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CHAPTER VII.

SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS.

Tendency of immigrants to accept charity or become public charges-Honesty-Use of

intoxicants Religious indifference-Money on arrival-Literacy-Conjugal condition-Visits abroad-Age classification of members of households—[Text Tables 623 to 627 and General Tables 351 to 355).

TENDENCY OF IMMIGRANTS TO ACCEPT CHARITY OR BECOME PUBLIO

CHARGES.

The inclination of the average recent immigrant in the community is to shift every charge he can upon the community or upon private charities. Their leaders also advocate and follow this policy. A number of recent aliens were discovered to be getting private relief who had ample means for their support. This tendency is not so general, however, as that exhibited in cases of sickness or death. All possible means are adopted to secure the entrance to a public hospital

of the alien who is ill. In a similar way the effort is made to have a destitute countryman buried at the public expense, even though friends and leading men among them could well provide for the funeral expenses.

HONESTY.

One of the most striking qualities of all the races is their simplicity and honesty. They trust each other in pecuniary matters in a way that is amazing to an American, incurring debts without giving any eridence and intrusting their savings to the safe-keeping of business enterprises of their fellow-countrymen without demanding acknowledgment. This quality, as may be readily seen, affords a rich field for exploitation and questionable practices by the less scrupulous among the recent immigrants. They are not slow to take advantage of it, and the steamship agent, the labor agent, the immigrant banker, and business man reap immense profits from the credulity of their fellow-country men. In many cases they not only exact an exorbitant charge for the services rendered or the commodities supplied, but go further and rob him of all his savings. This was illustrated recently in one place by the failure of a number of so-called bankers to return money committed to their charge, and also by the bankruptcy of a mercantile house which had secured its capital-about $40,000-in small amounts from the savings of the laborers. These men, who were mostly Bulgarians, had entrusted the various sums to their countrymen without requiring any evidence of the transaction, and when the mercantile house failed they could scarcely avoid losing all their savings (the case is now pending) because they had no proof that they had invested anything in the enterprise.

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There seems to be a tendency among the more intelligent and educated immigrants to exploit their more ignorant countrymen. After they have acquired a knowledge of the English language and have become acquainted with the customs of the country, they are naturally called upon to act as advisers to and representatives of their countrymen, and instead of using their attainments and knowledge for the profit and welfare of the members of their own race, the almost universal tendency is for the more educated foreigners to take advantage of his countrymen's ignorance and faith.

USE OF INTOXICANTS.

The Bulgarians, Roumanians, and Servians use beer and other intoxicants in a temperate way. The Magyar, Austrian-Servian, and Croatian tend to frequent saloons and drink beer and other intoxicants intemperately. The Austrian-Servians when under the influence of liquor fight, and are the principal factors in causing trouble and disorder.

RELIGIOUS INDIFFERENCE.

The recent immigrants as a group take little interest in church work or attendance upon church worship. This disinclination, or rather indifference or lack of inclination toward religious matters, grows out of the fact, it is stated, that most of the recent races to come to this community were alienated from their churches during the struggles for liberty in their native countries. A further explanation is made to the effect that the alien churches are closely connected with and receive a large measure of support from the State in southern and eastern Europe, and that where transplanted to this country and separated from the State they are at a loss in handling the new situation and tend to become unreasonable in their exactions and thus alienate the people.

MONEY ON ARRIVAL.

As a rule the immigrant on his arrival in the community has in his possession irom $10 to $20 in money. The usual amount each man has is about $15.

LITERACY.

The table next presented shows, by sex and by general nativity and race of individual, the literacy of persons 10 years of age or over in the households studied.

a See p. 47, Bulgarians at Home.

Table 623.—Per cent of persons 10 years of age or over who read and per cent who read and

write, by sex and general nativity and race of individual.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) This table includes only races with 40 or more persons reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.)

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The preceding table shows a higher degree of literacy among the Magyar males than among the Bulgarian males, 91.1 per cent of the former as compared with 68.3 per cent of the latter being able to read. Too few females are reported by the Bulgarians for computation of percentages, but 92.6 per cent of the Magyar females are able to read. In all cases, with the exception of a slight falling off in the proportion of Bulgarian males, the same proportion of each race can both read and write as are able to read.

It will be observed in the schedules that literacy, or illiteracy, is often peculiar to groups as a whole. This is accounted for by the fact that each group is usually composed of men from the same village. If the village was favorable to the establishment of a secret school, the whole group is literate. If not, as in a garrisoned town, the whole group is illiterate.

The relation between period of residence and literacy is set forth in the following table, which shows, by years in the United States and race of individual, the percentage of foreign-born persons 10 years of age or over, in the households studied, who read and the percentage who read and write.

TABLE 624.Per cent of foreign-born persons 10 years of age or over who read and per cent who read and write, by years in the United States and race of individual.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) (By years in the United States is meant years since first arrival in the United States. This table includes

only races with 40 or more persons reporting. The total, however, is for all foreign-born.)

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The preceding table shows a rapid advancement in literacy among the Bulgarians according to period of residence in the United States, 67 per cent of the representatives of this race of a period of residence under 5 years, as compared with 94.1 per cent who have been in the United States from five to nine years, being able to read, while 94.1 per cent who have been here from five to nine years can read and write, as contrasted with 66.8 per cent of a period of residence under five years who are so reported. On the other hand, illiteracy prevails more extensively among the Magyar immigrants of a longer period of residence than among those who have been in the country only a few years, 87.5 per cent of the persons of this race who have been in the United States ten years or over, as compared with 89.7 per cent of a residence between five and nine years and 92 per cent of a residence under five years, being able to read and write. The higher proportion of literacy among those of a short residence is probably due to the presence of children in the households or to better schools during recent years in Hungary.

The following table shows, by age at time of coming to the United States and race of individual, the percentage of foreign-born persons 10 years of age or over, in the households studied, who read and percentage of those who read and write:

Table 625.—Per cent of foreign-born persons 10 years of age or over who read and per cent who read and write, by age at time of coming to the United States and race of individual.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) [This table includes only races with 40 or more persons reporting. The total, however, is for all foreign

born.)

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All of the Magyars, as can be seen from the table above, who were under 14 years of age when they came to this country are now able to read and write, as contrasted with 91.1 per cent who can read and write at the present time and who were 14 years of age or over when they arrived in the United States. The Bulgarians who were under 14 years of age when they came to this country are not shown in sufficient numbers for the computation of percentages; but of those who were 14 years of age or over when they immigrated 67.8 per cent can read and 67.6 per cent can read and write.

CONJUGAL CONDITION.

The following table shows, by sex, age groups, and by gencral nativity and race of individual, the percentage of persons in the households studied in each conjugal condition: TABLE 626.-Per cent of persons in each conjugal condition, by sex and age groups, and

by general nativity and race of individual.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) [This table includes only races with 80 or more persons reporting. The total, however, is for all races.]

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Upon referring to the totals in the foregoing table it is seen that 77.1 per cent of the Bulgarian males who are 20 years of age or over, together with 68.8 per cent of the Magyar males and all of the Magyar females, are married. Twenty-nine and nine-tenths per cent of the Magyar males who are 20 years of age or older, as contrasted with 22.3 per cent of the Bulgarians, are single. Of the Bulgarian males between 20 and 29 years of age, 33.9 per cent are unmarried, together with 59.2 per cent of the Magyar males; but among those between 30 and 44 years of age only 1.9 per cent of the Bulgarians and 1.4 per cent of the Magyars are single, while none of the Bulgarians who are 45 years of age or over are unmarried, and only 8.3 per cent of the Magyars.

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