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HOUSING AND LIVING CONDITIONS.
HOUSING AND SEGREGATION.
Among the Italians, Syrians, Lithuanians, Poles, and Ruthenians, in Community A, there is a pronounced tendency to congregate in colonies in certain localities. The English, Scotch, Welsh, Irish, Germans, Hebrews, and Slovaks exhibit no such tendency. The Italian colony is the most striking example of race segregation in the community, as practically all of the 400 Italians are to be found in the space occupied by two small blocks. In the other foreign colonies, no complete segregation exists. The Lithuanians and Poles in
many cases live side by side, and among them may be found a sprinkling of Slovaks, Ruthenians, and Syrians.
The reason for such segregation is obvious. The Italians gather together to enjoy the social advantages of a common language and common customs, producing in Shenandoah, as in Boston and New York, a "Little Italy," with a social life completely isolated from the other races.
Community of language and customs also accounts for the tendency to form colonies among the other races of recent immigration; but the languages of the Lithuanians, Poles, Slovaks, and Ruthenians do not so completely set any of them apart as the Italian language separates the Italians from the rest of the community. For this reason the Lithuanian, Polish, Ruthenian, and Slovak colonies are not so distinctly organized.
All immigrant houses in Community A are much alike, being inferior in most cases to those occupied by natives. The houses occupied by natives who are engaged in the same occupations as the immigrants, however, show only a slight difference.
Length of residence appears to produce very little effect upon the housing conditions among the immigrants, except when such length of residence results in a distinct betterment of economic position. Immigrants who have financially bettered themselves to any considerable extent tend in general to move into larger and better houses. Continued residence in the same house, or even in the same locality, does not seem to result in any greater attention to house sanitation, nor in any very noticeable change in house furnishing. Many immigrants who have lived in Community A for ten or fifteen or even twenty years are still to be found dwelling in small, illfurnished, and poorly cared for tenements similar to those inhabited by the recent arrivals.
Children of immigrants continue to dwell in the localities which their parents first entered-except in the cases of a general migration, like that which changed the population of the First Ward from Irish to Slav, or in cases where pronounced financial prosperity makes a transfer to a more exclusive residential section possible.
There are no municipal regulations relative to housing.
Immigrant boarding houses are less cleanly, less completely furnished, and more crowded than those occupied by natives in the same grade of employment.
The average price of board, including lodging and washing, in immigrant boarding houses is about $16.50 per month. In a large number
$ of houses occupied by immigrants, $2.50 per month is paid for lodging, cooking, and washing, while the raw provisions, which are cooked by the housewife, are furnished by the boarder. In other boarding houses all the food and drink, except meats, are furnished by the housewife. The prices of lodging, cooking, and washing, and food, exclusive of meat, in these places is about $5.50 per month. The meat is furnished by the boarder and cooked by the housewife. These two latter methods of conducting boarding houses do not seem to exist among the natives.
The boarding-boss system is most general among the Italians. Among the other recent immigrant races are found boarders who pay a set sum for board and lodging as in American boarding houses.
In the boarding houses conducted by Americans the cost of board, lodging, and washing averages about $20 per month.
GENERAL EFFECTS OF IMMIGRATION.
Effects of recent immigration on the community-Criminality-Health and
EFFECTS OF RECENT IMMIGRATION ON THE COMMUNITY.
The social and moral deterioration of the community through the infusion of a large element of foreign blood may be described under the heads of the two principal sources of its evil effects: (a) The conditions due directly to the peculiarities of the foreign body itself; and (b) those which arise from the reactions upon each other of two nonhomogeneous social elements--the native and the alien classeswhen brought into close association.
Among the effects under the first-named class may be enumerated the following:
(1) A lowering of the average intelligence, restraint, sensitivity, orderliness, and efficiency of the community through the greater deficiency of the immigrants in all of these respects.
(2) An increase of intemperance and the crime resulting from ine
( briety due to the drink habits of the immigrants.
(3) An increase of sexual immorality due to the excess of males over females. The Twelfth Federal Census showed 2,657 more males than females in the community, an excess largely made up of immigrant bachelors.
(4) A high infant mortality, due largely to the neglect and ignorance of hygiene and sanitary surroundings on the part of the immigrant mothers.
No exact statistics upon these points could be secured for the various races in the community; but while it is not possible to assign to each race its proportionate share in producing the effects, the evidence of their existence is apparent.
Before discussing the effects due to the heterogeneity of the social elements, it may be well to mention the more striking characteristics which separate the recent immigrants from the natives and earlier settlers. These may be roughly catalogued as follows:
(a) Differences of language, religious faith, and degree of literacy.
(6) A lower standard of comfort and a less fastidious manner of living. The women of all the foreign races in the town generally go barefooted about their homes. Their rooms and clothing reek with the odors of cooking and uncleanliness.
(c) A different standard of modesty. Pregnant women appear in public unconcernedly until full term. The fathers and brothers bathe before the women and children of the household.
(d) A different manner of observing Sunday. The immigrants attend church regularly in the morning, but the balance of the day they devote to amusements, sometimes of a noisy character, after the continental fashion.
(e) A greater possession of sheer physical strength and a greater willingness to accept employment requiring nothing but brawn.
(1) A more habitual indulgence in intoxicating beverages with apparently less permanent physical injury.
The chief effects of a social and moral character arising from the friction and interactions between the native element and the large foreign body possessing the above peculiarities may be summarized as follows:
(1) A general loosening of the forces of social cohesion. The inability, owing to the lingual and educational barriers, of understanding the other's viewpoint prevents the development of sympathy and engenders a disintegrating hostility. Differences in the modes of living hinder social intercourse.
(2) A civic demoralization of the ruling class. The venality of the immigrants overcomes the scruples of the politically ambitious and they succumb to the temptations of bribery. This reacts upon the efficiency of the local government.
The more scrupulous citizens shrink from participation in municipal affairs, which are controlled largely by the worst element in the community.
(3) An enfeeblement of the power of public opinion through the weakness of the public press. There is only one English daily in Community A, and that does not open its columns to criticisms of municipal affairs. The reason given is that it has so few readers it can not afford to offend any of them. The people in power always have a large enough circle of friends to be able to do an unfriendly newspaper considerable harm. The subscribers which, in other communities, would be gained by a reform activity are in Shenadoah not to be found on account of the smallness of the English-reading public.
(4) A general stimulation of the cupidity and avarice of the local business and professional men by the tempting prey of the ignorant foreigner.
(5) A growth in the number of saloons (one for every 26 families) to satisfy the immigrant appetite, and a consequent extension of the temptation to the native-born, and an increase in crime among all classes due to inebriety.
(6) A coarsening of the fiber of the native-born through contact with the immodesties of the immigrant.
While all of the above effects are very noticeable in the community, perhaps the most obvious result of the racial mixture is to be seen in the incapacity of the local government, and the wasteful administration of public funds. A sufficient illustration of the municipal mismanagement can be found in the history and present state of the municipal water plant, which is owned and managed by the borough.
During the autumn of 1908 occurred the worst drought ever experienced by the community. For several months the water was only turned on in the town mains for two hours a day, and then the liquid that came was so muddy as to be practically useless. The water supply dried up. The shortage was estimated at 100,000,000 gallons.