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GENERAL STANDARD AND COST OF LIVING.
Clothing worn-Furniture-Kinds of food consumed-Sleeping arrangements— General living conditions-General cost of living-Rents-Cost and manner of living of representative families and groups of men-[Text Table 622].
Many of the recent immigrants still have some articles of clothing which they brought with them from Europe. Most of their clothing, however, practically all, is made in this country and purchased by them here. The quality of clothing worn, together with the frequency of purchases, may be seen by referring to the transcriptions of the various store accounts, which show in detail the purchases of clothing and small articles by races during a certain period of time. It may be noted here that the price paid for working clothes is usually $1 to $1.50 per suit of blue overalls. Shoes are purchased at prices ranging from $1.75 to $3, the former being for work and the latter for dress. Summer underwear of the value of 50 cents per garment is generally used, and for cold weather flannels ranging in value from $1 to $1.50 per garment. Dress trousers cost from $1.75 to $2.25 per pair. From $10 to $12 is paid for a suit of dress clothes.
The women wear the cheaper grades of plain white and printed cloths.
The household furniture of all races is very meager and consists as a rule of only the most essential articles. For sleeping, iron double beds or single cots are used with mattresses. The cots with mattresses cost about $3; the beds from $5 to $6. There is usually a small sheetiron stove, valued at about $3, for cooking and heating. Very few of the families or groups have cooking ranges. The other articles of furniture consist of small kerosene lamps or lanterns for lighting (the rooming houses contain electric lights, and it is only in the cottages. that kerosene is used), plain chairs, usually without backs or in bad repair, a bench, and a plain table. There are no carpets. Many of the articles of furniture are of home manufacture. Especially is this true in the case of the chairs, tables, and shelves which are often found in the rooms of the lodging houses. The cooking utensils are limited in number and of the simplest kind.
The Magyars, Slovaks, and Armenians usually have more furnishings than the other races. In Magyar and Slovak families a regular cooking stove is generally found, and oftentimes wardrobes and sideboards. They also have more cooking utensils and dishes than the groups and families of other races.
KINDS OF FOOD CONSUMED.
Among the Bulgarians bread is the staple article of diet. Each man will consume a three-pound loaf of bread per day. They also use a small quantity of meat each day, usually about a pound per man. Beef for boiling is the most common form. It is usually cooked as a stew with vegetables and eaten with bread. They also consume all forms of green vegetables in season, but in very limited quantities. They have meat at least once each day. The usual drinks are coffee and beer. Many drink hot milk in the morning.
The Roumanian has the same diet as the Bulgarian and Macedonian, with the noteworthy difference that he consumes less meat than the other two races, eating meat only two or three times per week. As a general statement, it may be said also that he consumes less food than the Bulgarian and Macedonian. The most marked difference, however, is in the case of meat.
Unlike the Roumanian, the Magyar is a great consumer of meat. Eight or ten Magyar men, living in a group, eat from $1.50 to $2 worth of meat per day. A Bulgarian butcher states that such a group on an average eats 4 pounds of beef, 5 pounds of pork, 3 pounds of Polish sausage (with garlic), and 4 pounds of veal, and often, in addition, bacon and ham and other cured meats, each day. The Magyar also tends to use beer to excess. Like the other races, is a great consumer of bread.a
The sleeping quarters of all races, with the exception of those of the Armenians, are overcrowded and unhealthy. As a rule there are four, five, and six persons to a room, sometimes the floor space being hardly sufficient to contain the necessary beds and cots. The ventilation is bad; the rooms usually have only one window. The bedding in most cases is very much soiled and in disorder, except in the case of the Roumanians and the Magyars. The floors are uncarpeted and usually very dirty. Around the walls are hung articles of clothing of all descriptions. The sleeping rooms, in short, are very stuffy, unclean, and unhealthy among the representatives of all the races except the Armenians. The latter usually live in boarding houses, where two men occupy one room, but sleep in separate beds or cots. In cases of Armenian families the household arrangements are usually according to the American plan.
GENERAL LIVING CONDITIONS.
The general living conditions may be said to be unhealthy and of a very low standard. This situation grows in large measure out of the methods of living. Living in groups, in a crowded condition, doing their own housekeeping, and the larger number occupying rooms in large lodging or rooming houses, the practice is to use one room for sleeping, cooking, eating, washing, and general living. There are very few separate dining rooms or kitchens. In some of the rooming houses washing may be done on the outside, but clothes
a By reference to the store account exhibits more detailed information may be found. See pp. 84-91.
are generally washed and dried in the same room in which the immigrant cooks, eats, lives, and sleeps. Some groups of men and some families have separate rooms for cooking, eating, and washing, but this practice is the exception and not the general rule.
GENERAL COST OF LIVING.
Among the Bulgarians, Roumanians, Servians, and Albanians, living by the group system, either in cottages or rooming houses, the cost of food (groceries, meat, and bread), fuel, and light ranges from $7 to $10 per month for each person. The average runs about $8 per month. Only in rare cases does it go beyond $9. The food cost of the Magyar and Austrian-Servian is a little higher than that of the above-mentioned races for the reason that more meat is consumed. By reference to the detailed store account of eight Bulgarians, which follows, it will be seen that the expenditures of this group for meat ranged from 27 cents to $2.90 per week. The Magyars are much larger meat consumers. The same store that furnished the Bulgarian account also carried an account with a Magyar man and his wife who had eight boarders, which showed that the entire group of ten were spending from $1.50 to $2 per day for meat. The daily consumption of meat by this group was about as follows:
In addition to the daily outlay of $1.50 to $2 for meat, this same Magyar group was spending from $1.70 to $1.80 per day for groceries. To the above items must be added the rent, which costs each individual from 75 cents to $1.25 per month, the average cost per individual being about $1 per month. The washing is usually given out to Polish women and costs each person about $1 to $1.25 per month. Moreover, the average member of the different races spends from 5 to 25 cents per day for beer.
The total monthly cost of living among the Bulgarians, including expenditures for clothing, amusements, and all purposes, is estimated to be from $14 to $18. Among the Servians it is about the same. With the Roumanians it is several dollars less per month, and with the Magyar race a great deal more, the increased outlay being, in the main, purchases for meat, clothing, and intoxicants.
No data were collected as to families living separately, the number of these being very small. Practically all of the families have boarders or the wife acts as head of a boarding group. One Bulgarian and his wife, without children or boarders, who were living in two rooms in a rooming house, stated that their total cost of living per month for everything-rent, food, clothes, and incidentals-under normal conditions was $40 per month. Of this total $5 was for rent, $10 for clothes and incidentals, and $25 for all food. During the existing depression they have been paying $4 rent and about $20 per month for all food and incidentals, and have been buying no clothes."
a See Group No. 8 in detailed exhibit, p. 96.
In the table and the transcript of a store account which follow will be found the detailed expenditures for meat and groceries of eight Bulgarians, for thirteen weeks (July 22 to October 20, 1907). The store account is a transcript and translation of the account kept by a Bulgarian meat and grocery store in Hungary Hollow, from whom the men bought exclusively. The table shows in a summary way (1) the total amount purchased each week, and (2) the total amount spent per day and per week for certain commodities. It will be noted that the expenditures for meat and groceries each week ranged from $3.12 to $6.64, the general average for the thirteen full weeks being $5.11. The average Bulgarian eats one 3-pound loaf of bread per day, costing 12 cents. Consequently, the amount for the eight men would be $7.62 per week for bread, which added to the average of $5.11 would make a total weekly expenditure for food of $11.83. The average food expense of each member of the group, therefore, would be $1.48 per man per week, or $5.92 for a period of four weeks. This, of course, represents only groceries, meat, and bread. To it must be added expenditures for milk and beer taken with meals, and incidental purchases. It gives a rough idea, however, as to the cost of living, and goes to substantiate the statements received from the people themselves that it costs them from $7 to $10 per month for food.
TABLE 622.-Weekly and daily expenditures for meat and groceries of a group of 8 Bulgarians in Community E, by articles.