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Information was obtained in this locality for 344 foreign-born male employees, of which number 144, or 41.9 per cent, were fully naturalized, while an additional 36, or 10.5 per cent, have, by securing first papers, declared their intention of becoming American citizens. Because of the small numbers involved, percentages have not been computed. The number of the South Italians fully naturalized is in striking contrast with the figures shown for the Germans or English. This would indicate that both the Germans and English who have come to this country have, in a large measure, determined to make this their permanent home. This, however, does not appear to be the intention of the South Italians if the numbers fully naturalized and having first papers only are to be accepted as evidence of this fact.
ABILITY TO SPEAK ENGLISH.
The ability of foreign-born employees of non-English-speaking races to speak English is considered according to race of employee in the table next presented.
TABLE 651.-Per cent of foreign-born male employees who speak English, by race.
(STUDY OF EMPLOYEES.)
[This table includes only non-English-speaking races with 40 or more males reporting. The total, however, is for all non-English-speaking races.]
The above table shows that of 1,487 foreign-born male employees for whom information was obtained in this locality 38.5 per cent speak English. All of the Swedes and all but 4.5 per cent of the Germans for whom information was obtained in this locality speak English. These proportions, it will be noted, are in striking contrast to the proportions shown by the more recent races, of whom the Slovaks, with 42.5 per cent, show a slightly larger proportion with ability to speak English than do the Lithuanians or Poles, a considerably larger proportion than do the North Italians or South Italians. The Greeks, Bulgarians, and Russians show comparatively low proportions, the lowest being shown by the Russians, who report but 8.4 per cent.
The greater adaptability and capacity for advancement of the younger as compared with the older immigrants is set forth in the table next presented, which shows, by age at time of coming to the United States and race of individual, the percentage of foreign-born male employees who speak English.
TABLE 652.-Per cent of foreign-born male employees who speak English, by age at time of coming to the United States and race.
(STUDY OF EMPLOYEES.)
[This table includes only non-English-speaking races with 100 or more males reporting. The total, however, is for all non-English-speaking races.]
Of 1,487 foreign-born male employees in this locality, for whom information was obtained, 38.5 per cent speak English, the proportion of Germans with this ability, as contrasted with the proportions of the other races, being very high.
Of those who were under 14 years of age at time of arrival in the United States, 90.1 per cent speak English, as compared with 35.9 per cent of those who were 14 years of age or over at time of coming. Among those races reporting proportions both under 14 and 14 years of age or over at time of coming to the United States, it will be noted that in each instance the proportion under 14 who now speak English is in excess of that shown for those 14 years of age or over. The greatest gain in ability to speak English among those under 14 years of age on arrival in this country over those 14 years of age or over is shown by the Slovaks, the difference in the proportions being 49.3. This gain, it will be noted, is very much higher than that shown by the South Italians, who in turn show a much larger gain than do the Germans, the difference in the proportions of those under 14 and 14 years of age or over among this race being but 5.6 per cent. Among the several races, however, the representatives of which were 14 years of age or over at time of coming to the United States, the Russians show the smallest proportion who now speak English, or 8.4 per cent, while the Germans, with 94.4 per cent, show the largest proportion.
The progress made in acquiring the use of the English lan uage is set forth in the following table, which shows, by years in the United States and race of employee, the percentage of foreign-bor male employees who were able to speak English:
TABLE 653.—Per cent of foreign-born male employees who speak English, by years in the United States and race.
(STUDY OF EMPLOYEES.)
[By years in the United States is meant years since first arrival in the United States. This table includes only non-English-speaking races with 100 or more males reporting. The total, however, is for all nonEnglish-speaking races.]
From information obtained for 1,487 foreign-born male employees in this locality, it will be seen that of those who have been in the United States under five years 20.9 per cent speak English, as compared with 59.8 per cent of those who have been in the United States from five to nine years and 88.7 per cent with a residence of ten years or over. Thus it will be seen that their ability to speak English is materially increased by length of residence in the United States. This is evidently true, with but one exception, of each race where proportions are reported in two or more periods of residence. exception above noted is found in the case of the South Italians who have been in the United States ten years or over, in which residence group a slightly smaller proportion speak English than in the group immediately preceding. As illustrating the above general statement, it will be seen that the Germans report 78.6 per cent of those who have been in the United States under five years who speak English, as compared with 93.8 and 98.1 per cent of those who have been in the United States from five to nine years and ten years or over, respectively. The greatest progress, however, on the part of the representatives of any one race is noted among the Russians, the proportion with ability to speak English increasing from 5.1 per cent of those who have been in the United States less than five years to 80 per cent of those with a residence of from five to nine years.
THE BIRMINGHAM DISTRICT.
The Birmingham district-Industrial history-Obstacles and inducements to immigration-Households studied-Members of households for whom detailed information was secured-Employees for whom information was secured-[Text Tables 654 to 658 and General Tables 375 to 377].
THE BIRMINGHAM DISTRICT.
What is known as the Birmingham district includes the counties of Jefferson, Walker, and Bibb in the State of Alabama. The district is included in the Cahaba district, according to the geologic classification, so named because it is in the basin drained by the Cahaba River. It is by far, taking into consideration the coal and iron-ore mining and the iron and steel production, the most important coal, iron, and steel center of the South. Alabama as a State ranks fifth in the production of coal, and 90 per cent of the total coal output of the State is from the territory included in the Birmingham district. The district includes the city of Birmingham, the smaller cities of Ensley and Bessemer, and numerous towns and villages. Ensley has recently been annexed to Birmingham, together with several other nearby towns and communities, so that the city proper takes in a large part of the closely settled section of the district. For the most part the surrounding towns and villages are communities which are growing up around coal and ore mines and the various iron and steel plants. With the exception of the original city of Birmingham, they are purely industrial settlements, and there is a growing tendency to develop into a large industrial community with the business and shopping center in old Birmingham and the industrial sections wherever the plants and mines may be located.
The chief industrial community is Ensley, where the largest steel plants are located, as well as several other smaller plants. Near Ensley are several groups of coal mines on what is known as the Pratt vein, and mining communities are situated at short intervals. Toward Birmingham proper is Pratt City, where coal mines and coke ovens are operated, and a few miles farther is Thomas, where blast furnaces are situated. North of these places are various coalmining communities. South of Birmingham and toward Bessemer is a range of mountains dotted with iron-ore mining settlements, the mines being operated by the iron and steel companies of the district. Coal mines are also found farther south, with settlements and small towns. At Bessemer are located several small industries and several furnaces and rolling mills. The chief mining communities are
Republic, Cardiff, Pratt City, Wylam, Brookside, Sayreton, and Lewisburg. There are numerous other communities composed entirely of employees living near the openings along the line of the coal or ore veins, making the whole district a fairly well-settled section.
The industrial history of the Birmingham district, as well as the city of Birmingham, dates from about 1870. The city itself was laid off in 1871, although the movement to develop the coal and other mineral resources of the section began as early as 1854. The building of two railroads for this development was not completed, however, until after the civil war, and it was not until then that a community of considerable size existed. Even in 1880, a population of only 3,086 was credited to Birmingham, although other settlements around the mines existed. By 1890 Birmingham proper, however, contained more than 26,000 people, and the 1900 census gave it a population of nearly 40,000, with over 12,000 population in the neighboring towns of Bessemer, Ensley, Pratt City, Cardiff, and Brookside, in addition to which there were a large number of mining villages.
Practically no coal was mined in Alabama prior to the civil war. The same may be said of ore mining and iron manufacture. In 1870, however, several mines were started, and by 1880 about 250,000 short tons were mined in the Birmingham district. This was rapidly increased to 3,000,000 tons in 1890 and nearly 10,000,000 tons in 1902. Iron-ore properties also began to be developed to an appreciable extent between 1870 and 1880. In 1880 nearly 150,000 long tons were mined in this district, 1,250,000 in 1890, and about 3,000,000 tons in 1902. Charcoal furnaces had been operated on a small scale even prior to the civil war, but it was not until 1876 that the first coke furnace was started. This was followed by other furnaces in 1880 and in 1882. Open-hearth furnaces were put into operation in 1888. In 1898 a large steel plant was completed at Ensley and put into operation, establishing the district as an important steel center in the South. Other furnaces were built about ten years later. Rolling mills and blast furnaces were also established at Bessemer, and within the last decade a number of plants manufacturing special iron and steel products, such as pipe, frogs, switches, and similar products, have been started in the district. Since 1900 the number of plants of all kinds has increased to a remarkable extent, and the total output of iron and steel products in the district will probably show in the last decade an increase of over 60 per cent.
As now constituted, the city proper is situated well in the center of the Birmingham district. Within its limits are practically all of the furnaces and the mills, with the exception of those at Bessemer, 10 miles away, and immediately north of the city is a ring of coal mines which extend on either side, east and west. South of the city are the greater number of the ore mines of the district, and in the center of the circle thus rudely suggested are extensive limestone quarries.
It will be seen from the brief summary above that the most rapid development has taken place since 1890, and especially since 1900. That this fact does possess an important significance in the study of