The Cost of Living Among Wage-Earners - Fall River, Massachusetts, October, 1919, Research Report - Number 22, November, 1919
27 Pages
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The Cost of Living Among Wage-Earners - Fall River, Massachusetts, October, 1919, Research Report - Number 22, November, 1919

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27 Pages
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Transcriber's Note:The original publication contained 35 blank, unnumbered pages between the last page of the Conclusion and the page entitledPublications of the National Industrial Conference Board.
BRANCH OFFICE 724 SOUTHERN BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
National Industrial Conference Board 15 BEACON STREET, BOSTON, MASS.
Title: The Cost of Living Among Wage-Earners  Fall River, Massachusetts, October, 1919, Research Report  Number 22, November, 1919 Author: National Industrial Conference Board Release Date: March 18, 2008 [EBook #24868] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK COST OF LIVING AMONG WAGE-EARNERS ***
Produced by Anca Sabine Dumitrescu, Brian Magee, Clog and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
T composed of representatives of national and state industrial associations, and closel allied en ineerin societies of a national
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Cost of Living Among Wage-Earners, by National Industrial Conference Board This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
FCKRIDEREP. FISH MAGNUSW. ALEXANDER
Chairman Managing Director
 
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MEMBERSHIP AMERICANCOTTONMURCTFANUASRE' ANOITAICOSS AMERICANHDWARAREMRESTCRUUNAFA' AONTISSIAOC AMERICANPAPER ANDPULPACIATIONSSO ELECTRICALMSRAERUUNTACF' CLUB INSTITUTE OFMAKERS OFEXPLOSIVES MCTURNUFAAINGCSTSIHEM' ANSICOSOITA OF THEU.S. NATIONALANSOSICTAOI OFCOTTONMFACTURERSANU NATIONALASOSICTAOIN OFFINHEISRS OFCOTTONFABRICS NATIONALASSTIONOCIA OFMAUNSRUREAFTC NATIONALANOITACISOS OFWOOLMRESUANAFTCRU NATIONALAMOBILEUTOCBMAHRE OFCOREMMCE NATIONALBOOT ANDSHOEMFUCANARSTURE' ACIATSSONOI NATIONALCOUNCIL FORIRIASLTDUNDEFENSE NATIONALELECTRICLIGHTASSOCIATION NATIONALERECTORS' AATCISOSNIO NATIONALFNUOSRED' AATIOSOCISN NATIONALIMPLEMENT ANDVEHICLEAOSSTAICNIO NATIONALMETALTRADESASSCOAITION RUBBERASSOCNOITAI OFAMERICA, INC. SILKASOSOINICTA OFAMERICA THERAILWAYCARMNUFAAERSCTUR' ACOAISSITNO UNITEDTOTYPTÆHE OFAMERICA ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP AAIETDSSOCINUDTSIRSE OFMSSSAHUACTTSE ASSAICODETMSRUREAUFNTAC ANDMENTSRCHA OFNEWYORKSTATE ILLINOISMSERURCTFANUA' AITNOSSCOAI MSAUNFACTURER' ASSOCITAINO OFCOCENNCUTIT, INC.
 
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A M O N G W A G E - E A
A L L R I V E R O C T O B E R
RESEARCHREPORTNUMBER22 NOVEMBER, 1919
Copyright 1919
NATIONALIIALUSTRDNCECERENONFBOARD 15 BEACONSTREET BOSTON, MASS.
CONTENTS
 FOREWORD PURPOSE OF THEISTVEATIGNION METHOD FALLRIVER ANDITSPEOPLE COST OFLIVING INOCTOBER, 1919 FOOD SHELTER CLOTHING FUEL, HEAT ANDLIGHT SUNDRIES THECOMPLETEBUDGET INESAERC IN THECOST OFLIVINGSINCE1914 FOOD SHELTER CLOTHING FUEL, HEAT ANDLIGHT SUNDRIES THECOMPLETEBUDGET
PAGE vii 1 1 2 3 3 6 6 8 9 11 13 13 13 14 14 15 15
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LIST OF TABLES
 TABLE1: Minimum Food Budget for a Week for a Man, Wife and Three Children under Fourteen Years of Age, Fall River, Massachusetts, October, 1919 TABLE More  2:Liberal Weekly Food Budget for a Man, Wife and Three Children under Fourteen Years of Age in Fall River, Massachusetts, October, 1919 TABLE 3: Cost of a Liberal Allowance of Clothing for a Year for a Man, Wife and Three Children under Fourteen Years of Age in Fall River, Massachusetts, at Prices Prevailing in October, 1919 TA B L E Average Cost of Sundries in Fall River, 4: Massachusetts, October, 1919 TABLEAverage Cost of Living for a Man, Wife and 5: Three Children under Fourteen Years of Age in Fall River, Massachusetts, October, 1919 TABLE6: Average Increase between October, 1914, and October, 1919, in the Cost of Living for a Man, Wife and Three Children under Fourteen Years of Age in Fall River, Massachusetts TABLEComparison of Distribution of Expenditures for7: the Separate Budget Items in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1914 and 1919, with the Average Distribution in the Country as a Whole in 1914
PAGE 4 5
 
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7 11 12 15
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COISULCNON
T to establish the cost of maintaining a imsFall River, Massach usetts, a wage-earner's family at a minimum but reasonable standard of living in this textile manufacturing center; also the cost of maintaining such a family at a somewhat better standard.
Foreword the cost o
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The Board has already made several broad surveys of changes in the cost of living in American wage-earning communities since the outbreak of the World War in July, 1914. These cover the entire country and are designed to bring out the extent of change during the periods studied, not the actual cost of living. The results of the present investigation in Fall River, made independently of these broader surveys, throw an interesting sidelight on the wider studies and also permit of a valuable check on them. It is intended to make similar intensive studies from time to time in other representative industrial communities.
 
T h e C o s t o f E a r n e r s Fall River, Massachusetts October, 1919
PURPOSE OF THEIVNSEITAGITNO The following report summarizes the results of a study undertaken to determine the cost of maintaining a minimum American standard of living in Fall River, Massachusetts, in October, 1919, and also the cost of maintaining a somewhat more liberal standard. At the same time, an attempt was made to ascertain the increase in the cost of living at identical standards during the five-year period beginning with October, 1914.  
METHOD For the purpose of this study, the cost of living was estimated with reference to the needs of a man, his wife and three children under fourteen years of age. No attempt was made to secure family budgets from representative wage-earners. Instead, the amount of food, clothing, fuel, heat, light and other items needed to meet the requirements of a decent standard of living was carefully estimated on the basis of several budget studies made by other authorities, and prices of these various items were obtained. Thus, while the final estimate of the money cost of maintaining a definite standard of living is not based on actual family expenditures, but rather is a hypothetical budget designed to maintain a hypothetical family at a specified standard, it should closely approximate the true conditions. In practice, expenditures for the different items in the budget may and undoubtedly will vary considerably to meet the needs or tastes of individual families, but although the sums allowed for the total cost of living may be distributed in a lar e variet of wa s, the avera es iven are as nearl
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The population of Fall River in 1915 was approximately 125,000, of whom 75,000 were native born and 50,000 foreign born. A large percentage of the native born are of foreign parentage. French Canadians and Portuguese are the leading foreign nationalities and are represented in approximately equal numbers. Together they comprise over half the foreign-born population. The English are next most important in numbers, approximately 10,000. Over 4,000 were born in Ireland, over 3,000 are Poles and some 2,000 are Russians, the majority of the latter undoubtedly Jews. The people originally settled in neighborhood groups of a single nationality rather than around the particular mills in which they were employed. There are, in fact, ten different villages, so called, into which Fall River outside of the center may be said to be divided. The nationalistic character of these villages, however, is now to some extent breaking up, owing to decreased immigration, the Americanizing effect of the war, and the efforts of the Immigrant Aid Committee and other local social agencies, so that French, Portuguese, Irish and other foreign nationalities are coming in closer contact one with another. Families in Fall River often are large; the French Canadian and Portuguese not infrequently have eight or more children, and sometimes 12 or 15. This means that in many families there is inevitably a period of poverty before the children become old enough to work; this is often partially relieved by the employment of the mother. When, however, the children begin to go into the mills, a considerable increase in income takes place very rapidly. The most important industry in Fall River is the manufacture of cotton cloth. There are in the city 111 cotton mills and an additional number of industries directly allied to cotton manufacturing. Retail selling is confined, with the exception of two or three large food stores and three or four department stores, largely to small neighborhood stores, the proprietors of which are of the same nationality as the people to whose trade they cater, or, in the case of specialty clothing stores, Jews.
FALLRIVER AND ITSPEOPLE
 
COST OFLIVING INOCTOBER, 1919
Food. To obtain the average cost of food, several budgets including articles sufficient for a week's supply for a family of man, wife and three children were used as a basis. From these were constructed food budgets designed to meet the requirements of a minimum standard and of one slightly above the minimum. Prices were collected from four of the large down-town stores, from branches of two different chain stores, one of them represented by 21 separate branches, and from various neighborhood grocery stores: one Polish, one Portuguese and two French. When there was more than one quality of an article the price used was the lowest consistent with what appeared to be good value. The quotations collected for each article were averaged and are given in Tables 1 and 2.  
TABLE 1: MINIMUM FOOD BUDGET FOR A WEEK FOR A MAN, WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN UNDER FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE, FALL RIVER, MASSACHUSETTS, OCTOBER, 1919 (National Industrial Conference Board) Cost, Cost, Item and amount October, Item and amount October, 1919 1919     Meat and Fish Fruit 2 lbs. flank $ .32 3 qts. apples $ .27 2 lbs. chuck .40 3 oranges .12 ½ lb. bacon .21 4 bananas .15 1 lb. dried cod .20 ½ lb. raisins .12 1 can salmon .27 1 lb. prunes .24 oducts Bread, Cereals, Dairy Pr etc. 1 doz. eggs .61 12 lbs. bread 1.28 1 lb. butter .66 2 lbs. flour .16 ½ lb l rd . oleomargarine or .18 1 lb. corn meal .07 a 1 lb. cheese .41 1 lb. rice .16 14 qts. milk 2.10 1 lb. macaroni .16 Vegetables .33 lbs. sugar 3 1½ pks. potatoes .77 3 lbs. rolled oats .21 3 lbs. carrots .12 1 pt. molasses .12 2 lbs. onions .13Tea, Coffee, etc. 3 lbs. cabbage .14 ¼ lb. tea .15 2 lbs. dried beans .23 ½ lb. coffee .23 1 can tomatoes .15 ½ lb. cocoa .22  Condiments .11      c  o sTtotal weekly$11.00 
  
 From the food budget itemized in Table 1, which must be regarded as a minimum, it appears that the least that can be allowed for food for a man, wife and three children under fourteen years of age in Fall River in October, 1919, is $11 a week.  
TABLE 2: MORE LIBERAL WEEKLY FOOD BUDGET FOR A MAN, WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN UNDER FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE IN FALL RIVER, MASSACHUSETTS, OCTOBER, 1919 (National Industrial Conference Board) Cost, Cost, Item and amount October, Item and amount October, 1919 1919     Meat and Fish Fruit 2 lbs. flank $ .32 3 qts. apples $ .27 1 lb. hamburg .25 ½ doz. oranges .24 3 lbs. leg mutton .75 ½ doz. bananas .23 ½ lb. bacon .21 ½ lb. raisins .12 1 lb. dried cod .20 1 lb. prunes .24 1 can salmon .27tc.als,BereCerda , e Dairy Products 12 lbs. bread 1.28 1 doz. eggs .61 2 lbs. flour .16 1 lb. butter .66 1 lb. corn meal .07 l½a rldb. oleomargarine or.18 1 lb. macaroni.16 1 lb. cheese .41 2 lbs. rolled oats .14 14 qts. milk 2.10 1 pkg. cornflakes .15 Vegetables .08 lb. tapioca ½ 2 pks. potatoes 1.02 3 lbs. sugar .33 2 lbs. carrots .08 1 pt. molasses .12 4 lbs. onions .26Tea, Coffee, etc. 2 lbs. cabbage .09 ¼ lb. tea .15 2 lbs. dried beans .23 ½ lb. coffee .23 ½ lb. cocoa .22 1 can tomatoes .15  Condiments .17           Ttotal weekly$12.15 cos
 The more liberal food budget, covering a week's supply for five persons, worked out in co-operation with the visiting housekeeper of the League for Community Welfare of Fall River and given in Table 2, was planned so as to include foods in particular demand among wage-earning families. From this it appears that to feed such a family according to a standard somewhat above the minimum, $12.15 a week would be required. These food bud ets have been arran ed with due consideration for food
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TABLE 3: COST OF A LIBERAL ALLOWANCE OF CLOTHING FOR A YEAR FOR A MAN, WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN UNDER FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE IN FALL RIVER, MASSACHUSETTS, AT PRICES PREVAILING IN OCTOBER, 1919 (National Industrial Conference Board) Cost, Cost, Man's budget October, Woman's budget October, 1919 1919     1 suit $28.00 1 coat or suit $26.00 1/3 overcoat 7.50 ½ dress 5.25