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but laborers who divide their time between agriculture and town employment; or, if they are less thrifty, they constitute the class of loafers in the small towns.

These economic factors have a direct influence on the character of the family life. The small town in regard to the Negro has very aptly been called by Mr. DuBois a clearing house. Those who are successful in the struggle move on to the cities, while the unsuccessful lose out and sink into the slums. Yet many lead a precarious life with the country to fall back on. In such cases the family life is insecure and the children live on the brink of poverty. A crisis in the family often means desertion on the part of the father. Another effect of the economic forces is the taking of the mothers out of the home. Between 40 and 50 per cent of the married Negro women are gainfully employed. The foregoing percentage does not include the widowed, comprising 18.7 per cent of the Negro women, who have more reason to be employed. The nature of the employment means that the children receive very little attention from the mother. The fact that many of the men live on such a low economic level prevents many from assuming the responsibility of a family through marriage. This must account for much illegitimacy.

Special mention should be made of the housing of the Negro in the small town; for this is not only dependent upon the economic position of the family, but is dependent upon social forces as well. The housing of a people naturally influences the family life. While segregation is not absolute in most towns, and one may find white and colored people living in surprising proximity in some towns because of the past history of these towns, generally the Negroes are housed in one- to four-room shanties on the edge of the town. The houses are often without ceilings, unpainted, and poorly furnished. Pride of home is scarcely evidenced by the presence of flowers and gardens. The grassless and treeless places where these homes are found are baked by the summer suns and furrowed by the rains. Three and four are often found to a room, with the sexes mingled indiscriminately. At night the paneless windows are shuttered against the "night air."

The migration of the young Negro to town produces a revolution in his whole social life. The presence of a large number of young women in domestic service, who are enjoying for the first time economic independence, as well as the young men who get their first jobs, together with the absence of parental control, brings a change in the whole viewpoint. Both get a glimpse of a new world. Already statistics have been cited to indicate the presence of a disproportionate number of such unmarried people between twenty and thirty. The church at the crossroads in the country that was once the center of social life must now compete with the moving picture house and the dance hall. New habits of consumption, in clothes especially, are adopted. The young men, with a new sense of freedom, are loathe to assume the responsibility of a family; while the young women without home ties give themselves to licentiousness "The Negro American Family," Atlanta University Publication No. 13, p. 58.


which the scrutiny of the country held in check. Consequently we have many sex irregularities and a large amount of illegitimacy. The church, under ignorant and bigoted leadership, evaluates all human behavior in terms of sin and righteousness, and cries out in vain against the sins of the younger generation.

Weekly the town becomes a mecca for the rural Negroes. Every Saturday they abandon all labor and come to town to enjoy themselves. Those who live in the town cater to the visitors. These frequent and periodic disruptions of the social life of the town contribute their share to the discouragement of permanent social relations.

The most distressing aspect of Negro family life in the small towns is the position of the children. When we find a large amount of illegitimacy and broken homes, as is apparent from the large proportion of widowed and divorced, we are sure to find many dependent children. Then, to this must be added a larger illiteracy rate in the towns than in the cities, being 25 per cent in the former, as compared with 18.4 per cent in the latter. Some of the lack of parental control incident to the large number of mothers employed could be compensated for by an adequate school system, but in the small towns of the South the colored schoolhouse, which is often no more than a shack on a barren lot near the edge of the town, is a mere excuse for public education. The school term is generally short, and the course is supposed to carry the pupils to the fifth or sixth grade. Attendance is seldom enforced. Poverty and the lack of skill force even young children into domestic service. Negro labor is so cheap that even the poorest whites can boast of a cook, who acts as nurse and general helper. Dependent orphans (the death-rate among Negroes being still inordinately high) and illegitimate children are given indiscriminately to relatives and friends. Then there are the offspring of unions between the two races, who, though not as numerous as formerly, contribute to the breakdown of Negro family life, since the weaker race must bear the stigma as well as the economic burden. Drunkenness and imprisonment contribute their share of dependent children, for with people living so near the poverty line the least disturbance in income precipitates a crisis.

This study of family life has attempted to show the effect of economic and social forces on the formation and vitality of the Negro family group. Only indirectly, except in the matter of education, has reference been made to the relation of the racial situation in the South to this question. But to neglect this factor would be to overlook one of the most important social factors. As the two races are related in the small towns it means the complete subordination of the black group to the white, without any compensating public opinion on the part of the latter to support a normal social relation as the one we have been discussing. Small town life at best is limited, but the complete circumscription under which the colored group lives discourages the growth of a class of educated and cultured Negroes. While we have examined the masses of the Negroes in the small town, in every such town of the South there is a small group of Negroes

who, because of their economic standing and culture and the racial situation, dwell in almost absolute isolation. This class is generally composed of a successful merchant, a doctor, a druggist, one or two school teachers, and a few successful artisans. Their family life is on the level with the family life of the middle class. But this group is scarcely ever augmented. A private school nearby may give some social life. They must send their children away in order to get even an elementary education. The children, as a rule, do not return; even successful Negro merchants cannot look forward to their children carrying on their businesses, for the younger generation will not stand the intolerance which the unbending racial attitude of the whites exhibits. So the very class from which we should expect a leavening for the masses we see disappearing as soon as it rises above the masses.



E. L. Kirkpatrick, Associate Economic Analyst, Bureau of
Agricultural Economics, United States Department
of Agriculture, Washington

It was to picture more clearly the amounts and the values of the different kinds of goods used by the farm family that the Division of Farm Population and Rural Life, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, started the study of the farmer's standard of living about four years ago. Results of the first study of four hundred farm families in Livingston County, New York, were sufficiently worth while to warrant a continuation of the work in other states. Aside from the Livingston County study, eleven other studies, made in cooperation with state colleges or universities, have been completed. Some of the combined results from these eleven studies are given in this paper.

These results were obtained from selected localities of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Ohio. One hundred to five hundred farm homes constituted a unit of study. The field work in each case was done by advanced students of sociology, economics, or home economics, or by county home demonstration agents selected by the college or university cooperating.

Practically all schedules were filled between July 1, 1923, and December 31, 1924, with estimates of amounts and values or costs of goods used for the year just preceding the date of the visit by the field worker in each instance. Since price levels changed very little between the two dates, the results are combined as representing the average value of goods used during one year by 2,886 farm families, including 1,950 owners, 867 tenants, and 69 hired men.

Composition of households and families.-The average sizes of households and families are 4.8 persons, and 4.4 persons for all the homes studied. "Household" means all the persons sheltered in one dwelling and fed, usually, at a com

mon table. The family includes parents and the sons and daughters who are at home or who, while away at school or elsewhere, are supported from the family purse. The household may include, in addition to the family, relatives, hired help, boarders, and others. Relatives and others are taken into account in the use of all goods when supported from a common income. When not supported from a common income, they are excluded under all except food and rent.

Value of family living furnished by the farm.-The average value of family living furnished by the farm amounts to $684 per family. Goods furnished by the farm include foods, $441 per family; use of the farm house (10 per cent of the rental value of the house), $200 per family; and fuel, $43 per family. Food constitutes the largest proportion of the value of all goods furnished, the percentages being 64.5 for food, 29.2 for rent, and 6.3 for fuel.

The average values and the distribution of the average value among the different groups of goods furnished by the farm varies widely among the separate states. These variations may be due in part to different climatic conditions, different types of farming, and different prices of foods and fuel, especially. Severe winters call for more fuel in Massachusetts than in Alabama. Supplies of wood available from the farm vary in the different states. Similarly, housing demands vary with the severity of the climate and with the prevailing housing standards of the farming communities. The type of farming influences the value of foods furnished, consequently the proportion that the value of these foods is of the total value of all goods furnished. Finally, higher prices enhance the value of food or fuel in certain states. Size of family has some bearing in this connection.

Average value of family living furnished and purchased.—The value of family living furnished by the farm constitutes from one-third to one-half of the total value of family living, the average being 42.8 per cent for all families here represented. Thus, approximately 57 per cent of the farm family living, $914 worth of goods, is provided by direct purchase.

Purchased goods and services used include foods, clothing, furnishings, such as furniture, musical instruments, bedding, etc.; operation goods, such as fuel and use of the automobile for family living purposes; health facilities; advancement goods and facilities, such as schooling and recreation; personal goods, such as barber's fees, candy and tobacco; insurance goods; and goods not readily classified.

The average value of all family living is made up of the values of goods furnished and purchased. This amounts to $1,598 per family (see Table I).

Distribution of the average value of all family living among the principal groups of goods.-The distribution of the average value of all goods used among the principal groups of goods is shown in Table I. Food amounting to $659 per family comprises 41.2 per cent of the total value of all goods used. The costs for clothing, amounting to $235 per family, are 14.7 per cent of the value of all goods used.

The average value of rent, $200 per family, comprises 12.5 per cent of the value of all goods used.

Size of house, extent of modern equipment or modern improvements, and conditions or state of repair were considered in arriving at the arbitrary values from which the rental figures were taken. For all homes an average of 6.8 rooms per family or household, excluding bathrooms, pantry, halls, and closets, was reported. The average number of bedrooms furnished for use for those families



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reporting amounted to 3.3 rooms per household, or approximately .7 of a sleeping room per person. Slightly more than one-twentieth, 5.7 per cent, of all the homes of the 2,886 families reporting were completely modern, that is, fitted with central heating and central lighting systems, running water, kitchen sink, bathroom (equipped with stationary tub and bowl), indoor toilet, and sewage disposal. About one-fifth, 20.8 per cent, of the homes were partially modern, that is, fitted with a part of the improvements named above. Almost threefourths, 73.5 per cent, of the homes lacked all modern improvements.

The average value of furniture and household furnishings purchased during the year amounts to $40 per family. This expenditure comprises 2.5 per cent of the average value of all goods used. The average value of operation goods, amounting to $213, comprises 13.3 per cent of the value of all goods used. Expenditures for the maintenance of health averaged $61 per family. This amount

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