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No adjustment of the figures shown in the above table is required to allow for the difference in date to which they refer, since changes in the hours of labor in the building and engineering trades and for compositors in England and Wales between the dates of the two inquiries amount in each case to less than one-half of 1 per cent.
It will be seen that the average hours of labor per week range in the various occupations in the building trades from 52 to 534 in England and Wales and from 46 to 487 in the United States. The weekly working time in England and Wales averages about six hours longer than in the United States in the case of the skilled men, and only 31 hours longer in the case of hod carriers and bricklayers' laborers. The arithmetical mean of the index numbers in the whole group of building trades is 89, indicating a working week in summer 11 per cent shorter than in England and Wales.
In the engineering trades (foundries and machine shops) the hours are distinctly longer in the United States than in the building trades, ranging from a minimum of 54 hours to a maximum of 60. As compared with England and Wales the average hours in the engineering trades are 3 or 31 hours per week longer, the English average being 53 and the average hours in these trades in the United States being 6 per cent above those in England and Wales.
6 Among compositors the American working week is, on an average, about 3 hours shorter than in England and Wales, or, expressed in percentages, about 7 per cent less.
For the three groups of trades combined, the hours in the United States are 4 per cent shorter than in the corresponding occupations in England and Wales.
Upon the question as to whether a general conclusion can be drawn from the above figures concerning the hours of labor in the two countries the report concludes that “there is little doubt that the percentage figure is somewhat low for the United States. Although in a general survey it is probable that the respective levels shown in the above tables might be somewhat unduly favorable to the United States, the comparison as between the three selected trade groups themselves is a fair one, and it therefore provides a basis of calculation of the hourly rate of wages similar to that which has been made in the preceding foreign inquiries. Thus for the trades under consideration, the weekly wages for the United States as compared with England and Wales being approximately as 230 to 100 (regard being had to the different dates of inquiry), and the hours of the usual working week being as 96 to 100, it follows that the average hourly earnings of the American workmen are, to those of English workmen in the same trades, approximately as 240 to 100. In the building trades the ratio is as 273 to 100 and in the printing trades it is 258 to 100, while in the engineering trades it falls to 198 to 100.”
HOUSING AND RENTS.
In order to ascertain the rents of dwellings usually occupied by wage-earning families in the cities visited, many reports were obtained showing the rents paid in February, 1909. These reports were mainly from real-estate agents and from tenants. A large number of dwellings were also visited, so that first-hand knowledge might be obtained not only as to rents paid but as to the character of the accommodation, including such points as the number and dimensions of rooms, the conveniences provided, and in some measure as to the standard of the families themselves. Much detailed information on these points is contained in the individual city reports. Altogether, information in regard to rents was obtained for over 90,000 wageearners' dwellings. It was found that four-room dwellings were predominant types throughout the whole field of inquiry, and, save in three cases, five-room tenements were also found a prevailing type. The results obtained for the cities investigated are shown in the following table. The table does not, however, include the facts as to colored tenants.
PREDOMINANT WEEKLY RENTS OF WORKING-CLASS DWELLINGS IN TOWNS OF
THE UNITED STATES, IN FEBRUARY, 1909.
A large amount of information in regard to rents actually paid was obtained in connection with budgets of family expenditure, which are considered in a later section, but this information does not enter into the above table. The report, however, calls attention to the fact that the average rent per room shown by the mean of the ranges given in the above table corresponds almost exactly to the average rent per room as shown by the budgets. The average rent per room thus given by the above table is 63.9 cents, as compared with 64.4 cents as shown by the budgets, which is referred to as a striking illustration of the general soundness of the above figures.
The predominant ranges of rentals for the individual cities are given separately in the report as well as the predominant ranges for all of the cities combined. In the following table index numbers are given showing the relative level of rents in each of the cities investi
gated as compared with New York, the mean of the predominant rents in that city being taken as the base or 100.
RELATIVE RENT LEVEL IN SPECIFIED TOWNS OF THE UNITED STATES AS COM
PARED WITH NEW YORK CITY.
In both the United States and England and Wales the dwelling of four rooms is the most common type; in fact, the only one found in all of the cities investigated, although the dwelling of five rooms is in both countries very common. On the other hand, the six-room dwelling is relatively far more common in the American reports, 71 per cent of the American cities showing dwellings of this size to be common as compared with only 41 per cent of the cities in England and Wales.
In the following table the predominant rents for dwellings of three, four, five, and six rooms in the United States are given in comparison with those for England and Wales (exclusive of London): PREDOMINANT WEEKLY RENTS OF WORKING-CLASS DWELLINGS IN ENGLAND AND
WALES (EXCLUSIVE OF LONDON) AND IN THE UNITED STATES COMPARED.
In both the United States and in England and Wales the rent paid is, as regards rates and taxes, an inclusive charge, and to this extent comparison on the basis of expenditure is free from complications.
It will be observed that the mean predominant rents in the cities of the United States are considerably higher than those of England and
Wales in the case of dwellings of larger size, the mean of the ratios for five and six room dwellings being 216.5 as compared with 202.5 for those of three and four rooms.
A further basis of comparison of rents as between the two countries is afforded by taking the mean of the various predominant ranges and comparing the average rent per room for the whole series. By this method the weekly rent per room in the United States is found to be 63.9 cents as compared with 30.4 cents in England and Wales, equivalent to a ratio of 210 to 100.
In regard to the comparison of cost of rents in the United States and England and Wales, the report concludes:
The rental figures obtained in the United States are, as stated, for February, 1909, and the question arises as to how far these may be comparable with the rentals for England and Wales collected for October, 1905. No exact answer can be given to this question, but there is a considerable amount of evidence to show that if the American figures had been collected for February, 1907—that is for a period two years earlier than that actually selected—they would have shown in many places a somewhat higher level, inasmuch as the industrial depression which followed the financial crisis of October, 1907, and continued throughout the following year, led to a decline on the levels reached during the preceding period of prosperity and active immigration. Taking into account the further fact that, even in the United States, rents do not move on a large and general scale rapidly, it seems highly improbable that any possible variations due to the different dates at which the particulars were collected in the two countries would affect appreciably the general comparisons presented. It is believed, therefore, that for practical purposes the ratio given above of 207:100 may be taken as representing with approximate accuracy the level of rents paid by the working classes in the United States and England and Wales respectively.
The explanation of the higher rentals in the American towns investigated must be looked for in various directions, but principally in the higher cost of building as expressed by labor and materials, in the more generous allowance of ground space per dwelling, except in congested areas, in the more modern character of a greater proportion of the fittings and conveniences of the dwelling, as illustrated by the more frequent provision of bathrooms, in a higher general level of material prosperity that is able effectively to demand such increasing variety and completeness of accommodation, and in the shorter life that is expected from the individual dwellings.
Information in regard to the prices most commonly paid by wageearning families for a variety of food commodities, for coal, and for kerosene was obtained from representative stores in different districts in each city. In all over 1,000 returns, containing more than 17,000 quotations of prices for February, 1909, were obtained.
The following table shows the predominant retail prices of certain principal articles of food and of coal and kerosene in February, 1909, for the 28 cities covered by the investigation, considered as a whole. It should be observed that in this table the predominant price is expressed by a single amount in one case only, that of cheese, the ranges quoted both here and in the table giving prices for the individual cities constantly indicating that not any single figure, but a series represents the prices most usually paid, a series to some extent reflecting differences in taste or in spending power of the purchasing classes. Broadly, an identical price may be assumed to represent an approximately similar commodity, but sometimes, either as regards cities as a whole, or even in quarters of a single city, when position, environment, the class of consumer, or other cause involves some special advantage or disadvantage on one side or the other, and thus a special strength or weakness in competition, the qualitative significance of the price equivalent may be weakened.
PREDOMINANT RETAIL PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES IN FEBRUARY, 1909.
1 In 10 of these 11 towns the predominant prices were 18 cents and 20 cents; 19 cents occurred very seldom. 2 English measure.
3 The prices relate to purchases by the ton. Smaller units are not sufficiently frequent to permit tho establishment of a predominant range.
The price of tea shows a wide range in the different cities, from 25 cents a pound as a lowest usual price up to 60 cents as a highest. The former price is in no case the sole predominant, and appears in fact only as the lowest figure in the ranges quoted for Lowell and Providence, whereas 60 cents is the actual predominant for Atlanta, Augusta, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Muncie. It may probably be assumed, in view of the low price at which it is possible to purchase