrant, for the reason that a large proportion had returned to their native countries, and thus lessened the degree of congestion which would normally obtain. The data received from 700,000 employees were practically all obtained during the first half of 1909, and are representative of normal conditions. For a full account of the history and scope of the investigation, see "The Industrial Investigations of the United States Immigration Commission," Journal of Political Economy, July, 1910.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »