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HOUSING AND LIVING CONDITIONS.
General housing and living conditions Systems of domestic economy-Rent in its relation to standard of living-Boarders and lodgers-Size of apartments occupied— Size of households studied-Congestion-[Text Tables 610 to 621 and General Tables 339 to 350].
GENERAL HOUSING AND LIVING CONDITIONS.
The facilities for housing are of two kinds: (1) Large lodging or apartment houses and (2) small three and four room cottages. In the immigrant sections of the two towns of the community the entire alien population, with the exception of the Magyars, live in lodging houses. In Hungary Hollow about one-half live in lodging houses and one-half in cottages.
The typical lodging houses are owned and conducted by the large mercantile establishments. They are large square or rectangular three or four story brick buildings. Space is reserved on the first floor by the business establishment for a saloon, grocery, or other store, and usually part of the second floor is utilized for a dance or assembly hall. The remainder of the building is converted into rooms of different sizes and rented to the alien population. The number of rooms to each building varies from 20 to 50 or more. The interior construction is designed to secure the greatest economy of
On each floor a hall of good width, from 5 to 8 feet, runs the entire length of the building, and from this hall doors open into the various rooms. The hallways, which are common property, are usually in a filthy and squalid condition. No particular tendency toward filling them with refuse or using them for storage purposes is noticeable; but their appearance is such as to indicate that they are scarcely ever scrubbed or swept. They are also dark and unlighted, except by a window from the rear. The floors are covered usually with mud and dirt and the walls, though plastered, are usually badly discolored. The rooms in these buildings are usually well lighted. Some of them are rectangular, narrow, and about 12 to 14 feet long and have only one window. Usually they are square, however, or almost square, and have two windows of the average size. The usual size of the square rooms is about 14 by 15 or 15 by 12 feet. The larger rooms will admit two beds and two cots, placed close together, while the smaller rooms have space sufficient for three or, as a rule, four small cots. The walls are thin and plastered. In about one-half of the buildings the plumbing is insanitary and in none are there any baths or sanitary closets. Dry closets, as well as frame buildings for storing fuel, are found in the small yards at the rear. On each floor at the rear of a few of the buildings there are small rooms with running water which are used as laundries. Some of the buildings also have stairways at the back, on the outside, which may be utilized as fire
escapes. In general, the buildings are fairly well constructed. On the other hand, a number have been erected in a very rough and unsanitary way in the effort to secure cheapness and because alien immigrant labor of a more or less unskilled type was employed in their construction. The worst building of this kind was constructed almost entirely by immigrant labor. It is said to be highly insanitary. There are ten of these large rooming houses in the community, four of which are in Hungary Hollow. Smaller lodging houses in considerable number, which follow the general lines of the larger establishments are also to be found. The smaller places are usually frame buildings, square or rectangular in shape, with a saloon, coffee house, or store on the ground floor. The older immigrants and the American population, as a rule, live in small one-story frame cottages in the towns proper.
As mentioned above, about one-half of the immigrants in Hungary Hollow live in cottages. The cottage district is situated on the open prairie to the south of the business and lodging-house section. The cottages are built in rows, and, in general, it may be stated that there is an abundance of space between the buildings. Almost every cottage has a lot, about 50 by 150 feet, suitable for gardening; but only in a very few cases is this space utilized. The greater number of the cottage plots are unfenced. The buildings themselves are small, one story in height, and usually are in great need of repair. They contain three and four and, in a few instances, five rooms. The larger number have three rooms, with only one window in each of the two smaller rooms. The dimensions of the rooms are about 8 by 6 feet. Two windows are usually found in the remaining room, which is generally about 10 by 12 feet in size. Where there are four and five rooms, the additional rooms are small. The walls are thin and are plastered and whitewashed. Usually there are no doors separating the rooms or only one or two doors shutting off the smaller rooms.
There are very few Americans living in Hungary Hollow. No American families are there and there is only one boarding house occupied by natives. This establishment is situated on the main street, adjoining the foreign section, and is the first building passed in approaching Hungary Hollow. It is a square frame structure, very similar to an Armenian boarding house next door. A saloon is operated in connection with it, and it is occupied by Americans who are engaged in work similar to or more skilled than that of the immigrants. Exclusive of those in this boarding house, the Americans live in the towns proper.
In the immigrant quarter of the two towns of the community there are a few American families. Their houses are three and four room frame cottages, one story in height, situated in the spaces between the immigrant mercantile houses and business establishments, and were probably constructed before the immigrants arrived. These Americans live in the usual American way. They represent, however, a very small portion of the American population. The American section lies east of the foreign and is separated from it by about a half or three-quarters of a mile of open prairie. The American employees of the industrial establishments almost without exception live in small frame cottages one story in height, containing three or four rooms. One family, as a rule, occupies a cottage,
SYSTEMS OF DOMESTIC ECONOMY.
The methods of living practiced by the races of recent immigration are numerous, but all may be reduced to four general classes: (1) A system similar to the "boarding boss" system; (2) a system by which the members take turns in managing the household; (3) boarding; and (4) the family. Each of these general forms has a number of variations.
There are very few families of recent immigrants outside of the towns proper, and where living without boarders they are found in the large rooming houses of Hungary Hollow occupying one or more rooms. No families live in cottages except Armenians. A large number, perhaps almost all of the families of recent immigration, live in the lodging houses, and it is quite common to find families there with boarders. They usually have two rooms, one for the boarders and another for cooking, eating, and the sleeping quarters of the family. Food, light, beds, and heat are provided by the families at a certain fixed charge per month. In addition to this boarding system, which is modeled somewhat after the American idea, it may be noted that the Armenians (with the exception of the families) live almost entirely in large boarding houses, paying a fixed sum to the proprietor for light, food, room, and heat.
By far the larger number in both Hungary Hollow and the towns live on a group system. This system has two forms: (1) That based upon the boarding-boss idea and (2) that form under which the household management is shared among the members of the group. The first form is confined almost exclusively to the Bulgarians and Macedonians and is practiced extensively in the lodging houses. A group of men, usually five or six, rent two rooms, one for sleeping and the other for cooking. A Servian, Austrian, or Polish woman is employed at a fixed amount per month to do the buying and cooking of the food and the washing and household work. The accounts for meat, groceries, and bread are kept under one name at the different stores. At the end of the month each man pays his share of the aggregate expense, including the wages of the housekeeper, the rent, and the store bills.
The second form in which the group idea is followed differs from the first in that the members of the group take turns each day in doing the cooking and housework. The rent and the cost of food is shared proportionately. In most cases the washing is done by Polish or other women, although in many cases the men do their own washing. Under this sytem, the cost of living is reduced by the elimination of the wages of the housekeeper. This system operated extensively in the large rooming houses and almost exclusively in the cottages.
In a number of cases men are found who are grouped together so far as lodging is concerned but who buy their food separately. Some of them board with families, others at foreign restaurants, and others buy and cook their own food.
RENT IN ITS RELATION TO STANDARD OF LIVING.
The table next presented shows, by general nativity and race of head of household, the average rent payment per month of the households. studied, per apartment, per room, and per sleeping room.
TABLE 610.—Average rent per month, by general nativity and race of head of household. (STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)
The Bulgarians in the above table show a lower average rent per apartment and per person and a higher average rent per room than the Magyars. The lower rent per person is indicative of more congested conditions and a lower standard of living, and is of interest when it is recalled that the Bulgarian workers in the community usually live in large rooming houses and in apartments of one or two
The following table shows the percentage of households paying each specified rent per month per apartment, by general nativity and race of head of household.
TABLE 611.-Per cent of households paying each specified rent per month per apartment, by general nativity and race of head of household.
Of the 138 households studied in the preceding table, 42.8 per cent pay under $5; 69.6 per cent under $7.50; and 79.7 per cent under $10, per month per apartment. Only 8.7 per cent pay as high as $15, leaving 91.3 per cent paying under this amount.
A larger proportion of households whose heads are Bulgarians than of the households the heads of which are Magyars pay each specified amount up to $10, while the reverse is true as regards each specified amount above $10.
The table next presented exhibits the range in rent payments per room, by showing, according to general nativity and race of head of household, the percentage of households paying each specified rent per month per room.
TABLE 612.-Per cent of households paying each specified rent per month per room, by general nativity and race of head of household.
The foregoing table exhibits about the same proportion of both Bulgarians and Magyars paying under $2 and under $3 per month per room, but a considerably larger percentage of the households of the latter than of the former which pay less than $4 per month per room. The following table shows, by general nativity and race of head of household, the percentage of households paying each specified rent per month per person.
TABLE 613.-Per cent of households paying each specified rent per month per person, by general nativity and race of head of household.
All of the households whose heads were Magyars, as can be seen from the preceding table, pay under $3 per month per person, while ninetenths pay under $2 and one-fourth under $1. On the other hand, no decided advantage in favor of the Bulgarians is indicated. Only four households out of ninety-eight of this race studied, or 4.1 per cent of the total, pay $3 or over per month per person, while a slightly higher proportion of Bulgarian than of Magyar households have a monthly rent per person under $2, as well as less than $1.
BOARDERS AND LODGERS.
The tables next presented exhibit the tendency among the immigrant households to have boarders or lodgers. The first table submitted shows, by general nativity and race of head of household, the number and percentage of households keeping boarders or lodgers.