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CHAPTER V.

HOUSING AND LIVING CONDITIONS.

Housing and living conditions,Living arrangements-Rent in its relation to standard of living-Boarders and lodgers-Size of apartments occupied-Size of households studied-Congestion—[Text Tables 65 to 93 and General Tables 20 to 31).

HOUSING AND LIVING CONDITIONS.

The statistical study of housing and living conditions, with special reference to rent paid and to congestion within the household, in the bituminous coal-mining industry is based on a detailed investigation of 2,371 households.

The great majority of the immigrant employees in the bituminous mining industry in all localities live in the company houses” of the mining towns or villages. The tendency of the recent immigrant is more pronounced in this direction than is that of the older immigrant or the employee of native birth. These latter as a rule prefer to live wherever possible in houses of their own or as tenants of private landlords in the larger towns or centers of population. Where no such living arrangement can be conveniently made, however, the mine workers of native birth or of races from Great Britain and northern Europe will be found living, along with the races of recent immigration, in the houses of the company village. Within these villages or towns there is not much segregation into colonies according to race, for the reason that the greater number of mining companies follow the policy of renting vacant houses without regard to the race of the applicant. An exception to this procedure, however, is to be found in the South, where the living quarters of negroes are usually separate from those of the native white and other employees.

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS.

As regards the domestic arrangements of the immigrant households, it is characteristic of all localities that family life in an independent form scarcely exists, and the distinguishing mode of living is that of the group. The family life, which more largely prevails among the native-born and races of older immigration, needs no detailed discussion. The boarding group method of living, which is usual among races of recent immigration, may be divided into two general systems. The first is the ordinary American plan by which the boarder pays a fixed amount each week or month for food, lodging, and washing. This system is not followed to any considerable extent by the races of southern and eastern Europe. The second plan, however, which is the one generally adopted by these races, is

a See general description of company houses in each locality, pp. 94, 95.

termed the “boarding boss” system, and under its provisions each lodger pays a fixed sum per month, usually between $2 and $3, for lodging, cooking, and washing, the individual members of the group sharing equally the cost of food. There are many variations of this plan, but it constitutes the basis for the prevailing system. The boarding boss is usually a married employee, whose wife does the cooking, washing, and other household work.

RENT IN ITS RELATION TO STANDARD OF LIVING.

As regards rent as an item of cost of living, the series of tables next presented will be found to be of value, but the figures are chiefly of significance as an indication of the standard of living maintained by households of bituminous mining communities. If no boarders or lodgers were kept, the rent paid per apartment would be indicative, in a general way, of the standard of living; but inasmuch as many races follow the custom of renting larger houses than are needed for their immediate family for the purpose of adding to the family income by keeping boarders or lodgers, it is believed that the rent per person is the only fair basis of comparison of standard of living.

The fairest comparison possible would be the rent paid per “adult,” a presentation which is highly desirable; but such a plan would involve an arbitrary fixing of age limits and a large amount of work in tabulating, and it has, therefore, not been followed in this report. A table showing the average monthly rent per apartment, per room, and per person, for the 1,848 households studied, by race, is next presented. Table 65.— Average rent per month, by general nativity and race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) [This table includes only races with 10 or more households reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.)

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Total native-born of foreign lather.
Total native-born..
Total foreign-born.

14

96 1,752

8. 84
7.78
6. 48

1.96
1.99
1.75

1.63 1.73 1.03

The highest rent per apartment, per room, and per person is paid by the white households native-born of native father, the averages being $8.43 per apartment, $2.10 per room, and $1.95 per person, The Welsh pay the second highest average rent per apartment and per person, although eight other foreign races pay a higher average rent per room. The Irish pay the second highest average rent per room. The Mexicans pay the lowest average rent per apartment, $4.58. The employees of this race are found in the mines of the Southwest and occupy the least desirable, the most dilapidated, and consequently the cheapest, houses in the mining communities. The Roumanians pay the lowest average rent per room, $1.31. The Russians pay the lowest average rent per person, $0.85, and the third lowest average per apartment, $5.30.

The average rent per person paid by some of the foreign races, compared with the average paid by whites native-born of native father, shows that the Russians pay 56.4 per cent less than the nativeborn whites, the South Italians 52.8 per cent less, the Croatians 50.8 per cent less, and the Mexicans, Poles, and Slovaks 50.3 per cent less. The Welsh most nearly approach the whites native-born of native father, but at the same time pay 19.5 per cent less; the English pay 23.6 per cent less, and the Irish 24.6 per cent less.

The table showing, by geographical divisions, the average rent per apartment is next presented.

TABLE 66.-Average rent per month per apartment, by locality and by general nativity

and race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) [This table includes only races with 10 or more households reporting in each of two or more localities.

The totals, however, are for all races.)

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a This total includes bouseholds not given in the localities, because within a locality no race was tabulated unless 10 or more schedules were secured.

Not computed, owing to small number involved.

The preceding table shows that the white households, nativeborn of native father, in each geographical division in which they are represented, pay the highest average rent per apartment. In the South the whites native-born of native father are not represented, and the highest average is paid by the Magyars. In the Middle West the second rank is taken by the Lithuanians, in Pennsylvania by the English, in the South by the Slovaks, and in the Southwest by the Lithuanians. The lowest average in the Middle West is paid by the North Italians, in Pennsylvania by the Slovaks, in the South by the Germans, and in the Southwest by the Poles.

The table next submitted shows the average rent per room paid in each geographical division.

Table 67.— Average rent per month per room, by locality and by general nativity and

race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) [This table includes only races with 10 or more households reporting in each of two or more localities. The

totals, however, are for all races.)

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a This total includes households not given in the localities, because within a locality no race was tabulated unless 10 or more schedules were secured.

b Not computed, owing to small number involved.

The households whose heads are whites native-born of native father pay the highest average rent per room in the Middle West and in Pennsylvania. In the South this race is not represented, and the highest rent is paid by the Magyars. The North Italians in the Southwest pay a slightly higher average than do the native whites. Second rank in average rent per room is taken by the Lithuanians in the Middle West, by the English in Pennsylvania, by the Slovaks in the South, and by the native whites of native father in the Southwest. The lowest average in the Middle West is paid by the North and South Italians, in Pennsylvania by the Slovaks, in the South by the English, and in the Southwest by the South Italians. The average for all families studied is $2.09 per room in the Middle West, $1.80 in the Southwest, $1.75 in the South, and $1.73 in Pennsylvania.

For reasons already set forth, rent payments per apartment and per room are not so satisfactory as rents per person for the purpose of determining comparative living conditions and standards of living. It is believed, however, that the rent per person is an entirely satisfactory basis of comparison, the only disturbing factor being the varying proportions of women and children among different races. Consequently the best indication as to standard of living afforded by rent payments is to be found in the table following, which shows the average rent per person in each geographical division.

TABLE 68.-Average rent per month per person, by locality and by general nativity and race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)

[This table includes only races with 10 or more households reporting in each of two or more localities. The totals, however, are for all races.]

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Grand total................

Total native-born of foreign father.
Total native-born...

Total foreign-born..

Middle
West.

$2.81

1.90
1.53

1. 44

(b)

1.74

2.81
1.56

Pennsyl-
vania.

$1.92

1.82

1.44

1.00

.78

1.09

1.07

.93

.97

1.00

1.92

.99

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1.05

1. 15

1.03

This total includes households not given in the localities, because within a locality no race was tabulated unless 10 or more schedules were secured.

Not computed, owing to small number involved.

It is at once evident from the foregoing table that the households whose heads are native-born white of native father pay the highest average rent per person in each of the three geographical divisions in which they are represented. In the South, where no households of that group are included, the English and North Italians average highest, the showing being the same for those two races, but very much smaller than the average of the native whites in the other localities In the Middle West the North Italians rank second, in Pennsylvania the English, in the South the Magyars, and in the Southwest the Lithuanians. The Lithuanians rank lowest in average rent per person in the Middle West, the South Italians in Pennsylvania, the Lithuanians in the South, and the South Italians in the Southwest.

The average rent per person may be compared for some of the foreign races with the average of households whose heads are whites native-born of native father in the Middle West, in Pennsylvania, and in the Southwest. Taking as a standard households whose heads are whites native-born of native father, it appears that in the Middle West the Lithuanians are 48.8 per cent less than the standard in the rate of rent they pay, the South Italians 45.6 per cent less, and the North Italians 32.4 per cent less. In Pennsylvania the South Italians are 59.4 per cent less, the Poles 51.6 per cent less, the Slovaks 49.5 per cent less, the North Italians 47.9 per cent less, the Magyars 44.3 per cent less, the Lithuanians 43.2 per cent less, the Germans 25 per cent less, and the English 5.2 per cent less, than the households native-born of native father. In the Southwest the South Italians are 31.5 per cent less, the North Italians 29.1 per cent less, the Poles 27.9 per cent less, and the Lithuanians 26.1 per cent less. Three races only can be compared in all three geographical divisions with the whites native-born of native father. They are the North

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