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SOURCES OF FAMILY INCOME
The most significant fact developed by the foregoing table, as may be readily seen from a comparison with the table showing annual earnings, is that the family income is much larger than the yearly earnings of male heads of families. As a matter of fact, present-day industrial families in the United States find it necessary to add to the earnings of the husbands through the employment of wives and children outside the home and the keeping of boarders and lodgers within the home. The native American and older immigrant employees maintain an independent form of family life, but the earnings of the heads are supplemented by the wages of the wives and children. On the other hand, the southern and eastern European families have recourse to the keeping of boarders and lodgers as a supplementary source of family income. This condition of affairs is shown by the table on p. 171, which sets forth, by general nativity of head of family, the proportion of 15,704 families who derive their income from the sources specified.
One of the most striking contrasts exhibited by this table is the greater dependence of foreign-born than of native-born families upon the earnings of wives and children. Of the latter 60.3 per cent., and of the former only 38 per cent., rely entirely upon the wages of the head of the family for their support. The totals as to the proportion of families having an income from contributions of husbands and children are about the same in the case of each nativity group, the large extent to which children in the families of the races of old immigration contribute to the family support doubtless offsetting the almost entire lack of
SOURCE OF FAMILY INCOME IN DETAIL, BY GENERAL NATIVITY AND RACE OF HEAD OF FAMILY [This table includes only races with 20 or more families reporting. The totals, however, are for all races. families are excluded which report income as "none."]
such source of income in case of the families of southern and eastern European immigrants.
The fact already mentioned as to the dependence of families the heads of which are immigrants upon the contributions of boarders or lodgers, is strikingly set forth in the table. Of the foreign-born families, about one-fourth, or 25.5 per cent., as contrasted with only 6.5 per cent. of the total native-born, have an income entirely from husbands and boarders or lodgers. As regards the families of the several races, the tendencies exhibited may be more quickly seen by the division of the families the heads of which were foreign-born into two groups, according to whether the heads were of old immigration or of recent arrival in the United States. In making this division only the principal races and sources of income are considered.
The comparison on p. 171 emphasizes the differences already noted in the discussion of the nativity groups. It is worthy of note, however, that the families or members of races of old immigration from Great Britain and northern Europe receive a greater proportion of the family income from the earnings of heads, the contributions of children, and miscellaneous sources, while the southern and eastern Europeans derive their income mainly from the earnings of husbands and the contributions of boarders or lodgers. That contributions of children are less general in families of recent immigration is probably due to the fact that children of these households have not in any considerable proportions reached working age. The fact that a larger proportion of old than of more recent immigrant families depend upon sources of income other than those specified arises from the fact that they have been in the United States for a longer
period of time, and have consequently entered into more diversified occupations. The significant feature of the situation is, however, that the families of all classes of industrial workers find it necessary, in order to secure a sufficient income for living expenses, to have their children go to work at an early age, or to abandon the natural independence of family life by taking boarders or lodgers into the home.
OLD AND NEW IMMIGRATION COMPARED With respect to source of family income of the foreign-born, by race
The material in the preceding paragraphs is designed to set forth merely the facts relative to wageearners and their families. After the condition of another group of industrial workers-the floating immigrant labor supply-has been shown, an interpretation of these facts will be presented.*
See chapter XI, The Immigrant as a Dynamic Factor in American Industry.