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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Frances Perkins, Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Isador Lubin, Commissioner (on leave)
A. F. Hinrichs, Acting Commissioner

+

Income and Spending and Saving of
City Families in Wartime
Prepared by
COST OF LIVING DIVISION
FAITH M. WILLIAMS, Chief

Bulletin 7s[o. 724
(Reprinted from the M onthly Labor R eview, September 1942, with additional data|

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1942
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.



Price 10 cents

CONTENTS

Summary............................................................................ ........................................
Income of all consumer units_________________________________________
Income of families and single persons_________________________________
Spending and saving, all incomes_____________________________________
Spending and saving, by income level_________________________________
A p p e n d ix
M eth o ds a n d A d eq uacy of t h e S am ple

Summary__________________________________________________________
General considerations______________________________________________
Experiment to test, adequacy of a small sample__ ^______________________
Comparisons of estimates based on actual survey sample with results from
other agencies____________________________________________________
Consistency of sample data__________________________________________
Selection of survey sample___________________________________________

Page

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10

19
20
22
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28

Letter o f Transmittal

U n it e d S t a t e s D e pa r t m e n t of L a b o r ,
B u r e a u o f L a bo r S t a t ist ic s ,

Washington, D. C., September 15, 1
The S e c r et a r y o f L a b o r :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on income and
spending and saving of city families in wartime. This report was
prepared in the Cost of Living Division, Faith M. Williams, Chief, by
Alice C. Hanson, Jerome Cornfield, and Lenore A. Epstein.
A. F . H in r ic h s , Acting Com\
F.
Commissioner.
Hon. F r a n c e s P e r k in s ,
Secretary of Labor.




n

Bulletin 7v[o. 724 of the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R eview , September 1942, with additional data]

INCOME AND SPENDING AND SAYING OF
CITY FAMILIES IN WARTIME
Summary
The present war has not brought boom spending and “silk-shirt”
prosperity to the average city consumer1 in the United States.
Although the income of city consumers rose over 7 percent between
the year 1941 and the first quarter of 1942, their average expenditures
for current consumption increased less than 2 percent. At the same
time living costs went up 7.5 percent. Thus, in the first 3 months
after the attack on Pearl Harbor, American city consumers were
buying a smaller quantity of goods and services.
The conversion of American industry to war production was re­
flected in increases in money income of 5 percent or more between
the two periods, for nearly half the urban consumers in the United
States. For this group, income increased enough to offset the increase
of 7.5 percent in living costs.2 Over one-fifth had increases that
amounted to 25 percent or more. On the other hand, priority un­
employment, business losses, and other factors caused decreases in
income of 5 percent or more for another fifth of the consumers.
One-half of the city consumers had annual cash incomes below
$1,857 in 1941 as compared with $1,982 in 1942. Single persons,
comprising over one-sixth of all consumers, were much more heavily
concentrated at the low income levels than were families of two or
more. In 1942, 54 percent of the single persons and 15 percent of
the families had incomes at an annual rate of less than $1,000.
Relatively full employment and the higher wages meant great
improvement in incomes as compared with 1935-36. In that year
half the urban families of two or more persons had money incomes
below $1,295 as compared with $2,215 in 1942. The proportion of
families having cash incomes below $1,000 was more than twice as
large in the mid-thirties as in 1941 and the winter of 1942. The
average increase in income more than balanced the 15-percent rise
in living costs from 1935-36 to 1942.
The lower the income level in 1941, the larger was the proportion of
consumers whose incomes rose 25 percent or more between 1941 and
1942. This was to be expected, because part-time employment or
unemployment for some members of the family was a frequent cause*
1The term “consumer” is used to include both families of two or more persons and single consumers.

Nearly five-sixths of the consumers were families
a&id “single consumers” are used synonymously. of two or more. In this article the terms “single persons”'
* Based on a comparison of the Bureau s index of the cost of goods purchased by wage earners and lowersalaried workers in the United States averaged for the year 1941 and for the first quarter of 1942.




L

2

INCOME AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

of low income in 1941. Full-time employment in 1942 for such
persons would result in a large percentage increase in family income.
Comparatively few of the high-income families in 1941 had unem­
ployment, and at their income levels it is not common to have an
opportunity to move to a job that within the year pays 25 percent
more than the job previously held.
Supplementary income in the form of goods and services received
as pay, as gift, or as relief was relatively important at the low income
levels. The occupancy value of owned homes also represented addi­
tional income to a large number of families, especially at the high
income levels. Supplementary income in 1942 was important enough,
when added to money income, to shift over one-fifth of all families
and single consumers living in cities into a higher income class.
Savings of the average city consumer were 70 percent higher in
the first 3 months of 1942 than in the preceding year. In 1942,
11 percent of total money income went into savings as compared
with 7 percent in 1941. Consumers whose incomes did not change
saved half again as much in 1942 as they saved in an average quarter
of 1941. Those with substantially higher incomes saved very much
more than in the preceding year. Those who had suffered reductions
in income ran into debt in the later period, but they were relatively
few in number. The general increase in savings was so large that
it represented over two-thirds of the increase in total consumer
incomes. Increases in assets and decreases in liabilities made up
these increased savings, as well as income taxes paid in advance of
due date. War bond and stamp purchases formed a large part of
the savings.
For low-income consumers, the winter of 1942 brought a large in­
crease in debt. Increased living costs explain in part their greater
difficulty in making ends meet. Thus, fixed-income consumers in
the classes below $1,500 spent 7 percent more than in 1941. In
addition there was a large number to whom 1942 meant sharply
decreased incomes. Food, housing, and medical care accounted for
practically the entire rise in expenditures for these groups. In con­
trast, higher-income city consumers (those with incomes above $1,500)
spent less for consumption and saved more in 1942 than those with
incomes of that amount in 1941.
With new cars and tires rationed, expenditures of the average city
consumer for buying and running automobiles were much lower in
1942 than in 1941. Outlays for household furnishings and durable
equipment such as stoves and refrigerators were also lower. The
only expenditures of the average consumer that showed notable in­
creases in average amount between 1941 and 1942 were for food,
fuel, and medical care. Families usually spend more for medical
care and fuel in winter time. Food prices, however, had advanced
11 percent between 1941 and the first quarter of 1942, while expendi­
tures for food went up only 5 percent. This means that city con­
sumers were buying less food or the cheaper foods in the first 3 months
after the declaration of war.
These findings come from the Survey of Family Spending and Saving
in Wartime conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics among a
cross section3 of all city consumers—families and single persons. It
was paralleled by a survey of rural consumers by the Bureau of Home

3 For a combined report for the Nation’s families, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Bull. No. 723 and sub*
sequent reports.




3

SUMMARY

Economics of the United States Department of Agriculture. These
form the first Nation-wide study of incomes and expenditures since
the Study of Consumer Purchases covering 1935-36. The consumers
were interviewed in their homes by trained field agents, using a
detailed schedule that covered sources of income, amounts spent for
food, clothing, housing, transportation, and all other items entering
into current family living, as well as net change in family assets and
liabilities. From most consumer units, the information was obtained
for both the year 1941 and the first quarter of 1942.

Income of All Consumer Units
MONEY INCOME

Half the families and single persons living in cities had money
incomes at the annual rate of $1,982 in the first 3 months of 1942 as
compared with $1,857 or less in 1941 (table 1 and chart 1). In
both periods, 8 percent of all urban families and single persons had
cash incomes below $500. Annual incomes of $3,000 or more,
however, were reported by 23 percent of the families in 1942 as com­
pared with only 19 percent in the preceding year.

T able 1.— Percentage Distribution of City Families and Single Persons by Money

Income, 12 Months of 1941 and First 3 Months of 1942
12 months of 1941

Annual money income class ‘

Under $500.....................................................
$600 and under $1,000...................................
$1,000 and under $1,500.................................
$1,500 and under $2,000................................
$2,000 and under $2,500 .......... ...................
$2,500 and under $3,000............ ...................
$3,000 and under $5,000............................... .
$5,000 and over........ ......................................
Total....................................................
Median income.......................................... .

First 3 months of 1942
(annual rate)

Families Families
Families
Families
plus
plus
Single of 2 or
Single of 2 or
single persons3 more single persons3 more
persons
persons 3 persons
/persons3
8
15
15
16
15
12
14
5
100
$1.857

(*)

29
34
19
9
5
3
1

100.
$817

4
ll
14
18
17
14
16
6
100
$2. 083

8
14
14
15
15
11
17
6
100
$1,982

(4)

27
27
21
11
9
4
1

100
$918

4
ll
12
16
17
13
20
7
100
$2, 215

i For 1942, annual rate of money income was based on first 3 months.
3 A single consumer, as defined in this survey, is a person who does not pool his income and expenditures
with anyone else. He may be married or single.
8A family of 2 or more persons, as defined in this survey, consists of persons who pool their incomes and
expenditures. They need not be related nor do they necessarily share the same household although such in­
stances are infrequent.
4 Less than half of 1 percent.

More significant is the fact that decreases of income were more
common among the group with incomes of more than $3,000 in 1941
than among those with lower incomes. It is to be noted that at all
income levels below $3,000 about 1 out of 5 consumers suffered at
least a 5-percent loss of income from 1941 to 1942. Above this level,
however, nearly 1 out of 3 faced such a decline and 1 out of 10 a
decrease of more than 25 percent. This may not mean that there was
more job loss among the higher-income group, but probably does mean
that it is harder for persons displaced at the $3,000 income level to
find employment producing equivalent income than for those dis­
placed at the $1,500 level.



4

INCOME AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

T able 2.— Comparison of Money lnccmes of City Families and Single Persons, in

12 Months of 1941 and First 3 Months of 1942, by 1941 Money Income Class

Percent of families reporting annual rate 1of 1942 income
Annual money income class in 1941

All incomes___________________________
Under $1,000__________________________
$1,000 and under $2,000...................................
$2,000 and under $3,000.....................................
$3,000 and over . ____ _________ _____

Higher than in 1941
Lower than in 1941
Within 5
by—
by—
percent of
Total
1941
25 percent 5 to 25 income 5 to 25 25 percent
or more percent
percent or more
100
100
100
100
100

22
29
25
18
17

27
24
29
30
21

29
27
27
31
31

14
10
11
15
21

8
10
8
6
10

»For 1942, annual rate was based on first 3 months.

As a result of income shifts, some of the $1,000 consumers in 1941
became $1,500 consumers; some of those in the $1,500 income class in
1941 fell in the $1,000 class in 1942 (table 4). It is well, therefore, to
consider what the income status in 1941 was for families and single
persons now making $1,000 or $2,000 or $3,000, as the case may be
{table 3). It will be seen, for example, that nearly 1 in every 3 with
an income of less than $1,000 in 1942 had suffered a decline of 5 percent
or more in income. On the other hand only about 1 in every $ of those
with $3,000 or more in 1942 had had an income reduction of 5 percent
or more. Nearly 2 out of 3 of the consumers with $3,000 or more in
1942 had had an increase of income, while only 2 out of 5 of those with
incomes of less than $1,000 were better off in 1942 than in 1941.
Thus, it is not to be assumed from the discussion of table 2 that the
average consumer at low income levels is better off in 1942 than in
1941.4*
T able 3. — Comparison of Money Incomes of City Families and Single Persons, in 12

Months of 1941 and First 3 Months of 1942, by 1942 Money Income Class

Percent of families reporting annual rate of 1942 income
Annual money income class in 1942

All incomes___________________________
Under $1,000 _________ _______________
$1,000 and under $2,000...................................
$2,000 and under $3,000....................................
$3,000 and over________________________

Higher than in 1941
Lower than in 1941
by—
by—
Within 5
percent
Total
of 1941
25 per­ 5 to 25 income 5 to 25 25 per­
cent or percent
percent cent or
more
more
100
100
100
100
100

22
15
21
21
33

27
23
27
28
30

29
30
29
33
24

14
14
15
14
10

8
18
8
4
3

i For 1942, annual rate was based on first 3 months.
* The distinction between tables 2 and 3 is of extreme importance in considering a tax program. There is
presumably a larger taxpaying capacity in a family that customarily had an income of $1,200 but now has
an income of $1,500 than in a family that has characteristically had about $1,500 and still has. Table 2 shows
that about half the families had substantially more income in 1942 than in 1941 and that increases were
especially frequent among families that had had less than $2,000 income. Table 3 indicates that the group
with less than $1,000 consists of about equal numbers of families with more income than in 1941, with the
same income, and with less incon e. In other words, as a group its taxpaying capacity is about the same as
in 1941. On the other hand, the taxpaying capacity of the group with incomes of $2,000 to $3,000 in 1942 is
larger than in 1941 because it contains 5 families with larger incomes than in 1941 for every 2 whose incomes
are smaller.



5

INCOME, ALL CONSUMER UNITS

T able 4.— Comparison of Money-Income Distribution of City Families and Single

Persons in 12 Months of 1941 and First 3 Months of 1942

Annual money income class in 1941
Under $500..........................................................
$500 and under $1.000.........................................
$1,000 and under $1,500.......................................
$1,500 and under;$&000.......................................
$2,000 and' litider $$060..................................... .
$3,000 and over................................ ..................

Total
100
100
100
100
100
100

Annual money income class in 1942 (based on
first 3 months)
Under $500- $1,000- $1,500- $2,000- $3,000
and
$500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $3,000 over

0)
0)

78
9
2
1
0)

16
66
10
1
1

0)

5
18
52
11
2

0)
0)

5
27
10
7

1
2
8
35
63
13

0)
0) 1
2
27
85

1Less than half of 1 percent.
TOTAL INCOME (INCLUDING INCOME IN KIND)

In addition to cash incomes, many families and single persons re­
ceived supplementary income in the form of home-produced food
and food, rent, clothing, or household furnishings as pay, as gift, or
from a relief agency. In addition, home owners were credited with
income representing the occupancy value of their homes, that is,
the difference between the market rental value of the dwelling and
the actual expenses incurred for taxes, repairs, insurance, and interest
on mortgages.
Income in kind was particularly important at the low-income levels,
comprising about half again as much as money income, on the average,
for families and single persons with money incomes below $500, and
over one-sixth as much for those in the next higher income class
(table 5). Domestic servants, janitors, institutional and other
employees who customarily receive food or lodging as pay, and relief
recipients are concentrated in these income groups. At the upper
income levels noncash income, consisting principally of the occupancy
value of owned homes, averaged larger in amount but was relatively
unimportant in relation to cash income.1
T able 5.— Average Money and Other Income of City Families and Single Persons

by Money Income Class, 12 Months of 1941 ana First 3 Months of 1942
12 months of 1941
Annual money income class1

Aver­
age
money
income

All incomes *_____ _ _x_
Under $500.............................................................
$500 and under $1,000...........................................
$1,000and under $1,500
_ ... ___ _ _ __
$1,500 and under $2,000___________________
$2,000 and Under $2,500................... ....................
$2,500 and under $3,000........................................
$3,000 and under $5,000________ ______ _____
$5,000 and under $10,000......................................

$2,188
307
743
1,246
1,750
2,240
2,742
3,732
6,208

Average
Average
value of
value of
goods and Aver­ Aver­ goods and Aver­
services age
age services age
received total * money received total *
without income income without income
direct
direct
expense
expense
$159
144
134
123
137
158
175
202
247

$2,347 $587
75
451
877
182
312
1,369
1,887
436
2,398
556
2,917
685
3,934
932
6,455 1,615

1 For 1942, annual rate of money income was based on first 3 months.
1 Money income plus other income.
1 Includes families with incomes of $10,000 and over.



First 3 months of 1942

$40
40
32
33
33
35
38
47
77

$627
115
214
345
469
591
723
979
1,692

6

INCOME AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

When income in kind is added to the money income of each con­
sumer unit reporting some noncash income in 1942, 22 percent fall into
a higher income class than when money income alone is considered.
Some at each level move into a higher class (table 6 as compared with
table 1).
T able 6.— Percentage Distribution of City Families and Single Persons by Total r

Income, 12 Months of 1941 and First 3 Months of 1942
Annual total income class *

Under $500......................................................
$500 and under $1,000.....................................
$1,000 and under $1,500..................................
$1,500 and under $2,000..................................
$2,000 and under $2,500.................................
$2,500 and under $3.000................................
$3,000 and under $5,000.................................
$5,000 and over......... ......................... ............
Total......................................................
Median income.............................................

First 3
12 months months of
of 1941 1942 (an­
nual rate)
6
14
15
16
14
12
17
6
100
$1,960

5
14
' 13
15
15
11
20
7
100
$2,108

i Money plus income in kind.
* For 1942, annual rate of income was based on first 3 months.

Income of Families and Single Persons
MONEY INCOME

Single persons constituted over one-sixth of all consumer units
living in cities in 1941 and the winter of 1942. They were much
more heavily concentrated in the low-income classes than were
families of two or more. However, low-income single persons appear
to have benefited more than low-income families by the conversion of
industry to a war basis.
In both periods, 15 percent of the families of two or more had
money incomes below $1,000 per year (table 1), and approximately
the same proportion (29 and 27 percent) of single persons had in­
comes of less than $500 in each period. Incomes of $500 to $1,000,
however, were reported by 34 percent of the single persons in 1941
as compared with 27 percent in 1942.
Half the city families had money incomes at the rate of $2,215 per
year or more in 1942 as compared with $2,083 in 1941. The median
income of the single persons increased from $817 in 1941 to $918 in
i942.
Changes as compared with 1985-S6.—Striking as are the changes in
income between 1941 and the first quarter of 1942, the improvement
between 1935-36 and the more recent periods is much more impressive.
In the period immediately following the depression half of the urban
families of two or more are estimated to have had cash incomes below
$1,295, as compared with the median annual income of $2,083 in 1941
and $2,215 in 1942. These figures must be compared, however, with
a change in living costs of 7.1 percent from 1935-36 to 1941 and 15.2
percent from the former period to the first quarter of 1942.5 Under

5 Based on a comparison of the Bureau’s index of the cost of goods purchased by wage earners and* lowersalaried workers in the United States averaged for the 12 months, July 1935 through June 1936, for the 12
months of 1941, and for the first 3 months of 1942.




7

INCOME, FAMILIES AND SINGLE PERSONS
INCOME OF FAMILIES OF TWO OR MORE
C ITY FAMILIES

AND UNDER

$500

TO
$ 1,000

m m u srm su r LAB0R

$ 1,000
TO
$ 1,500

$ 1,500
TO
$ 2,000

$ 2,000
TO
$ 2,500

$ 2,500
TO
$ 3,000

$ 3,000
TO
$ 5,000

$ 5,000
AND OVER

,NC0ME ,N D0LLARS

conditions of relatively full employment at higher wages, 15 percent
of all families of two or more had cash incomes below $1,000 whereas
in the mid-thirties 36 percent had less than that amount. . At the other
extreme, the 22 percent and the 27 percent having incomes of $3,000
or more in 1941 and 1942, respectively, are in contrast to the 9 per­
cent with such incomes in 1935-36 (table 7).
T able 7.— Percentage Distribution of City Families of 2 or More Persons by Money

Income, 1 12 Months, 1935-36

Annual money income class in 1935-36
Under. $500.....................
$500 and under $1,000...
$1,000 and under $1,500.
$1,500 and under $2,000.
$2,000 and under $2,500.
$2,500 and under $3,000.
$3,000 and under $5,000.
$5,000 and over----------

Families
of 2 or
more
12

24
24
16
10
5
6
3

i Based on data in the National Resources Planning Board publication: Family Expenditures in the
United States (tables 20, 87, and 182). The total income distribution was adjusted to a money-income
basis by deducting imputed income of home owners.

493470-42-----2


8

INCOME AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES
TOTAL INCOME

Supplementary income in kind appears to be about as important for
families as for single persons. Over one-fifth of each group moved
into a higher income class in 1942 when classified by total income
rather than money income. Low-income single persons are likely to
work as domestic servants and institutional employees and frequently
receive food and rent as pay. Families of two or more are more likely
than single persons to receive relief. Also, they much more fre­
quently own their homes.

,

Spending and Saving All Incomes 6
Savings by city consumers were about 70 percent higher in the first
3 months of 1942 than in 1941 (table 8), and formed over 11 percent
of money income in the 3-month period as compared with 7 percent in
the preceding year. Consumers whose incomes did not change saved
half again as much as they saved in an average quarter of 1941.
Those whose incomes had increased substantially saved an exception­
ally large amount in 1942—57 percent of their increase in income.
Families and single persons whose incomes were substantially lower
in 1942 had large deficits in that period, but they were small in number
as compared with those with higher incomes. The general increase
in savings was so large that it represented two-thirds of the increase
in total city consumer incomes. War bond and stamp purchases
formed a large part of these new savings.
The savings figures are based on the consumers’ own statements
about net change in each class of their assets and liabilities during
the year and the quarter, respectively. Included as savings are
reductions in past debts of all kinds, as well as additions to present
holdings in the form of cash, real estate, stocks or bonds, or other
securities. Payments of life-insurance premiums are treated as a
part of savings, as are payments on principal of mortgage or improve­
ments on homes or other real estate owned by the family, and con­
tributions for old-age and unemployment insurance paid by the
individual. Savings also include advance payments on Federal in­
come tax (that is amounts actually paid in excess of the one-fourth
of the year’s tax on 1941 income which was due during the first quar­
ter). To the extent that families were cutting down on their con­
sumption during the first quarter in order to meet their advance tax
payments, the level of savings for the remainder of the year may be
expected to be somewhat lower. Deficits include increases in balances
owing on installment and other credit accounts, in amounts owed to
banks, loan companies, etc., amounts due in taxes, and net amounts
received from sale of holdings.
Personal-tax payments, averaging $22 for the entire year, took only
1 percent of the cash income of the average city consumer in 1941.
In the first 3 months of 1942 such taxes amounted to $16 ($64 per
year), or 2.7 percent of income. Federal and State income taxes,

6 Averages for all families do not represent the saving or consumption of “typical” Americans, or of any
identifiable group, since they are merely an arithmetic average of the spending of the rich and the poor as
well as those in the middle-income classes and of single consumers as well as families. Although the average
spending of each income class is weighted by the proportion of all consumers in that class, in arriving at the
general average, the large amounts spent and saved by high-income consumers give each of these few con­
sumers a much heavier influence upon the average amounts than each of the many consumers at the lower
end of the income scale. However, such general averages provide a useful cross-section picture for this par­
ticular period to which they refer.




9

SPENDING AND SAVING, ALL INCOMES

poll taxes, and personal-property taxes, due in January, February,
or March, make up these average figures. Taxes on real estate and
on automobiles and excise and sales taxes are not included in these
figures but are combined with the items to which they apply.
T able 8.— Average Money Income, Expenditures, and Savings of City Families and

Single Persons During 12 Months of 1941 and First 3 Months of 1942

Percent of
money income*

Average amount
item

Money income................ ...........................................
Expenditures for current consumption__________
Food........................... ........................................
Housing, fuel, light, and refrigeration......... .
Household operation...........................................
Furnishings and equipment................................
Clothing................................................................
Automobiles..........................................................
Other transportation............................................
Personal care......................................................._
Medical care.................................................... .
Recreation.............................................................
Tobacco. .................................................... ...........
Reading..............................................................
Education..............................................................
Other.....................................................................
Gifts and eontrihiitinns
Personal taxes.............................................................
Savings................................................ .........................

1941,12
months
$2,188
1,938
612
363
95
101
230
184
43
43
91
82
42
20
17
15
97
22
157

1942
First 3
months
$587
492
161
96
25
22
59
33
11
11
28
20
11
5
5
5
22
16
67

Annual
rate1

1941

$2,348 100.0
1,$68 88.6
644 28.0
384 16.6
100
4.3
88
4.6
236 10.5
132
8.4
44
2.0
44
2.0
112
4.1
80
3.8
44
1.9
20
.9
20
.8
20
88
4.4
64
1.0
7.2268

1942
100.0
83.7
27.5
16.4
4.2
3.7
10.1
5.7
1.8
1.0
4.7
3.4
1.8
.0
.8
.8
3.8
2.7
11.3

i Annual figures were based on first 3 months of 1942.
*The difference between income and expenditures plus savings is accounted for by minor discrepancies
in figures furnished by families and in a few instances by nonincome funds, such as inheritance received
by families.

Gifts to persons and contributions to relatives and to welfare,
religious, and war-relief organizations were over four times as impor­
tant as tax payments in the case of the average city consumer in 1941.
In the winter of 1942, however, such gifts and contributions amounted
to only slightly more than tax payments and, when estimated on an
annual rate, were somewhat smaller than in 1941. This undoubtedly
reflects the fact that personal gifts are largely concentrated at the
Christmas season and that community-chest drives in most cities are
held in the fall.
The only expenditures of the average consumer that showed notable
increases in average amount between 1941 and 1942 were for food, fuel,
and medical care. Families usually spend more for medical care and
fuel in winter time. Food prices, however, had advanced 11 percent
between 1941 and the first quarter of 1942, whereas expenditures for
food went up only 5 percent. This means that families and single
persons were buying less food or cheaper food in 1942 than in 1941.
With new cars and tires rationed, expenditures for buying and running
automobiles were much lower in 1942 than in 1941. Outlays for
household furnishings and durable equipment, such as stoves and
refrigerators, were also lower.



10

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

,

Spending and Saving by Income Level
When savings of consumers at different income levels (table 9) are
compared, deficits at the lower income levels give way to progressively
larger savings at the higher income levels. This was true both in
1941 and the first part of 1942, although in the later period both
extremes were accentuated; deficits at low levels were greater and
savings at high levels were greater.
The savings, figures at every income level are in themselves averages
made up of some families and single persons with net savings and
others with net deficits. Thus, even at the under-$500 income level,
some consumers managed substantial savings, whereas others with
incomes as high as $10,000 ended the year or the quarter in the red.
At the lower levels, however, the proportion of consumers incurring
deficits and the amounts of their deficits were so great as to more
than outweigh the smaller proportion with net savings.




11

SPENDING AND SAVING, BY INCOME LEVEL

T able 9. — Average Money Income and Outlay,1 City Families and Single Persons,

by Money Income Class
12 MONTHS OF 1941

Annual money income class
M oney income , 1941
Under $500.......................................................................
$500 and under $1.000......................................................
$1,000 and under $1,500...................................................
$1,600 and under $2,000...................................................
$2,000 and under $2,500...................................................
$2,500 and under $3,000...................................................
$3,000 and under $5,000...................................................
$5,000 and under $10,000.................................................

Average money
expenditures for—
Average
money
income Current Gifts and Personalconsump­ contribu­ tax pay­
tion
tions ments 2
$307
743
1,246
1, 750
2,240
2,742
3, 732
6,208

$420
750
1,215
1,671
2,103
2,516
3,246
4,704

$20
30
45
08
91
115
164
309

(9

$1
3
8
11
14
23
97

Average
net sav­
ing 3 (+>
or deficit
(-)
-$126
-35
+1
+32
+74
+137
+327
+1.091

Percent of money income8
Under $500........................................................................
$500 and under $1,000......................................................
$1,000 and under $1,500..................................................
$1,500 and under $2,000...................................................
$2,000 and under $2,500...................................................
$2,500 and under $3,000..................................................
$3,000 and under $5,000...................................................
$5,000 and under $10,000..................................................

136.5
100.9
97.5
95.5
93.9
9i; 8
87.0
75.8

6.6
4.1
3.6
3.9
4.0
4.2
4.4
5.0

0.1
.1
.2
.5
.5
.5
.6
1.6

-41.0
-4.7
+• 1
+1.8
+3.3
+5.0
+8.8
+17.6

$105
207
310
400
489
585
764
1,184

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

$2
6
10
16
21
26
34
58

$1
1
2
5
8
13
26
82

—$37
-30
-4
+24
+48
+71
+113
+298

FIRST 3 MONTHS OF 1942
M oney income , 1942 6
Under $500........................................................................
$500 and under $1,000......................................................
$1,000 and under $1,500...................................................
$1,500 and under $2,000...................................................
$2,000 and under $2,500...................................................
$2,500 and under $3,000...................................................
$3,000 and under $5,000...................................................
$5,000 and under $10,000.................................................

$75
182
312
436
556
685
032
1,615

Percent of money income *
Under $500........................................................................
$500 and under $1,000......................................................
$1,000 and under $1,500...................................................
$1,500 and under $2,000.............................................. .
$2,000 and under $2,500...................................................
$2,500 and under $3,000....................................................
$8,000 and under $5,000...................................................
$5,000 and under $10,000..................................................

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

143.6
114.1
99.1
91.8
87.9
85.482.1
73.3

2.5
3.4
3.2
3.6
3.8
3.8
3.6
3.6

1.2
.3
.8
1.1
1.4
1.8
2.8
5.1

-49.2
-16.6
-1.2
+5.6
+8.7
+10.4
+12.1
+18.4

*The difference between income and expenditures plus savings is accounted for by minor discrepancies
in figures furnished by families and in a few instances by nonincome funds, such as inheritances received.
2 Includes only personal income tax, poll taxes, and certain personal-property taxes.
3 Figures for 1942 include amounts in excess of the one-fourth of Federal income tax on 1941 income which
were actually paid during first quarter of 1942.
4 Less than 50 cents.
<Computed on basis of unrounded dollar-and-cent figures.
*Annual rate of money income based on first quarter of 1942.




SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES




to

SPENDING AND SAVING, BY INCOME LEVEL

13

For low-income consumers, on the average, the first quarter of 1942
brought a large increase in debt. While savings for the entire group of
city consumers were increasing by 70 percent, and the savings, in in­
come levels from $1,500 to $10,000 by 75 percent, consumers at the
lowest levels were incurring debts or withdrawing from past savings to
the extent of $21 during the quarter. This compares with a quarterly
average decrease in assets or increase in liabilities during 1941 of $10.
The inability of the low-income groups to make ends meet during the
first 3 months of 1942 is partly explained by increased living costs.
Thus, families and single persons with incomes below $1,500 in 1942
and almost the same income in 1941 spent 7 percent more in the later
than in the earlier period. This increase in expenditures almost
exactly matched the 7.5-percent increase in living costs that occurred
between the two periods. Those with fixed incomes, however,
met such increases in living costs by incurring debts or drawing on
past savings.
In addition to the substantial number with fixed incomes there was
a large number of consumers to whom 1942 meant sharply decreased
incomes. Thus, fully one-sixth of all those with incomes below $1,500
in 1942 had incomes in 1941 which were more than 33 percent higher.
These consumers, in many cases the victims of priority unemploy­
ment, were unable to lower their level of living to the full extent of their
decline in income. They incurred debts or made withdrawals from
past savings.
The increase in expenditures at these lowest levels was not scattered
among all items of expenditure, however. Food, housing, and medical
care each came in for higher expenditures during 1942. Thus, while
at the income level $500 to $1,000 total expenditures increased by $78
per year, expenditures for food, housing, and medical care increased bv
$76. About 44 percent of the money income of all city consumers with
incomes between $500 and $1,000 went for food, and another 28 per­
cent for housing, fuel, and light, in the early months of 1 9 4 2 , as com­
pared with 40 and 24 percent, respectively, for those with similar
incomes in 1941. With clothing and other essentials to be bought, the
debts of families in this group amounted to 17 percent of the total of
their current cash incomes.
In contrast with the consumers at the lower income levels, families
with incomes above $1,500 in 1942 spent less for current consumption
and saved more than families with incomes of that amount had done
in 1941. The combined effect of the wartime cessation of the produc­
tion of durable goods and the increased volume of war-bond purchases
was apparent in the sharply increased savings at each income level of
consumers whose incomes were the same in 1941 and 1942.
One-fourth of the families and single persons with 1942 incomes
above $1,500, however, were those who had received income increases
of 25 percent or more. Their level of living did not increase to nearly
the same extent as their income. Their income increases were in
large part devoted to paying off old debts and buying war bonds.
The decre|ses in expenditure at income levels above $1,500 were
concentrated in two groups—automobiles and furnishings. Since
expenditures for other items in the aggregate showed only a small
decline, it may be concluded that the sharp increases in savings at
these levels were made possible chiefly by the reduction in the expendi­
tures for these two groups.



14

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES
T able 10.— Average Money Expenditures of City Families and
12 MONTHS
Annual money income clast

Total Food

M oney income , 1941
Under $500................................................
$500 and under $1,000..............................
$1,000 and under $1,500...........................
$1,500 and under $2,000.........................._
$2,000 and under $2,500...........................
$2,500 and under $3,000...........................
$3,000 and under $5,000..........................
$5,000 and under $10,000.........................

$420 $167
295
750
433
1,215
1,671
558
674
2,103
784
2,516
3,246
973
4,704 1,311

Housing, House­ Furnish­
fuel,
ings Cloth­ Auto­
hold
light,
and
refriger­ opera­ equip­ ing mobile
tion
ation
ment
$103
177
271
344
405
456
534
682

$20
33
50
71
92
112
152
275

$8
22
50
89
123
153
193
228

$29
71
128
184
242
303
421
673

$16
33
81
148
210
265
353
496

9.5
9.5
10.2
10.5
10.8
11.0
11.3
10.9

5.1
4.4
6.5
8.4
9.4
9.7
9.4
8.0

Percent of money income1
Under $500............................................... 136.5
$500 and under $1,000............................. ICO. 9
$1,000 and under $1,500.......................... 97.5
$1,500 and under $2,000......................... 95.5
$2,000 and under $2,500........— ............. 93.9
$2,500 and under $3,000.......................... 91.8
$3,000 and under $5,000........................... 87.0
$5,000 and under $10,000-------- ---------- 75.8

54.3
39.7
34.8
31.9
30.1
28.6
26.1
21.1

33.3
23.9
21.7
19.7
18.1
16.6
14.3
11.0

6.5
4.5
4.0
4.1
4.1
4.1
4.1
4.4

2.7
3.0
4.0
5.1
5.5
5.6
5.2
3.7

FIRST 3 MONTHS
M oney income , 1942 *
Under $500............................................... $105
207
$500 and under $1,000.........................
$1,000 and under $1,500_------------------ 310
$1,500 and under $2,000........................... 400
$2,000 and under $2,500_____________ 489
$2,500 and under $3,000.......................... 585
$3,000 and under $5,000........................... 764
$5,000 and under $10,000......................... 1,184

$45
81
111
141
168
194
241
332

$27
51
73
90
103
115
132
169

$5
9
13
18
22
27
35
64

$2
5
11
14
19
26
41
82

$7
16
30
44
58
73
101
166

$3
8
14
21
29
40
63
119

9.5
8.6
9.6
10.0
10.3
10.6
10.9
10.3

4.4
4.3
4.3
4.7
5.3
5.9
6.8
7.4

Percent of money income1
Under $500............................................... 143.6
$500 and under $1,000............................. 114.1
$1,000 and under $1,500.......................... 99.1
$1,500 and under $2,000......................... 91.8
$2,000 and under $2,500........................... 87.9
$2,500 and under $3,000........................... 85.4
$3,000 and under $5,000......................... 82.1
$5,000 and under $10.000........................ 73.3

59.8
44.4
35.7
32.3
30.1
28.4
25.9
20.6

36.2
28.3
23.2
20.5
18.5
16.8
14.2
10.4

6.7
5.1
4.2
4.1
4.0
3.9
3.8
4.0

2.9
2.9
3.6
3.3
3.4
3.7
4.4
5.0

i Computed on the basis of unrounded dollar-and-cent figures.
* Annual rate of income based on first quarter of 1942.
3 Less than 50 cents.

Personal-tax payments at the lowest income levels represent mostly
poll taxes and occasional small amounts of personal-property taxes.
In .some instances, however, consumers whose incomes in the 1942
period were greatly reduced from the previous year were paying income
tax on the previous year’s income. At the higher incomes where
income-tax returns are the most important part of the total personaltax figure, the tax rose both in dollars and as a percentage of income.
The rise was much steeper in 1942 than in 1941, largely as a result of
higher tax rates and lowered exemptions.




SPENDING AND SAYING, BY INCOME BEVEL

15

Single Persons for Current Consumption, by Money Income Class

OF 1941

Other Per­ Medi­
trans­ sonal cal Recre­ Tobac­ Read­ Formal Other
ing educa­ items
ation co
por­
tion
tation care care
$8
16
26
34
42
50
70
132

$8
17
26
36
45
55
72
108

$26
32
58
77
96
115
153
236

$20
20
35
54
77'
103
158
293

Annual money income class

$4
8
13
17
21
25
33
49

$7
19
31
38
46
55
72
105

$3
4
4
7
12
18
36
85

$1
3
9
14
18
22
26
31

M oney income , 19i t
Under $500.
$500 and under $1,000.
$1,000 and under $1,500.
$1,500 and under $2,000.
$2,000 and under $2,500.
$2,500 and under $3,000.
$3,000 and under $5,000.
$5,000 and under $10,000.

Under $500.
$500 and under $1,000.
$1,000 and under $1,500.
$1,500 and under $2,000.
$2,000 and under $2,500.
$2,500 and under $3,000.
$3,000 and under Sl.lOO.
$5,000 and under $10,000.

Percent of money income1
2.5
2.2
2.1
1.9
1.8
1.8
1.9
2.1

2.7
2.2
2.1
2.0
2.0
2.0
1.9
1.7

8.3
4.3
4.7
4.4
4.3
4.2
4.1
3.8

6.6
2.6
2.8
3.1
3.4
3.8
4.2
4.7

2.3
2.6
2.5
2.2
2.1
2.0
1.9
1.7

1.4
1.1
1.0
1.0
1.0
.9
.9
.8

0.8
.5
.4
.4
.5
.7
1.0
1.4

0.5
.4
.7
.8
.8
.8
.7
.5

$2
4
,7
9
11
13
17
26

$7
13
18
23
28
34
43
61

$1
4
8
12
17
23
36
69

$2
4
7
9
11
13
17
24

$1
2
4
4
5
6
8
12

(3)
$1
2
2
4
5
9
20

$2
4
4
4
4
4
5
10

1.9
1.1
1.2
1.0
1.0
.9
.8
.8

0.3
.6
.5
.6
.6
.7
.9
1.2

311
2.0
1.4
1.0
.7
.6
.6
.6

OF 1942
$1
5
8
9
10
12
16
30

Money income , 1942 2
Under $500.
$500 and under $1,000.
$1,000 and under $1,500.
$1,500 and under $2,000.
$2,000 and under $2,500.
$2,500 and under $3,000.
$3,000 and under $5,000.
$5,000 and under $10,000.

Percent of money income 1
1.9
2.6
2.5
2.0
1.8
1.8
1.8
1.8

3.2
2.3
2.2
2.1
2.0
1.9
1.8
1.6

9.4
7.3
5.8
5.3
5.1
4.9
4.6
3.8

1.6
2.2
2.6
2.8
3.1
3.4
3.8
4.3

2.7
2.4
2.3
2.1
2.0
1.9
1.8
1.5

Under $500.
$500 and under $1,000.
$1,000 and under $1,500.
$1,500. and under $2,000.
$2,000 and under $2,500.
$2,500 and under $3,000.
$3,000 and under $5,000.
$5,000 and under $10,000.

These figures cannot be used, however, as a measure of the distribu­
tion of the total tax burden of the Nation among consumers at various
income levels. Such a measure would have to take account of such
other taxes as excise, sales, gasoline, and automobile taxes, as well as
taxes on homes and other miscellaneous taxes.7 This calculation
would show much higher tax pa3^ments at lower income levels than
are indicated in the present figures.
7The latest such study is TNEC Monograph No. 3: Who Pays the Taxes, by Gerhard Colm and Helen
Tarasov. Washington, 1940.

493470—42-----3



C*

CHART 4

SAVINGS BY INCOME LEVEL
CITY FAMILIES
OOLLARS

1941*1942

DOLLARS

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

UNITED ST A TE S DEPARTM ENT OF LABOR
BUREAU OF LA 80R STATISTICS




A P P E N D IX — M ETHODS A N D ADEQUACY
OF TH E SAM PLE

Summary
The preliminary reports from the Survey of Family Spending and
Saving in Wartime have been received with great public interest.
They have stimulated many questions as to the methods by which
the sample was drawn and its reliability. This appendix attempts to
answer these questions.
The method of drawing the sample differs in several important
respects from those followed in earlier surveys of family incomes and
expenditures. These changes were deliberately made, in accordance
with the latest developments in sampling theory, to insure greatest
possible efficiency and reliability in yielding national estimates. The
coverage of total population, that is, the inclusion in the sample of all
segments of the population (such as relief, foreign-born, broken fam­
ilies, single consumers, certain occupational groups or city-size classes)
is more complete than in any previous survey.
Altogether 1,300 families and single consumers (referred to here as
consumer units) in 62 cities were covered. They represent all regions
of the country and cities in every size class from those with a popula­
tion of 2,500 persons to the largest city in the country. In selecting
these cities, proper emphasis was given to each of the following
factors: Region, city-size class, proximity to a metropolis, racial
composition of population, median monthly rent and rental value.
The number of interviews obtained in each of the 62 cities was pro­
portioned to the total population in that city and in all other cities of
similar characteristics not actually covered. The interviews within
each selected city were assigned in such a way as to give every family
and single consumer in each selected city an equal chance to be
included in the sample. Furthermore, in cities with populations over
50,000, for which 1940 census data on average rent by block could be
obtained, the selection among blocks was carried out in such a way
as to include the correct proportion of blocks at each rent level.
The final result constitutes an estimate for the entire urban population
of the country.
The size of sample is smaller than in any previous survey on which
national estimates have been based. The smallness of the sample
yields positive advantages ip speed of completion, cost, quality of
personnel, avoidance of bias, and simplicity of tabulation. Reliability
for the purpose of national estimates of a sample of this size, when
selected subject to the careful controls described, is confirmed by
theoretical tests and also by comparison of the results yielded by the
actual sample drawn with census data and other data from inde­
pendent sources. The internal consistency of the sample data them­
selves is another indication of the adequacy of the sample size for the
pin-pose of national estimates. The general patterns of spending are
entirely consistent with the results obtained in 1935-36 from a much
more extensive but less inclusive sample. The points at which



17

18

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

divergencies are noted, as in expenditures for automobiles, other
durable goods, and clothing, and in savings, are the very points at
which known changes in general conditions account for current
behavior. The comparisons of spending of city, rural nonfarm,
and farm consumers at comparable income levels are remarkably
consistent.
The sample is too small, however, to yield reliable estimates for
localities. It is also too small to yield an analysis of the separate
effects upon spending of other factors in addition to income, such as
region, city size, occupational group, family composition, nativity,
etc. A considerably larger sample would be required for these
purposes. Since, however, by the very process of sampling followed,
all of these characteristics have been allowed to fall as they come in
the total population, the composite averages at an income level yield
an excellent estimate for the total population at that income level.
Further tests of reliability and comparisons with independent data
from other sources will be made when detailed tabulations have been
completed and when the data from city consumers collected by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics have been combined with those for farm
and rural nonfarm consumers collected by the Bureau of Home Eco­
nomics of the United States Department of Agriculture.

General Considerations
SIZE OF SAMPLE

The estimates for city consumers from the Survey of Family Spend­
ing and Saving in Wartime are based upon information provided by
nearly 1,300 families and single consumers surveyed by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics. A total of 1,700 rural consumer units were surveyed
by the Bureau of Home Economics of whom about 800 lived on farms.
Thus the total for nonfarm consumer units is about 2,200, and for
farm and nonfarm consumer units combined about 3,000. The
Consumer Purchases Study of 1935-36 (conducted by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Home Economics in cooperation
with the National Resources Committee and the Works Progress
Administration), which provided the bulk of the data used by the
National Resources Committee8 in its estimates of national income
and expenditure for that period, obtained income information from
about 300,000 families, and information on expenditures from about
60,000 families. The Study of Money Disbursements of Wage
Earners and Lower-Salaried Workers, 1934-36, which provided re­
vised weights for the Bureau of Labor Statistics cost-of-living index,
covered over 14,000 families. The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey
made during the period 1917-19 included over 12,000 families, while
the two pre-World War I surveys made by the Bureau each included
in excess of 5,000 families. The present survey is consequently the
smallest official survey undertaken in this country for estimating
income and expenditure even for one occupational group on a national
basis.
8 National Resources Planning Board (National Resources Committee), Consumer Incomes in the
United States, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1938; Consumer Expenditures in the United
States, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1939; Family Expenditures in the United States, Sta*
tistical Tables and Appendixes, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1941.



APPENDIX

19

PURPOSE

Despite its relatively small size, the present sample yields general
estimates of income and expenditure by the Nation's consumers of at
least the same accuracy as those which could have been derived from
any of the preceding surveys. It was designed with the sole purpose
of providing such estimates, whereas all previous surveys of family
income and expenditure have been designed with quite different pur­
poses in mind. The Consumer Purchases Study, for example, was.
originally conceived as an inquiry into the differing effects of income,
family type, occupation, region, and degree of urbanization upon
expenditure. The Study of Money Disbursements of Wage Earners
and Clerical Workers and the 1917-19 survey of wage earners were
both designed to obtain weights for cost-of-living indexes in specific
cities. The 1891 study of the Commissioner of Labor was undertaken
to provide data useful in revisions of prevailing tariffs.
LIMITATIONS OF EARLIER STUDIES

The original purpose of the Consumer Purchases Study led to a
sample design suitable for that purpose, but with several important
drawbacks from the viewpoint of national estimates. Thus, expendi­
ture data were not obtained in that study from any family which had
been on relief at any time during the year, which did not contain both
a husband and a wife, or in which either spouse was foreign-born.
In New York City, the most extreme case, but one which includes 10
percent of the urban population, these restrictions, plus several others
peculiar to the sampling in that city, meant that only one-seventh
of the population of that city was eligible for inclusion in the sample.
Similarly, the choice of communities surveyed in the Consumer
Purchases Study, while entirely adequate for the purposes of revealing
the effect of degree of urbanization upon income and expenditure, was
not the most satisfactory for preparing national estimates. Thus,
suburban areas surrounding large metropolises, containing almost 17
million persons in 1930, were virtually unrepresented. Only 7 cities,
with populations over 100,000 were included, although such cities
include about half the urban population. No urban areas in the West
South Central States, containing almost 4.5 million city residents in
1930, were covered. The rural nonfarm sample included villages but
no open country. The limitations of earlier Bureau of Labor Statistics
studies to certain occupational groups in cities selected because of their
industrial or commercial importance meant that their results could not
be projected to the entire population with any certainty.
COVERAGE OF TOTAL POPULATION

The sample for the present study, designed for the purpose of ob­
taining national estimates, avoids these difficulties. The communities
covered comprise a complete cross section of the Nation's cities and
towns. The sample obtains for the first time information on the
relative number of single consumers (i. e. persons not sharing their*
incomes and their living quarters with any other persons), their dis­
tribution by income level, and their expenditures at each income level.
In addition, it is the only survey which has ever obtained compre­



20

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

hensive information on the incomes and expenditures of all of the
following classes of the population in addition to so-called “normal”
nonrelief families: relief families, families with foreign-born heads,
and those lacking one spouse.
PERSONNEL

Before preceding to a detailed consideration of the present sample it
is helpful to recall one positive advantage of small as compared with
large samples,' which although well known, is frequently overlooked—
the caliber of the agents who obtain the information from families.
Particularly, in a study with as extensive a schedule form as that neces­
sary in surveys of income and expenditure, the quality of the inter­
viewers is an important consideration. In a survey of the scope of the
Consumer Purchases Study, it is necessary to hire as many as 50 agents
in towns with no more than 25,000 inhabitants. It is not always
possible to find 50 persons in a small town who are at the same time
diplomatic and capable of mastering the double entry bookkeeping in­
volved in determining a family's income, expenditure, and saving. In
the present survey only one worker was employed in most of the towns
covered. In even very small towns it was therefore possible to find
qualified personnel.
AVOIDANCE OF BIAS IN THE CURRENT SURVEY

In drawing a sample as small as the present one, it was possible to
use great care in the actual selection of the consumer units to be sur­
veyed. All controls were centralized in the Washington office, thus
avoiding biases resulting from differing interpretations of instructions
by local supervisors or enumerators The block listings, described in a
later section, were all sent to Washington for the actual drawing of
addresses or designations of consumer units. All substitute addresses
were drawn in Washington, none were left to the discretion of agents.
The percentage of refusals was very low. Less than 7 percent of the
families originally selected failed to supply the information requested.
This compares with a substitution rate of approximately 15 percent
in the urban series of the Consumer Purchases Study. A contributing
factor to this lower rate was the willingness of families to cooperate in
view of the war situation, as compared with public attitudes immedi­
ately following the depression. Another factor was the relatively high
ability of the agents in this survey.
An additional advantage made possible by a small sample is the more
intensive editing which can be given each family report. Thus in the
present survey only four schedules were discarded for inconsistency
or patent error. It was thus possible to avoid biases which may result
from large-scale surveys in which a greater proportion of schedules from
families with complicated finances are discarded because they do not
come within the tolerable limits of discrepancy.

Experiment To Test Adequacy of a Small Sample
Before this survey was undertaken an experiment was made to
test the extent to which a small sample could estimate one charac­
teristic of the entire urban population. The test was so designed as
to draw 5 independent samples, each consisting of 50 cities and 1,000
families. From each of these samples an estimate of the distribution



21

APPENDIX

of urban home owners by value of home and of urban renters by
monthly rent was prepared. Comparison of each of these five samples
with the actual distribution of 20 million urban renters and owners as
shown by the 1930 census gives an indication of the essential accuracy
of a small sample. (See table 11.)
T able II. — Results of 6 Samples Shelving Estimated Distributions of Families by Rent

Class or Rental- Value Class in 1930

Monthly rent and value of home

Actual
percent­
age from
the 1930
census

Sample number
11

21

3i

4i

51

62

43
45
46
46
46
42
Percentage of families who were owners ....
40
57
55
54
54
54
58
60
Percentage of families who were renters___
Percentage of renters with monthly rent of—
17
14
11
13
13
14
18
Under $15..------------------- --------------32
35
37
32
30
32
34
$15 and under $30.....................................
29
33
34
25
31
30
29
$30 and under $50...........................-........
19
17
15
19
15
18
19
$50 and under $100....................................
3
3
3
3
2
4
$100 and over......................................... .
2
2
2
2
2
4
1
1
No report...................................................
Median rent..................................................... $33.23 $33.64 $30.69 $32.35 $30.00 $32.67 $29.12
Percentage of home owners with homes
valued at—
7
7
5
6
8
4
Less than $1,500..... ..................................
6
$1,500 and'less than $3,000...-................
12
16
13
13
10
10
15
24
$3,000 and less than $5,000.......................
23
21
27
22
26
26
29
$5,000 and less than $7,500.......................
26
28
23
28
23
27
10
11
13
$7,500 and less than $10,000.....................
12
10
11
12
19
17
15
20
24
$10,000 and over......................................
18
15
1
1
1
1
2
2
1
No report...................................-.............
Median value of home................................. $5,769 $5,714 $5,603 $5,000 $6,161 $6,087 $5,278
1 Based upon a random stratified selection of 50 cities and a random selection of 1,000 families within the
cities.
2 Based upon the complete census figures on rents, rental value, and home tenure for the 42 cities used by
the National Resources Committee as the basis for its estimates of national income and expenditure in
1935-36.

In the first sample, 50 cities were chosen in the same fashion as the
62 cities actually used in the present sample (see pp. 29 ff.), except
fewer controls were used; region and city size were the only bases of
stratification. (Each additional pertinent control increases sample
accuracyi) The same methods were used in allocating the ! ,000
cases among the 50 cities as were used in the present sample. To select
the “sample cases” within each of the 50 cities each of the “sample
families” was located in a census rent class or rental-value class by
selection of a random number. The samples in each of the 50 cities
were pooled to yield an estimate for all cities in the United States.
The same experiment was repeated 4 additional times, each time
drawing a different combination of 50 cities and each time selecting
1,000 “sample cases” within rent classes or rental-value classes by use
of random numbers.
For additional comparison a sixth sample was prepared composed
of the 42 cities from the Study of Consumer Purchases used by the
National Resources Committee in its estimates of income and ex­
penditure. The rent and rental value distributions as shown by the
1930 census for each of these 42 cities were weighted together using
the population weights developed by the National Resources Com­
mittee. This yielded a sixth estimate of the distribution by rent or
rental-value class of urban home owners and renters. This estimate



22

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

is, in effect, based upon a sample of several million families (since it
uses census figures from a complete enumeration within each of the
42 cities) and is directly comparable with those based upon 1,000
families.
All six estimates are shown in table 11, together with the actual
distribution by rent class of urban families as shown by the 1930
census.
Two general conclusions emerge from this experiment: (1) That a
sample as small as 1,000 cases can, if properly selected, give estimates
of a high order of accuracy; (2) that estimates based upon large
samples, but not covering all sections of the urban population will give
less accurate estimates than small samples which do not exclude
any section of the population. Specifically, a complete enumeration
of the population living in the 42 cities used by the National Resources
Committee will give less accurate estimates than a sample of 1,000
living in 50 cities when the cities are selected so as to cover all sections
of the urban population.
While it is generally recognized that size of sample alone is no guar­
antee of accuracy, these conclusions may seem little short of paradoxi­
cal. The explanation lies in the manner in which the cities included
in the sixth sample were selected. Only 7 cities with populations
above 100,000 were included, although such cities contain about
half the urban population. Each of the 5 samples drawn in the
experiment included 25 such cities. The sixth sample of 42 cities,
did not have complete regional coverage; it had no cities with popu­
lations below 9,000; it included no small cities lying within metropoli­
tan areas. Despite the several million families that sample included,
it consequently gives poorer estimates of median rent than any of
the 5 experimental samples of 1,000 and poorer estimates of median
rental value than 4 of the 5.

Comparisons of Estimates Based on Actual Survey Sample With
Results From Other Agencies
The experiment described in the preceding paragraphs is an indica­
tion of the reliability of a sample of 1,000 cases when drawn from a
population which is completely listed. The same results could have
been predicted by the theory of probability. Because it is rarely
possible in a Nation-wide study of this character to make certain that
every family will have an equal chance of being included, an actual
field sample of this size may have larger errors. To check on this
point the following tables offer a comparison of certain characteristics
of the families in the sample actually drawn in cities in the Survey of
Family Spending and Saving in Wartime with comparable character­
istics as measured by the census.
AGE DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION

The age distribution of the individuals in the survey sample is com­
pared in table 12 with that of all urban persons in April 1940 as shown
by the Bureau of the Census. In general the distributions check well*
There are several sources of disagreement, however, which should be
remembered in any detailed comparison of the distributions.
1. The sample applies to a period 2 years after that of the census.
This means first that the sample age distributions will apply to a some­




23

APPENDIX

what older population than those of the census and, secondly, will
exclude males in the armed forces at the time of scheduling but in
civil life at the time of the census.
2. It is known that every census has underenumerated children less
than 5 years old. Such an underenumeration is considerably less likely
in the present survey since special expenses of such children, as for
clothing, are called for on the schedule form.
3. There appears to be some tendency for women in their late
twenties and in their thirties to underreport their age to the census
enumerator. Thus, in almost every census the number of native-born
women 20 to 24 has been above the expected survivorship from age
10 to 14 as returned 10 years previous.9
T able 12.— Age Distribution, A ll Urban Areas, by Sex— Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sample and Bureau of the Census
Age

14 or less........
15-24..............
25-34..............
35-44..............
45-54..............
55-64.............
65 and over..
Total___

Male
Sample Census
1942 1940
23.0 22.2
16.9 17.4
15.7 17.1
14.8 15.4
12.9 13.2
9.3
8.5
6.2
7.3
100.0 100.0

Female
Sample Census
1§42 1940
22.3 20.8
17.5 18.2
15.9 17.8
16.3 .15.3
12.8 12.4
8.2
8.6
6.7
6.3
100.0 100.0

Insofar as the ability of the agents in the present survey was above
that of the average census enumerator (of whom there were approxi­
mately 115,000), these errors of enumeration would be expected to be
less frequent.
An independent estimate of the distribution of the urban popula­
tion by age and sex in April 1942, with the military and institutional
population subtracted, in general shows even closer agreement with
the sample distribution.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HOUSING

Table 13 compares certain characteristics of housing in cities over
50,000 as estimated by the sample and as shown by the 1940 census.
Because of the 2-year difference in the period to which they refer and
the fact that an occupied dwelling unit, as defined by the census, is
not the same as an economic family, as defined in this study, perfect
agreement was not to be expected. Nevertheless, the general agree­
ment is close.
T able 13.— Housing Characteristics, Cities with Population of 50,000 or More— Bureau

of Labor Statistics Sample and Bureau of the Census
Item
Percentage of dwelling units:
Owner occupied.........................................
Having 1.5 or fewer persons per room___
Occupied by whites...................................
Mortgaged (owned homes only)...............

* U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1940 Population, vol, II, p, 568.




Sample Census
1940
1942
31.6
93.0
91.7
51.1

31.6
94.6
90.8
56.1

24

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES
NATIONAL AGGREGATES

There are, of course, many other characteristics for which checks
can be made. Most of them must wait on a combination of the data
for urban families with similar data for rural families collected by the
Bureau of Home Economics and adjustment of the resulting figures
for comparability of definitions with the estimates of other agencies.
Preliminary work in this direction indicates close checks for the follow­
ing items: Aggregate national food expenditure; aggregate" national
purchases of war bonds; percentage change in aggregate savings by
individuals, 1941 to first quarter of 1942; aggregate national furniture
expenditure; total registration of passenger automobiles.

Consistency of Sample Data
An additional way in which the usefulness of a sample of the
present size may be appraised is by the consistency of the results
obtained, particularly when the sample is broken into small subgroups.10
The most well-known of these consistencies, confirmed by over a
century of surveys of family incomes and expenditures, is the differing
relation between income and expenditure for different groups of
commodities and services. Chart 5, which shows average expenditure
in 1941 at different income levels, for food, clothing, and savings,
presents an example of this consistency.* The smoothness of the
11
change from income level to income level is all that could be asked from
a sample of any size. The behavior of these curves when based upon
too small a sample for the purpose at hand is exceedingly irregular, as
may be confirmed by inspection of some of the samples for individual
cities in the Consumer Purchases Study, the Study of Money Dis­
bursements of Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or the 1917-19
Cost-of-Living Study.
CONSISTENCY AMONG SMALL SUBGROUPS WITH CHANGED INCOMES

A more striking illustration of the consistency of the data when
broken into small subgroups is afforded by classifying families not
only by income but also by whether they had recently experienced
an increase or a decrease in income. In absence of data, it has
frequently been assumed that when a family moves from one income
bracket to another it adopts the consumption habits of the families
in the new income bracket. The classification of families by both
present income and whether income has increased or decreased indi­
cates that this assumption is subject to some error, at least over rela­
tively short-time periods. Food expenditures in 1942 are shown
separately in table 14 for families having income decreases and those
having income increases of 5 percent or more between 1941 and the
This device of testing the stability of a sample by testing the consistency of subgroups is one which has
found special application in the field of industrial testing and quality control. Walter A. Shewhart: Statis­
tical method from the viewpoint of quality control. Washington, 1939, pp. 33-36.
11 Although the estimates of expenditure at different income levels published in the main part of this
bulletin have been smoothed to eliminate slight irregularities, the data published in this section are all un­
smoothed, i. e., the averages yielded directly by the original reports are shown. When small samples are
subdivided, the results should show some irregularities. The results are smoothed in the body of the report
to eliminate these irregularities because it increases the accuracy of the result. For example, it is obvious
that medical expenditures depend on sickness in the family. It is largely a matter of chance whether severe
illness strikes a family with $1,500 or $2,000 of income. In a small sample the average expenditure for medical
care will therefore be higher for families of $1,500 than for families of $2,000, if, among the families selected,
those with $1,500 happen to have had extraordinary illness while those with $2,000 did not. But if through­
out the rest of the sample one finds that medical expenditures rise with income, it is more accurate to con­
sider this general tendency and to estimate medical expenditures at various income levels from all the cases
than it is to assume that the irregularity indicated by the small sample would hold also for a large sample.



APPENDIX

25

first quarter of 1942. The table indicates that present consumption
is influenced not only by present but by past income. Although the
difference in food expenditures between the 2 subgroups does not
average more than $25 at any income level below $5,000, the present
sample is sufficiently large to detect it at every income level.
SUBGROUPS SHOWING INCOME DISTRIBUTION BY AVERAGE RENT OF BLOCK

A third example of consistency within subgroups of the sample
is the income distribution of families and single persons by the average
rent of the block in which they live. As explained on page 32,
average block rent in April 1940 as reported by the Bureau of the
Census was one of the bases used in selecting the sample of families in
cities above 50,000. Chart 6 shows income distributions separately
for families living in the lowest sixth of the rent blocks and the highest
sixth. The chart is useful not merely in showing that average block
rent is related to the income distribution of the families living there.
It demonstrates that a sample of the present size can be broken into
small subgroups and still show consistent differences. Examples of
this type can be multiplied indefinitely. Anyone who works con­
tinuously with the sample data cannot but be impressed with innumer­
able cases of this type.




26

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES
DISTRIBUTION BY 1941 INCOME OF CONSUMER UNITS
LIVING IN BLOCKS WITH HIGHEST AND LOWEST
AVERAGE RENTS
p er c e n t

CITIES 50,000 AND OVER

1000
2000
3000
2000
3000
5000
INCOME CLASS IN DOLLARS

AND UNDER

AND UNDER

AND UNDER

T able 14,— Quarterly Food Expenditure, Consumer Units With Income Changes, City

Families and Single Consumers, First Quarter of 1942
Money income,1first quarter
of 1942
Under $500..................................
$500 and under $1,000................
$1,000 and under $1,500.............
$1,500 and under $2,000.............
$2,000 and under $2,500.............
$2,500 and under $3,000.............
$3,000 and under $5,000............
$5,000 and under $10,000...........

Families
having had*
a decrease
in income of
5 percent or
more

Families
having had
an increase
in income of
5 percent or
more

$57
101
125
146
182
204
261
415

$36
74
100
134
164
198
242
316

1Annual rate.

Selection of Survey Sample

The sample of urban families has been selected from 62 cities12
scattered throughout the country. For any stated number of fami­
lies, the larger the number of communities covered, the smaller is the
sampling error. Thus, the only limit to the number of cities included
12 Cities are urban places with population of 2,500 or more as designated by the Bureau of the Census.



27

APPENDIX

in any sample is supplied by considerations of cost, since it is generally
less expensive to cover a fixed number of families in a smaller than in a
larger number of cities. The cost factors associated with the present
survey indicated that the most efficient disposition of available funds
(solely from the point of view of minimum sampling error) would have
involved taking approximately 90 cities. That number of cities, how­
ever, would have implied an average of less than 15 families per city.
Since the compensation for interviewing this number of families would
have been too low to attract any large number of capable interviewers,
the number of cities was reduced to 62 to provide an average of approxi­
mately 20 families per city.
SELECTION OF CITIES

The communities were so selected as to give proper representation
to (1) each city-size group, (2) proximity to a metropolis (for cities*
under 50,000), (3) each region and State, (4) low-, medium-, and
high-rent cities, (5) cities of differing racial composition.
A comparison of the distribution of sample cities with that of the
total urban population among 6 city-size classes is shown in table 15.
The distribution of the sample cities among the 6 city-size classes
was made in accordance with the standard sampling formulae, that is,,
approximately in proportion to population, and had the effect of in­
cluding all 14 cities with populations in excess of 500,000 and a de­
creasing proportion of the smaller cities.
T able 15.— Distribution of Total Urban Dwelling Units, Total Cities Over 2,500, and

Sample Cities, by 6 City-Size Classes

City size
600,000 and over___
100,000-500,000..........
50,000-100,000...........
25,000-50,000.............
10,000-25,000.............
2,500-10,000...............
Total...............

Number of
occupied Total num­ Number of
dwelling units ber of cities1 sample
cities
(April 1940) 1
M illions

6.3
4.4
2.0
2.0
2.7
3.2
20.6

14
78
107
213
665
2,387
3,464

14
14
7
7
9
11
62

1Source: 1940 Census of Population.

For the selection of the 14 sample cities in the size class of 100,000
to 500,000, and the 14 cities in the size class of 50,000 to 100,000, a
three-way set of controls based on the following factors was imposed:
Region; 1930 median rent and rental value13 percentage of families
in 1930 which were Negro.
Each of these controls had the effect of specifying the distribution
of 14 cities by the differing value of the control. A comparison of the
distribution of the total population living in cities 100,000 to 500,000
by region and of the selected sample cities by region is shown in
table 16.
The distribution of the sample communities by these regions was
obtained in the same fashion as the distribution of all 62 cities among
13 At the time the sample was drawn, 1940 rent was not available for most of the cities in the country.
Subsequent experiments have shown that the differences between stratifications based upon 1940 and 1930
rents are slight.



28

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CITY FAMILIES

city-size classes, that is, approximately in proportion to total urban
population in each. Similar distributions of cities and of total popula­
tions within this city-size class were obtained by 1930 median rent
class and by percentage of population which was reported Negro in
the 1930 census. Fourteen cities were then selected completely at
random within the limits that they satisfy each of these three
criteria. After having imposed these controls, random selection of
communities seemed less likely to bias the sample than a system of
selecting “typical” or “representative” cities.
For cities of 50,000 to 100,000 the procedure was identical with that
just described for selection of cities from 100,000 to 500,000. For
the remaining 3 city-size classes the procedure differed only to the
extent of an additional control for the presence or absence of the city
within a metropolitan area.
As a final control on all the cities with populations below 500,000
a State control was imposed so that each State (or, for the smaller
States, each group of States) received the exact number of cities which
its urban population justified.
T able 16.— Distribution of Urban Dwelling Units, Total Cities, and Sample Cities, by

Region

CITIES WITH POPULATIONS OF 100.000 TO 500,000
Region
New England______________________________________________
Middle Atlantic__________________________ _________________
East North Central........................ ___....................................................
West North Central and Mountain___________________________
South Atlantic......................... ..................... ..........................................
East South Central_________________________________________
West South Central..................................................._.............................
Pacific _________________________________________________
Total..................................................................................................

Number of Total Number
occupied number sample
dwelling units of cities1 of cities
(April 1949) 1
Thousands

423
666
879
689
286
351
543
559
4,400

11
14
14
10
8
6
7
8
78

1
2
3
2
1
1
2
2
14

» Source: 1940 Census of Population.

APPORTIONMENT OF INTERVIEWS AMONG SELECTED CITIES

In determining the number of consumer units to be interviewed in
•each city the total number of interviews was distributed among the
various region city-size groups on the basis of number of occupied
dwelling units in each group in April 1940 as reported by the census.
For the cities with population of 500,000 and over the number of
interviews in each region so obtained was distributed among all the
cities in that region on the basis of the number of occupied dwelling
units in each city. For cities under 500,000, the number of inter­
views in each region city-size group was distributed on the basis of the
number of occupied dwelling units in the median-rent group of cities
from which the selected city had been drawn. Interviews allocated
on this basis yielded a sample which would yield estimates of urban
income, expenditure, and saving simply by pooling the schedules
collected from all cities without weighting. (The absence of weighting
is a great saving in time and hence in cost of preparing over-all figures.)
The cities included in the sample, the number of assignments in each,
Rnd certain identifying characteristics are given in table 17.



29

APPENDIX

T able 17.— Cities Included in Sample, Certain Characteristics of Each9 and Number of

Interviews Assigned Each

City
Akron, Ohio_____________________________
Allegan, Mich __________________________
Baltimore, M d ___________________________
Bayonne, N. J_____________________ ______
Binghamton. N . Y................r...............................
Boston, Mass ___________________________
Buffalo, N. Y ........................................................
Chicago, 111 -.......................................................
Coalinga, Calif___________________________
Eldorado, 111............................................................
Elmhurst,1 111____________________________
Erie, Pa____________________ ____________
HightondfFail£, IN. Y ...........................................
Indianapolis, Ind_________________________
Kansas City, Kans________________________
Kansas City? Mo_________________________
Kenosha, Wi.q
Klamath Falls, Oreg____________________
Lawrence, Mass _________________________
Los Angeles, Calif______________________
Memphis, Tenn__________________________
Michigan City, Ind________________ ______
Milwaukee, Wis__________________________
Mobridge, S. D ak ________________________
New Orleans, La__________________________
Newport,1 Ky____________________________
New York, N. Y................................................
Oklahoma City, Okla_____________________
Ogdensburg, N. Y _____________________ ___
Opelika, Ala_____________________________
Oradell,1 N. J____________________________
Ottumwa, Iowa___________________________
Philadelphia, Pa__________________________
Piqua, Ohio______________________________
Pittsburgh, Pa___________________________
Pittsfield, Mass___________________________
Royal Oak,1 Mich_________________________
St. Louis, M o .___________________________
San Diego, Calif................................. ..................
Sftn Franmscn, Calif
Savannah, Ga__ __i_______________________
Scranton, P a __________ __________________
Southington,1 Conn_______________________
South Portland,1 M aine___________________
Spokane, Wash_____ _____________________
Toledo, Ohio....... ...................................................
Washington, D. C________________________
Wichita Falls, Tex________________________
Wilmington, Del_____ ____________________
Worcester, Mass__________________________
1 Lies within a metropolitan area.
2Median rent-rental value for Bergen County.



1930 median
1940 popula­ rent or rental 1930 percent­ Number of
tion
age Negro interviews
value
Thousands

245
5
51
859
79
5
78
771
12
576
12
5
3,397
878
5
11
23
1,623
69
5
15
117
5
61
4
387
121
399
49
16
84
1,504
293
26
587
3
495
31
7,455
204
16
8
3
32
1,931
16
672
50
25
816
203
635
96
140
5
16
122
282
663
45
113
194

$30.25
14.24
23.54
24.17
35.65
14.59
31.81
35.22
13.83
32.50
13.19
14.02
44.77
33.58
20.50
35.07
21.47
41.76
61.76
7.72
43.65
28.87
21.04
21.92
25.10
25.28
15.32
29.42
31.24
26.72
26.01
34.16
17.58
22.32
33.73
22.75
22.75
24.37
45.70
28.85
16.90
13.15
*39. 78
14,38
30.05
19.22
33.80
28.25
37.60
30.77
26.32
36.25
16.20
27.08
22.73
23.81
18.24
32.14
42,06
20.45
28.69
30.31

3.9
1.0
27.4
17.9
2.9
43.3
.9
3.0
0
2.3
36.8
24.7
6.5
7.9
.1
8.1
30.0
6.9
6.0
0
.1
1.0
3.4
1.6
9.8
12.1
17.8
10.5
.4
.7
.2
3.0
43.2
2.5
1.3
.1
30.8
3.9
4.5
7.4
0
46.4
2.0
1.6
11.1
2.9
8.3
1.0
.1
11.0
1.8
.6
51.7
.6
4.6
0
.6
4.3
23.9
12.4
12.1
.7

15
20
13
13
15
12
15
11
23
9
13
22
55
14
15
19
23
25
16
20
15
20
16
19
20
16
23
17
20
12
17
29
21
21
10
15
16
12
119
16
19
21
19
22
30
16
10
17
20
14
17
12
12
19
9
18
15
16
10
17
20
25

30

SPENDING AND SAVING OF CTTY FAMILIES
SELECTION OF FAMILIES WITHIN CITIES

The first step in selecting the families to be interviewed in each city
involved the selection of a sample of blocks. For each city with a
population above 50,000 the Bmeau of the Census has computed the
average rent or rental value for each block in the city. For such
cities, average block rent in 1940 was used as the basis of stratifica­
tion for selection of blocks. In each such city the blocks were sorted
into a series of rent classes, each rent class having the same number
of occupied dwelling units.14 One block was selected at random from
each of these rent classes. As many blocks were selected as there were
families to be interviewed. The procedure was such that the greater
the number of occupied dwelling units in a block, the greater was the
chance of selecting that block. As a result it was possible to select
one family per block regardless of the size of the block, and still obtain
an unbiased distribution of families by the density of the block in
which they live. A comparison of the average monthly rent per block
for the sample and for the entire city in each15 of the cities over
50,000 is shown in table 18.
T able 18.— Comparison of Average Monthly Rent Per Block in Sample and in Entire

City, for Each Sample City Over 50,000 •

City
Akron. Ohio—.................
Asheville, N. C................
Baltimore, Md.................
Bayonne, N. J—..............
Binghamton, N. Y..........
Boston, Mass.............. —.
Buffalo, N. Y...................
Chicago, 111......................
Cleveland, Ohio..............
Detroit, Mich..................
East Orange, N. J...........
Erie, Pa.............................
Fresno, Calif....................
Indianapolis, Ind.............
Kansas City, Mo.............
Kansas City, Kans..........
Lawrence, Mass..............
Los Angeles, Calif...........

1940 average
Num­ montlily rent
ber of
blocks
in Blocks
sample in Entire
sample city1
15
13
13
15
15
11
9
• 55
14
25
16
20
19
16
17
23
17
29

City

$27. 78 $28.33 Memphis, Tenn...............
25.86 22.18 Milwaukee, Wis...............
30.13 30.31
31.97 32.29 New Orleans, La.............
32.25 32.81 New York, N. Y . .y ____
Oklahoma City, Okla__
31.95 32.74 Philadelphia, Pa..............
29.05 30.91 Pittsburgh, Pa.................
33. 52 34.47
28.45 28.93 St. Louis, Mo...................
35.28 35.88 San Diego, Calif_______
San Francisco, Calif____
58.46 52.69 Savannah, Ga................
26.68 27.49 Scranton, Pa.....................
29. 52 30.04
28.24 28.76 Spokane, Wash.............. .
26.67 27.44 Toledo, Ohio__________
Washington, D. C...........
18.29 18.43 Wilmington, Del.............
24.88 24.44 Worcester, Mass.............
37.11 34.50

1940 average
Num­ montnly rent
ber of
blocks
in Blocks
sample in Entire
sample city1
21
10
16
119
16
30
10
14
17
12
12
19
15
16
10
20
25

$21. 22 $21.95
32.50 33.26
21.67 21.96
44.40 43.87
25.09 25.18
29.91 31.22
32.81 34.83
25.08 25.75
28.95 30.54
34.78 37.39
18.16 18.21
27.68 27.68
24.91 23.95
28.53 29.46
53.43 53.00
36.39 37.75
32.70 32.83
i

1 Source: 1940 Census of Population.

For cities with populations below 50,000 average block rent has not
been computed by the Bureau of the Census, and a somewhat dif­
ferent procedure was therefore necessary. For each such city in the
sample a detailed block map was obtained and the blocks on the map
14 In cities with populations above 500,000 only one-third of the blocks, selected at random, were used in
this classification.
15 At the time that the sample of blocks was being drawn, the census tabulations of average block rent in
New York City had not yet been prepared. The procedure followed in that city involved treating each of
the 3,000 census tracts in that city in the same fashion as blocks had been treated in other cities. The num­
ber of occupied dwelling units in each tract in April 1940 was known. Since average tract rent was unknown,
however, the basis of stratification was percentage of rented units renting for less than $30 in 1934 as shown
by the Real Property Inventory. After the sample tracts had all been drawn in the same manner as blocks
were drawn in other cities, one block was selected completely at random from each sampled tract.



APPENDIX

31

numbered consecutively. Every nth block was then selected, the
initial number being chosen at random. Since adjacent blocks were
given consecutive numbers, this procedure had the effect of scatter­
ing the selected blocks throughout the city.
The last step in selecting the specific families to be interviewed in
the selected cities, involved having the enumerator prepare a complete
listing of the families and single consumers living in each of the selected
blocks. Each known family or single consumer was listed as a sepa­
rate unit. These listings were returned to the Washington office of
the survey, where the selection of the consumer units to be inter­
viewed was made. In the cities over 50,000 one consumer unit was
selected at random from each block listing; in each of the cities under
50,000 the listings for each of the blocks were put together to form one
continuous listing. Every nth family was selected from this con­
tinuous listing, with the initial number again chosen at random. In
the smaller towns some of the blocks thus furnished two or even three
families while others furnished none in proper accordance with the
density of population within the blocks.
Exactly 1,200 consumer units were assigned from such listing. On
occasion it was discovered that an assigned consumer unit actually
consisted of two or more independent economic units. This happened
most typically when two groups of related persons living together and
listed as one family in the initial block listing were discovered on more
detailed investigation to keep their incomes and expenditures separate.
In such a case, despite the relationship, they are best considered sepa­
rate economic units. In every such instance each of the independent
units was separately scheduled. Any procedure which involved
taking only one of the economic families in such a multiple grouping
would have yielded a sample with fewer economic families living in
multiple groups than existed in the urban population. The procedure
followed in the present survey involved scheduling each of the sepa­
rate economic families composing the assigned family. The 1,200
original assignments thus yielded almost 1,300 economic families of
one or more than one persons. In the most extreme case a single
assignment yielded four separate economic units.16
» The converse of this case should also be noted. In some few cases two or more members of a single eco­
nomic family were listed separately and one of the members selected for scheduling. To have scheduled the
entire economic family of which the selected individual was a member would have overweighted the sample
with such families. The procedure followed involved scheduling the entire family if the selected member
was the first in the listing of the members, and drawing another family from the block if he was not.