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RENT IN ITS RELATION TO STANDARD OF LIVING.

A large number of families investigated in the Southwest own their homes. Fifty American families, however, and 175 foreign-born families, or a total of 225, rent their apartments. The amount of rent paid is important from the standpoint of cost of living, but is chiefly significant as regards the discussion of standard of living. For this reason the subject of rent is presented in connection with the consideration of living conditions. The first tabulation in this connection, which is submitted below, shows the average rent paid by the families studied per apartment, per room, and per person, by general nativity and race of head of household.

Table 422.—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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As regards rent as an index to the standard of living, it is instructive to note in the table above that the average rent paid by the families classed as "whites, native-born of native father" is one-third again as high as the average rent paid by all races of recent immigration. It is also worthy of comment that the average rent per apartment paid by the negro of native birth is slightly below the average for foreign-born households.

As regards the households of recent immigrants, it is significant that all races, with the exception of the Mexican, pay about the same rate per apartment. The Mexican is below the general average, which is due to the fact that in most of the mining communities of Oklahoma, where the Mexican is employed in greatest numbers, the least desirable houses are usually occupied by this race." The rent paid by the Lithuanian households is greater than that paid by any other foreign race.

Upon examination of the average rent per month per room paid by each household, it is immediately apparent that the relative showing is practically the same as that made by the different races under a See discussion of housing, pp. 71, 72. 48296°-VOL 7-11-6

the caption "Average rent per apartment." The North Italian in his payment per room indicates a higher standard than any other households of recent immigration and is on a par with the native white. The Irish household, as already noted, pays a relatively higher rent per apartment, but in the payment per room sinks to the general level of the foreign-born, which is $1.80.

A significant fact developed by the above showing, and especially indicated by the general uniformity of rent per apartment and per room paid by the foreign-born, is that the rent per room and per apartment affords no basis in the territory under discussion for any satisfactory conclusions as to the standard of living. The fact is that most of the families live in company houses which rent on a basis of $1.80 to $2 per room per month. Consequently the differences in rents per room and apartment, while they indicate that the American white occupies a somewhat better and more commodious house as compared with the foreign-born, also points clearly to the fact that the foreignborn, with the exception of the Mexicans, are practically living in the same general style of company house, the rent per apartment depending upon the number of rooms. In discussing the relation between rent and standard of living, therefore, the only safe and sure index is the rent paid by each household per month per person, for the reason that there is a constant tendency among races of recent immigration to keep a large number of boarders and lodgers or to share a house with another family in order to decrease the rent payment per person or per household.

Upon examination of the average rent paid by each household per person per month, differences in relative standards of living at once become manifest. The average rent per person for native white households is almost one-third greater than for the total foreign-born, and the showing of the native negro and the total foreign-born is slightly in favor of the negro. The worst showing is made by the Mexican households, which have an average rent of .97 per cent per person. Of the races of southern and eastern Europe, the South Italian stands on the lowest level. The relatively high standard which, from the exhibit made per apartment and per room by the North Italian, is seen in the rent per person for households of this race to be of no consequence, for the reason that the average rent per person, is much below the average for native white and Irish households and somewhat below the Poles and native negroes. Upon the basis of the families furnishing information, the Lithuanians have the highest standard of living of all races of southern and eastern Europe.

If the examination as to the relation between rent and standard of living be carried further, the tendency of the various races in greater detail may be gathered from the table which follows, showing the per cent of households paying a specified rent per month per apartment, by general nativity and race of head of household.

TABLE 423.-Per cent of households paying each specified rent per month per apartment, by general nativity and race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)

[This table includes only races with 20 or more households reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.]

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In the above table of 225 households reporting, 33.3 per cent pay less than $5 monthly rent, 56.5 pay $5 but less than $7.50, and a small proportion pay $7.50 or over per month, less than 1 per cent paying $12.50 or over.

Of the foreign-born no household reports as high as $10 monthly rent, as contrasted with 13.8 per cent of the native-born whites of native father, a small proportion of the latter paying $12.50 or over monthly. Of the foreign-born 56 per cent pay $5 but less than $7.50, and a slightly higher proportion of the native-born whites of native father pay the same. Of the latter but 10.3 per cent pay less than $5 monthly, as compared with 36 per cent of the former.

A study of the races shows that none of the Mexicans pay as high as $7.50 monthly, although 25 per cent of them pay $5 but less than $7.50. The great majority of the North Italians pay $5 but less than $7.50, although 4.3 per cent pay between $7.50 and $10. A comparatively low proportion, 17 per cent, pay less than $5.

Contrasting these figures with those of the native-born, white and negro, it is noted that but 10.3 per cent of the native-born whites of native father pay less than $5 monthly and 31 per cent pay $7.50 or over. A small proportion, 3.4 per cent, pay $12.50 or over monthly. The majority of this race, however, pay $5 but less than $7.50.

The native-born negroes of native father show very low rentals, not one paying as high as $7.50 monthly and 42.9 per cent paying less than $5.

A general summary of the table, then, would show that the Mexicans and native-born negroes of native father pay a very low rate of rent, all of each race paying less than $7.50, the majority of the Mexicans and a very large proportion of the negroes paying less than $5. The North Italians, although not reporting a high rate of rent, nevertheless report a very low proportion paying less than $5. The table following shows the per cent of households paying each specified rent per month per room, by general nativity and race of head of household.

TABLE 424.-Per cent of households paying each specified rent per month per room, by general nativity and race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)

[This table includes only races with 20 or more households reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.]

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It becomes evident from a glance at the above table that 55.2 per cent of the American white households are paying between $2 and $3 per room per month, while 41.4 per cent are paying less than $2 per room per month. On the other hand, the greater number of American negro households have a rent payment which is less than $2 per room per month, while 42.9 per cent pay between $2 and $3. No negro households pay more than $3 per room per month, while a small percentage of native whites pay between $3 and $4 per room. Almost 50 per cent of all foreign households pay a rent per room per month which is less than $2, and 48.6 per cent pay between $2 and $3 per room per month. No Mexican household pays more than $3 per month, and 72.2 per cent of the households of this race pay less than $2 per room per month. A small proportion of the North Italian families, as compared with that of the native whites, are paying under $2 per room per month, but a larger proportion are paying between $2 and $3 per month. Extending the analysis, however, to the extent to which the different races pay a specified rent per month per person, the following table will be found of value:

TABLE 425.-Per cent of households paying each specified rent per month per person, by general nativity and race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)

[This table includes only races with 20 or more households reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.]

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The preceding table shows that 10.3 per cent of the American white households, as compared with 31.4 per cent of the foreign-born households, are found to be paying a rent per person per month which is less than $1. Fifty-one and eight-tenths per cent of the native white families have a rent per person per month between $1 and $2 as contrasted with 46.3 per cent of the foreign households paying that amount. Twenty and seven-tenths per cent of the native whites also pay a monthly rent per person between $2 and $3 as compared with 16 per cent of all foreign-born households. Ten and three-tenths per cent of native white households pay between $3 and $4 per person per month, while only 4.6 per cent of the foreignborn pay this amount. Twenty-three and four-tenths per cent of the North Italians and 55.5 per cent of the Mexicans are paying less than $1 per month, Fifty-one and one-tenth per cent of the former race and 27.8 per cent of the latter have a monthly rental per person between $1 and $2. In the case of the other foreign households the numbers are too small to be converted into percentages. From the comparisons which have been given above, however, it is quite obvious that the general standard of living as based upon the monthly rent per person is considerably lower among households whose heads are of foreign birth than among the native white of native father.

BOARDERS AND LODGERS.

As regards the tendency to keep boarders or lodgers, the following table shows, by general nativity and race, the number and per cent of households having boarders or lodgers:

TABLE 426.-Number and per cent of households keeping boarders or lodgers, by general nativity and race of head of household.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)

[Information relating to boarders or lodgers covers only immediate time of taking schedule and not the entire year. Boarders are persons who receive both board and lodging.]

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