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NUMBER OF IMMIGRANTS ENGAGED IN EACH SPECIFIED BUSINESS IN LACKAWANNA CITY, NEW YORK, BY RACE OF PROPRIETOR, 1909
Number engaged in each specified business
Grocer and butcher
NUMBER OF IMMIGRANTS IN EACH SPECIFIED BUSINESS OF STEELTON, PA., BY RACE
These statements from representative communities serve to illustrate the prevailing conditions so far as progress among recent immigrants is concerned in engaging in business and enterprises. Their activities are limited practically to small establishments for supplying groceries, clothing, meat, and other articles of general consumption to the recent immigrant population.
Coffee Houses and Saloons
Another interesting institution often met with in immigrant communities is the immigrant coffee-house, which is modeled after similar institutions in Europe. It is intended to meet the tastes and habits of the Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish races who do not patronize the American saloon or drink intoxicants after the manner of the Germans, Croatians, Slovaks, Poles, Magyars, and the members of other races. The coffee-houses are usually large, well-lighted rooms, furnished with small tables and plain chairs. Tobacco in all its forms, including even the Turkish pipe, is to be had, as well as tea, coffee, cider, soft drinks, and ice cream.
The immigrant saloon also has certain features different from those of the ordinary American institution. Often an immigrant bank, steamship agency, labor agency, or boarding or rooming house is operated in connection with it. The use of the saloon as a place for general congregation and social intercourse is also more pronounced among recent immigrants than among native Americans. The immigrant saloon is generally characterized by less drunkenness and disorder than American saloons of the same low type.
LIVING CONDITIONS AND CONGESTION
In Large Cities
CONGESTION OF POPULATION A SERIOUS EVIL
For a number of years it has been the opinion of many of the workers for social betterment in our large cities, that the congestion of the population in the poorer quarters, is among the greatest of evils, and that this overcrowding is to a great extent brought about by the incoming of new immigrants in large numbers. The facts, however, regarding general conditions have not heretofore been well known. Previous investigations have been mostly the work of individuals sent out by the "social settlements" or by charitable societies with the purpose of making local studies. Inquires have not been made on a scale sufficiently large to enable one to judge of average conditions. It has been natural that investigators should see primarily the worst cases, and that they should note especially the great number of people living in a block, and should judge of the conditions very largely from the number of people, rather than from the circumstances under which they live. Furthermore, no accurate comparison between the different cities was possible.
METHODS OF INVESTIGATION
Recognizing these facts, and also the importance of the question, the Immigration Commission decided to
make as careful an investigation as was practicable.* Seven large cities representing different sections of the country, different industrial interests and to a considerable extent the different immigrant races, were selected-New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Buffalo, Milwaukee. By careful inquiries the sections of the city were chosen where the living conditions were the worst, and blocks were taken, as far as possible, that were inhabited largely by the representatives of a single race, in order that if there were any racial tendencies these might easily be discovered.
In order that not exceptional but average conditions might be noted, it was decided to question carefully every family within the area chosen. In most cases one side of the street between two cross streets was selected. As many as one hundred families at least of each race or nationality were studied in order that the conditions shown might be typical or representative. In a number of instances two hundred families and more of a special race in one city were investigated. In a few cases, where it was not possible to find within one block or within two or three blocks situated nearly together so many families of one race, those families were found in different sections of the city, and thus the ratio number was made complete, even tho the families were somewhat scattered. Generally speaking, however, the figures secured by the Immigration Commission represent living conditions in certain sections of a city where every family was investigated.
Ten thousand two hundred and six households were visited by agents of the Immigration Commission and
+ Reports of Immigration Commission, Vols. 26 and 27.
the statistics of 51,006 individuals were taken. should not be forgotten that the investigation concerned only the overcrowded poor quarters of the cities. In those sections, however, the record is not that of the extreme cases, but of every case, and while very many most deplorable conditions were found, the fact is clearly established that a large majority of the immigrants in these great cities lead a hardworking, honest life, that their homes are reasonably clean, and that the undesirable conditions found in these congested quarters are in many instances not the fault of the inhabitants, but exist. largely in spite of them, owing to the fact that the city authorities do not provide sufficient facilities for an adequate water supply, for proper cleaning of the streets, and for satisfactory drainage and sewerage conditions.
LENGTH OF RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES A FACTOR
The investigation showed that the length of time that the people have been in the United States is a very important factor affecting congestion. After the immigrants have remained here for a considerable length of time, usually the wages are high enough so that they can acquire some property, and thus afford to move out from very congested localities into sections where living conditions are much better. Overcrowding is largely from economic necessity. It can hardly be said to be a matter of choice on the part of any race, or of more than a few individuals.
In the districts visited in the large cities included in the congestion study of the Immigration Commission, the races of recent immigration numerically best