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CHAPTER I.

GENERAL SURVEY.

Though the immigrants from Italy, since 1900, constitute a relatively large and increasing percentage of all immigrants to the United States and though it is estimated that more than 60 per cent of them came from rural districts in Italy, comparatively few have become farmers in the United States. According to the Twelfth Census, a total of 293,424 male Italians of the first and second generations over 10 years of age were engaged in gainful occupations. Of this number, only 18,227, or 6.2 per cent, were engaged in agricultural pursuits. Agricultural laborers constituted 11,088 of this number, or 3.8 per cent of the total, leaving 7,139, or 2.4 per cent, farmers, planters, dairymen, truckers, overseers, florists, and other agricultural operators.

Compilations made by this commission of hitherto unpublished census returns, showing the distribution of Italians of the first and the second generations separately, both in the United States and in seven selected States in 1900, are shown below: Table 1.-White male breadwinners, first and second generations of Italians, United

States and seven selected States, 1900. [From Occupations of the First and Second Generations of Immigrants in the United States. Reports

of the Immigration Commission, vol. 28.)

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a Prof A. Pecoroni, Annals of the American Academy. Vol. 33 (1909), p. 382 et seq. Less than 0.1 per cent.

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The table is significant in several respects. While the percentage of Italian agriculturists is very low, the percentage (9.5 per cent) is greater for the second generation than for the first generation (6 per cent). With regard to agricultural laborers the same condition prevails; 6.7 per cent of the second generation and 3.6 per cent of the first generation are reported in this occupation group. Of Italian breadwinners, 2.4 per cent of the first generation and 2.8 per cent of the second were farmers, planters, and overseers. The slightly greater percentages of the second generation are perhaps best explained by the fact that since Italian immigration is comparatively recent, few of the second generation (only 1,613) were found in the agricultural group of breadwinners because of their youth, and the proportion of those between the ages of 10 and 20 who were employed on their fathers' farms was comparatively large. The figures have no significance as showing movement either to or from the farms by the second generation.

The table shows further that while 69.8 per cent of all Italian breadwinners were living in the 7 selected States in 1900, only one-sixth (16.7 per cent) of all Italian males engaged in agricultural pursuits were reported in these States. To show the distribution of Italian-born males engaged in agriculture in the States visited by agents of the commission, the following table, compiled from the Twelfth Census, volume on Occupations, is presented. The published census figures of occupation groups do not distinguish between foreigners of the first and second generations.

Table 2.- White male breadwinners having one or both parents born in Italy, census

of 1900.

(From Occupations of the First and Second Generations of Immigrants in the United States. Reports of

the Immigration Commission, vol. 28.)

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All occupations.

Agricultural pur- Agricultural
suits.

borers.

Farmers, planters, overseers,

and others in class.

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TABLE 2.-White male breadwinners having one or both parents born in Italy, census

of 1900Continued.

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All occupations.

Agricultural pur- Agricultural
suits.

borers.

Farmers, planters,

overseers, other in class.

and

Per cent
Per cent
Per cent

Per cent
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« Less than 0.05 per cent. Of all Italian breadwinners engaged in agriculture in 1900, 5.3 per cent were enumerated in New York; 5.5 per cent in New Jersey; 32.1 per cent in California; 23.5 per cent in Louisiana; and 32.6 per cent, or nearly one-third, in the Southern States and Missouri. The percentages of farm laborers were greatest in Louisiana, where nearly onethird (32.9 per cent) were reported, California (29.2 per cent), New York (5.6 per cent), New Jersey (4.7 per cent), Connecticut (4.4 per cent), and Texas (2.9 per cent). East of California the greatest number of farmers were reported in Louisiana (636) Texas (484), New Jersey (472), New York (346), and Connecticut (202). The striking features of the statistics are the comparatively small numbers of farmers enumerated, and the comparatively large percentage of these (36.5 per cent) on farms in California.

The Thirteenth Census, doubtless, will show a great increase in the total number of Italians engaged in agricultural pursuits. A recent estimate by an Italian who is in a position to make a fairly accurate approximation is that in 1909 there were 1,200,000 Italians engaged in gainful occupations in the United States, of whom about 80,000 were agriculturists. This estimate is not unreasonable in the face of the very greatly increased immigration from Italy within recent years. On the other hand, the additions of newly arrived immigrants to the older Italian rural colonies visited by the Commission are comparatively small. The increased number of Italians in rural communities is largely due to new settlements and to native-born children of Italian farmers in the older communities.

The number of laborers in seasonal agricultural occupations, such as berry or apple picking, weeding vegetables or the like, is increasing. Of the seasonal laborers investigated by the Commission a large percentage, excepting those in the Massachusetts cranberry district, were Italians-nearly all originally from southern Italy.

Of the 292,880 Italian immigrant workers enumerated by the Twelfth Census one-third were reported as general laborers or "laborers, not specified” (a higher percentage of general laborers than for

a Annals of the American Academy, vol. 33 (1909), p. 382 et seq.

any other class of immigrants); 6.3 per cent of the first generation were employed on steam railroads, chiefly pick-and-shovel men; and 9.2 per cent were miners or quarrymen. As mentioned before, the number engaged in agriculture was about one-fifteenth of all Italian male workers. It is not likely that either the comparative distribution by occupations or the geographic distribution of Italian agriculturists has materially changed since 1900.

A rough analysis of Italian immigration to the United States for the year ending June, 1909, shows that 25,150 North Italians and 165,248 South Italian immigrants were admitted. About two-thirds of the South Italians were destined for New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; 13 per cent for New England; 10 per cent for Ohio, Illinois, and West Virginia; less than 2 per cent for the South; and the remainder distributed thinly over several other States. The reported occupations of the immigrants in Italy are significant. Of all South Italians reporting occupations abroad, 42 per cent were farmers or farm laborers and more than 45 per cent were “laborers, unspecified,” a group that includes many farm laborers. Of the North Italians who reported occupations a little less than one-fourth were farmers or farm laborers and 57 per cent were “laborers, unspecified.” The large percentage of South Italians from rural districts is noteworthy.

DISTRIBUTION OF THE ITALIAN SETTLEMENTS INVESTIGATED. The table following gives the number and location of the principal Italian rural settlements in the United States east of the Mississippi River and in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. A general survey of Italians in the South is presented in Chapter X of this report. Attention is here directed chiefly to the northern colonies. With a few important exceptions the settlements listed in New England, New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin include most of the Italian rural communities in the Northern States east of the Mississippi River. There are a few small groups of market gardeners near large cities in the East-New York, New Haven, Hartford, Newark, Trenton--and others in the outskirts of Western cities. There are some truckers on Long Island and one or two isolated groups in the western part of New York State, but it is confidently believed that the list of important settlements is practically complete. TABLE 3.-List of Italian rural communities in the United States investigated by the

Immigration Commission, 1909.
(This table includes both foreign-born Italians and native-born persons of Italian descent.)

State.

City or town.

Race.

Approxi- Approxi.

mate mate number number of house of holds.

persons

North lantic States:

Rhode Island..
Connecticut.
New York...

Olneyville
South Glastonbury
Canastota.
Lyons and Clyde.
Albion....
Port Byron.
Geneva.
Oneida.
Hammonton and vicinity
Vineland and vicinity...

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225 375

500 1,000

350

300 1,500 4 475 2.000 5,000

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New Jersey...

.do.
North and South

Italian.

369 956

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