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The following table recapitulates the statistics given in the preceding table, and includes estimates to cover miscellaneous representatives of races not specifically enumerated:
TABLE 661.— Number of families and number of persons of each race, in the Birmingham district.
HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION TO THE BIRMINGHAM DISTRICT.
A general statement regarding the immigration of foreign-born residents into the Birmingham district is as follows:
Immigration of foreign-born persons into the district began over twenty years ago with the coming of the Scotch, French, English, Welsh, and Irish miners. The next races to come were the Slovak, Polish, and Italian. Within the past ten years immigration has been of a very mixed variety, including Italians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Russians, Roumanians, Croatians, and Swedes. The number of persons of the last-named races is very small, and they are employed in the steel plants as skilled workers, having come from other plants in the northern States along with skilled native white workers.
In greater detail, the history of immigration by races may be stated as follows:
Less than half of the North Italians have been in the district longer than five years, although a few have been there as long as fifteen and twenty years. The South Italians began coming to Ensley and Pratt City fifteen years ago, and quite an Italian population existed in Ensley in 1900 and in Pratt City in 1902. By far the largest number, however, have entered the district within the last ten years, and this statement applies mainly to the families of South Italians. The men without families, as a general rule, have been the most recent immigrants of their race, very few of them having been in the district over three and four years.
At the present time the most permanent settlement of Italians is at Thomas, now a part of the city of Birmingham, and there are fewer boarding groups at this place in proportion to the total Italian population than in any other locality in the district. At Ensley there is developing an Italian colony, and a tendency for its members to bring over their families from Italy appears to be growing. This is
also true, but to a less extent, at Pratt City. The larger proportion of Italians in the Pratt City section live in neighboring mine boarding houses and have less encouragement to become settled in homes. The small tendency toward permanent citizenship is evident in all of the mining camps.
The small number of this race does not warrant their being considered in proportion to the total, but the fact that they have come into the district within the last five years, most of them since 1908, shows a tendency for that race to gain a foothold. None of them, however, have brought their families, and they have not advanced in the direction of forming a permanent colony.
The majority of Polish immigrant families came prior to 1904, some of them entering the district ten and twelve years ago, while the men without families have come irregularly since 1905. The Polish population of the district has actually decreased since 1904. Prior to that time, during the period of demand for labor, numbers of them were brought to the district. When the coal miners' strike of 1904 took place, nearly all of them walked out and were thrown out of employment through their affiliation with the union. Many of them left the district and those who remained secured employment in the steel plants. They form a small colony at Ensley, but are scattered in the vicinity of the Wylam mines.
A very small proportion of immigrants of this race are employed in the coal, iron, and steel industries in the district, and of these, about 200 or less in number, are employed as unskilled labor in the steel plants. The rest, as stated elsewhere in this report, are engaged in small businesses or in street trades in the city of Birmingham and the adjacent towns. Those who are employed in the steel plants are very recent immigrants, nearly all of them having arrived within the last three or four years, and they are employed there only until the time when they feel able to enter into some small business or street trade as their fellow immigrants have done.
The history of the immigration of the Slovaks into the Birmingham district is very similar to that of the Poles. Slovaks began coming to the district as early as twenty years ago, probably soon after or about the same time as the Welsh, English, and Irish came. The large majority of them, however, now living in the district came over ten years ago and the immigration of this race at the present time has practically ceased. The most settled and compact community of immigrants of any race in the Birmingham district is that of the Slovaks at Brookside, a mining town, and another small community exists near Wylam. Notwithstanding the fact that in the Brookside community, at least, there has grown up a community life suited to the customs of their race, it does not seem to have attracted other immigrants, and it appears to be a peculiar exception to the rule of race community or colony growth.
FRENCH, GERMAN, ENGLISH, IRISH, AND WELSH.
All of these races are well scattered over the district, chiefly in the mining communities, and, with the exception of the French who came during the past ten years, were the first immigrants to come into the district. No colonies of any size exist, as the members live among the native whites and associate with the native whites on practically an equal footing. The English, Welsh, and Irish came when the first mines were opened.
A very few Croatians have come into the district, so far as can be ascertained at the present time. A few are employed in the steel plants, but they have been there less than five years. It is probable that others were brought into the district during the coal miners' strike of 1908 and left as soon as the strike was over. The same is true of the Bulgarians, although a few of this race have been here as long as eight years. The rest have come within the past two or three years, having been brought in as strike breakers in the mines, but are now employed in the steel plants. A scattering number of Russians, Roumanians, Magyars, and Syrians are to be found, chiefly as unskilled laborers in the plants, but it is not large enough to form colonies and very few have their families. All of these last-named races have come in during the past two or three years and constitute, with others already named, the most recent immigrants into the district.
Unless it be the Italians, it is evident that no one immigrant race predominates in the coal, iron, and steel industries of the Birmingham district. Italians, chiefly from southern Italy, more especially Sicily, constitute about 50 per cent of the total immigrant population who are actually employed in these industries. Greeks constitute a considerable proportion of the immigrant population, but comparatively an insignificent number of them are occupied as
miners or steel workers.
The history of the immigration thus presents that of no particular race, but of a miscellaneous drifting in of immigrants of many races. The more recent immigration of Croatians, Bulgarians, Roumanians, Macedonians, Magyars, and even of Slovaks which has supplied so much of the unskilled labor during the past decade in the coal and steel centers of Pennsylvania, for example, has practically not affected Birmingham at all. Many of the Italians who are employed in the Birmingham district, moreover, have come north from the Gulf ports after passing through a period of residence on sugar plantations and elsewhere in New Orleans and Louisiana. There has been, therefore, no decided drift of immigration of foreign-born races to this section, and no well-defined tendency on the part of any one race to come in for permanent settlement and formation of estabished community or colony life. The peculiar skill on the part of such immigrants as the English, Welsh, and Scotch, and the necessity for additional labor during periods of extreme labor scarcity or of strikes have been the only reason, so far as the employers are concerned, for the employment of immigrant labor; the immigration of foreign-born labor has been forced and artificial importationnot immigration through channels of natural or established direction.
PERIOD OF RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES OF FOREIGN-BORN EMPLOYEES AND MEMBERS OF THEIR HOUSEHOLDS.
The following table, showing by race the percentage of foreignborn male employees in the United States each specified number of years, affords a valuable insight into the racial movements to the district as well as into the periods of residence in this country of the foreign-born iron and steel workers:
TABLE 662.-Per cent of foreign-born male employees in the United States each specified number of years, by race.
(STUDY OF EMPLOYEES.)
[By years in the United States is meant years since first arrival in the United States. No deduction is made for time spent abroad. This table includes only races with 40 or more males reporting. The total, however, is for all foreign-born.]
Upon information obtained for 1,093 foreign-born persons in this locality, it will be seen that 69.5 per cent have been in the United States under five years, 11.5 per cent from five to nine, and 11.2 per cent twenty years or over, while 3.4 and 4.4 per cent have been in the United States from ten to fourteen and fifteen to nineteen years, respectively. All of the Bulgarians, and 98.4 per cent of the Greeks, have been in the United States under five years. The proportion of the South Italians-77.9 per cent-with a residence of less than five years, is slightly in excess of that shown by the North Italians and largely in excess of that shown by the Swedes. The Swedes, in turn, with 42.1 per cent, show a considerably larger proportion than the Scotch and a much larger proportion than the English, who show but 14.6 per cent as having been in the United States under five years. The English, however, show a slightly larger proportion, with a residence of from five to nine years, than do the North Italians or South Italians, a considerably larger proportion than do the Scotch, but a slightly smaller proportion than the Swedes, who report 21.1 per cent. The proportion of Greeks, or 1.6 per cent, in this period of residence group is, as compared with the proportions of the other races, very low. No Bulgarians, English, or Greeks, and only small proportions of the other races, have been in the United States from ten to fourteen years; the Swedes, with 8.8 per cent, showing the largest, and the Scotch the smallest proportion, or 2.3 per cent. The Swedes, with 12.3 per cent, also show the largest proportion with a residence of from fifteen to nineteen years, a proportion larger than that shown by the English or Scotch, and considerably in excess of that shown by the North Italians or
South Italians. No Bulgarians or Greeks, only 1 per cent of the South Italians, 2.8 per cent of the North Italians, and 15.8 per cent of the Swedes, as compared with 51.2 per cent of the Scotch and 58.3 per cent of the English, have been in the United States twenty
years or over.
The following table shows, by race of individual, the percentage of foreign-born persons in the households studied who had been in the United States each specified number of years:
TABLE 663.—Per cent of foreign-born persons in the United States each specified number of years, by race of individual.
(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)
[By years in the United States is meant years since first arrival in the United States. No deduction is made for time spent abroad. This table includes only races with 20 or more persons reporting. The total, however, is for all foreign-born.]
Of 1,870 persons reporting, 63.9 per cent have been in the United States under five years, 81.8 per cent have a residence of under ten years, and 92.1 per cent have been in this country under twenty years. The Greeks, Macedonians, and Bulgarians show over 97 per cent, the South Italians, North Italians, and Poles over 50 per cent, and the English and the Slovaks show less than 20 per cent who have been in the United States under five years. The Greeks and Macedonians show all persons as having been in the United States under ten years, and Bulgarians show only slightly smaller proportions, while English and Scotch show low proportions in this group. The Bulgarians, Greeks, and Macedonians show 100 per cent who have been in the United States under twenty years.