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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JAMES J. DAVIS, Secretary

WOMEN’S BUREAU
MARY ANDERSON, Director

BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU, NO. 30

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING
WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT




WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1923

[Public—No. 259—66th Congress.]
.

[H. R._ 13229.]

-

An Act To establish in the Department of Labor a bureau to be
known as the Women’s Bureau.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be estab­
lished in the Department of Labor a bureau to be known as the
Women’s Bureau.
Sec. 2. That the said bureau shall be in charge of a director, a
woman, to be appointed by^the President, by and with the advice
and consent of the Senate, who shall receive an annual compensa­
tion of $5,000. It shall be the duty of said bureau to formulate
standards and policies which shall promote the welfare of wage­
earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their
efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employ­
ment. The said bureau shall have authority to investigate and
report to the said department upon all matters pertaining to the
welfare of women in industry. The director of said bureau may
from time to time publish the results of these investigations in such
a manner and to such extent as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe.
Sec. 3. That there shall be in said bureau an assistant director,
to be appointed by the Secretary of Labor, who shall receive an
annual compensation of $3,500 and shall perform such duties as
shall be prescribed by the director and approved by the Secretary
of Labor.
Sec. 4. That there is hereby authorized to be employed by said
bureau a chief clerk and such special agents, assistants, clerks, and
other employees at such rates of compensation and in such numbers
as Congress may from time to time provide by appropriations.
Sec. 5. That the Secretary of Labor is hereby directed to furnish
sufficient quarters, office furniture and equipment, for the work of
this bureau.
Sec. 6. That this act shall take effect and be in force from and
after its passage.
Approved, June 5, 1920.




U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JAMES J. DAVIS, SECRETARY

WOMEN’S BUREAU
MARY ANDERSON, Director

BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S

BUREAU,

NO.

30

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING
WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT

.

t




....

. . .

/

u nil«)
\ IS! J

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1923

. ■

•

She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands.
She maketh fine linen and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto
the merchant.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the
bread of idleness.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise
her in the gates.
—Proverbs xxxi: 13, 24, 27, 31.
ii




LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
United States Department of Labor,
Women’s Bureau,

February 8, 1923.
Sir: I am submitting herewith a report on the share of wage­

earning women in family support. This report consists of a survey
made by the Women’s Bureau in the shoe industry in Manchester,
N. H., a compilation of material from the schedules collected by
the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of
Labor during its cost-of-living study, and a summary of data in 51
miscellaneous reports which contained pertinent information.
Miss Agnes L. Peterson and Miss Caroline Manning were in charge
of the investigation in Manchester and Miss Elizabeth Hyde was in
charge of the statistical compilation. The research work in connec­
tion with Part III was done by Mrs. Mildred J. Gordon. The report
was written by Miss Mary N. Winslow.
I wish to acknowledge the splendid cooperation given by the shoe
companies and the workers in Manchester and by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics in making available the cost of living schedules.
Mr. Ethelbert Stewart, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics, Miss Mary Yan Kleeck, Director of the Department of Indus­
trial Studies of the Russell Sage Foundation, of New York, and
Miss Marie L. Obenauer, Director of the Industrial Survey and
Research Service, of Washington, have read the report and given
valuable assistance in suggestions as to the method of presentation
of this material.
Mary Anderson, Director.
Hon. James J. Davis,
Secretary of Labor.
in
v




.




CONTENTS.
The Share

of

Wage-Earning Women

in

Family Support.

page.

Sources of information......................................................................................
General outline.....................
The subject defined..........................................................................................
Summary of the various sections of the report...............................................
Conclusion.........................................................................................................
PartT. The Family Responsibilities of Men
Earners in Manchester, N. H.:

and

Wtomen Wage

Section 1.........................................................................................
Introduction............................................................................
Scope and method of investigation........................................
Summary.................................................................................
Section II. The individual...........................................................
1. Description of persons from whom information was
secured............................................................................
Nativity.....................................................................
• Age............................................................................
Conjugal and living conditions................................
Relationship to families...........................................
2. The industrial status of the men and women..................
Comparative earnings...............................................
Steadiness of employment.......................................
Experience................................................................
Continuous employment..........................................
Summary...................................................................
3. Dependents and contributions to the home of individual
men and women..............................................................
Total dependents.............
Contributions to the home.......................................
Weekly earnings and amount contributed___
Family relationship and amount contributed..
Age and amount contributed............................
Length of time contributing.............................
Summary............................
Section III. The family................................................................
1. Description of the families from whom information was
secured.............................................................................
Number of families...................................................
Qualifications of the material collected..................
Financial status of the families...............................
Number of wage earners...........................................
2. The sources of family income and earnings.....................
The relationship between income and earnings...
Effect of per capita year’s earnings on contributions
Contributions and earnings of sons and daughters..
Wage-earning wives..................................................
Summary...................................................................
Appendix A. General tables........................................................
Appendix]!. Schedules used in investigation............................




2
7
7
10
21

v

25
25
26
30
36
36
36
37
38
40
42
43
45
48
51
52
53
53
54
55
58
60
62
65
67
67
67
68
69
73
76
76
79
81
82
85
87
100

CbNTteNTS.

VI

Part II.

Sources op Family Income. The economic importance of sons
and of daughters in the families for whom schedules were secured
by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department
of Labor during a cost of living survey...........................................
Part III. Dependents, Contributions, and Family Relationship. An
account of the home responsibilities of women as shown in 51
reports which have presented material on the subject..................
Dependents...........................
Women with dependents...................................
Total dependents....................................................................
Types of dependents. ................. .......................................
Contributions to the family...........................................................
The effect of living conditions on the amount contributed
to the family................ .....................................................
The relation between earnings and contributions to the
family......... ............. .........................................................
The importance of the married woman as a contributor to
the family income........................■......................................
The importance of the single woman as a contributor to the
family income.....................................................................
Regularity of contributions..................................................
Contributions in the form of housework...............................
Comparison of responsibilities and contributions of men and
women............. ....... .................... -............................................
Proportion of men and women who are wage earners.........
Single men and women as heads of families........................
Contributions of men and women..........................................
Per cent of earnings contributed to family by men and
women................
Bibliography.................................................................

Page.

105
117
125
125
126
127
131
133
136
142
150
157
158
159
159
161
162
163
165

TABLES.

I.
,
Page.
Table 1. Number of wage earners included in investigation in Manchester,
N. IT., by age, sex, and type of information secured................
28
2. Industries in which the Manchester, N. EL, wage earners inter­
viewed were employed................
29
3. Number of persons interviewed in each plant..............................
29
4. Age, by sex...... ........
38
5. Conjugal and living condition, by sex...........................................
38
6. Composition of the families of 705 men and 479 women who re­
ported complete data, according to persons at work and persons
not at work.................. ..................... ..................... ........................
40
7. Average weekly earnings and family relationship........................
43
8. Year’s earnings.......... .......
44
9. Year’s earnings of men and women who worked 48 weeks or more.
45
10. Number of weeks lost by persons for whom complete year’s record
was obtained....................................
46
47
11. Causes of lost time...........................................................................
12. Time spent in the trade..........................................................
48
13. Average weekly earnings by years in the trade............................
49
14. Time spent in the occupation........................................................
50

Part




’

CONTENTS.

TO

Part I—Continued.
Page.
Table 15. Average weekly earnings by time in the occupation...................
50
16. Years of continuous employment by conjugal condition.............
52
17. Weekly earnings and weekly contributions to the family, of
persons interviewed who were living at home..........................
55
18. Contributions to the home by average weekly earnings...............
56
19. Per cent of persons who contributed to the family all earnings,
classified by weekly earnings, and per cent in each earnings
57
group, classified by family relationship.......... ..........................
20. Percentage of weekly earnings contributed to the family, classi­
fied by relationship of contributor..............................................
59
21. Per cent of all men and women and of sons and daughters in each
age group who contributed all of their earnings........................
00
22. Length of time contributing all earnings and length of time at
work for persons who had worked continuously since starting
work..............................................................................................
63
23. Per cent of persons working each specified length of time who
had contributed all of their earnings for the entire time they
had been at work.........................................................................
64
24. Length of time contributing all earnings, by conjugal condition
of contributor...............................................................................
64
25. Families from which records were obtained, classified by size of
family, number of wage earners, and whether or not having
other source of income...................................................
67
26. Total year’s earnings of families, classified by size of family....
70
27. Per capita family earnings, classified by total family earnings..
72
28. Total year’s earnings of families classified by number of wage
earners......................
73
29. Number of persons at work and per cent earning proportionate
share of family earnings, classified by number of wage earners
in family....................................
74
30. Total family earnings, total contributions to family, and amounts
contributed by the various members of the family...................
77
31. Per cent of family earnings contributed, 56 families for which
complete information was available, arranged according to per
capita earnings of families...........................................................
79
32. Per cent of their earnings contributed by sons and by daughters
in families with per capita earnings of less than $500 and of
$500 or more.................................................................................
80
33. Proportion of family earnings which was earned and proportion
which was contributed by sons and by daughters....................
81
34. Number of dependents and number of wage earners in families
of working wives.....................
82
35. Year’s earnings of working wives classified by earnings of their
husbands.......................................................................................
83
36. Per capita family earnings with and without earnings of wife in
families with working wives........................................................
84
Appendix to Part I.
Table I. Nativity of the persons interviewed...............................................
87
II. Year’s earnings, classified by number of weeks worked...............
88
III. Reasons for not working, classified by number of weeks out of work
90
IV. Number of jobs held during the year, by age of worker................
92
V. Average weekly earnings classified by time in the trade.............
93




VIII

CONTENTS.

Appendix to Part I—Continued.
Page.
Table VI. Average weekly earnings, classified by time in present occupa­
tion...........................................................
94
VII. Number of years of continuous employment, by conjugal con­
dition..............................................................................................
96
VIII. Percentage of earnings contributed to the family, by family rela­
tionship and age of contributor....................................................
97
IX. Weekly contribution to the family, classified by age of con­
tributor...........................................................................................
99
X. Length of time contributing all earnings to the family, classified
by length of time contributor had been at work.......................
99
Part II.
Table 1. Per cent of families having income from certain specified sources,
by income groups, all cities..........................................................
108
2. Wage-earning status of sons and of daughters, 16 years of age and
109
over, by family earnings...............................................................
3. Sources of family earnings, classified by proportion from each
source..............................................................................................
Ill
4. Per cent of family earnings contributed by sons and by daughters,
classified by total family earnings................................................
112
5. Per cent of family earnings contributed by sons and by daughters,
classified by age of contributors...................................................
114
Part III.
Table 1. Per cent of women in each investigation who reported that they
had “dependents”....................................................................... 125
2. Number and per cent of women who reported that they had
total dependents..........................................................................
127
3. Type of dependents of wage-earning women, by conjugal con­
dition of the women supporting them........................................
128
4. Proportion of earnings contributed to the family.........................
131
5. Women contributing besides paying board...................................
132
6. Number and per cent of women who were living at home or
independently..............................................................................
134
7. Average yearly earnings and contribution to the family of female
children 16 years of age and over at work..................................
137
8. Average weekly earnings and contribution to the family of
women employed in stores and factories who were living at
home........................................................,...................................
138
9. Per cent of weekly earnings given to the home by women muni­
tion workers interviewed who were living with their families.. 139
10. Comparison between average weekly earnings and contributions
to the family of wage-earning women who lived at home but
did not contribute all their earnings to their families..............
140
11. Average weekly earnings, cost of living, and contributions to
needy relatives of women employed in stores and factories
who were living adrift.................................................................
141
12. Family status and family responsibilities of married women_
_
143
13. Number of children of breadwinning mothers, by marital status
of mother......................................................................................
144
14. Breadwinning mothers having children of specified age groups
in school, at home, or at work, by marital status of mother__
145
15. Average yearly earnings of mothers and per cent their contribu­
tions form of the net family income, by industry.....................
147




CONTENTS.

IX

III—Continued.
Page
Table 16. Married women at work classified by condition as to husband.... 149
17. Family status and family responsibilities of single women.........
151
18. Number and per cent of single women living at home who were
the only members of their families at work...............................
152
19. Average yearly contributions of female children 16 years of age
and over at work, and per cent such contributions form of the
net family income, by industry..................................................
154
20. Degree of dependency of family on earnings of women employed
as regulars only.........................................................................
155
21. Effect on weekly per capita family earnings of exclusion of
earnings of girls under 16.............................................................
156
22. Number and per cent of fathers and of mothers contributing to
the family support, and of children 16 years of age and over
at work, by industry....................................................................
160
23. Contributors to the family income of 544 families of Italian
women workers, by age and by sex............................................
161
24. Contributions to the family fund of male and female children
16 years of age and over at work.................................................
162
25. Average individual earnings of children of each sex 16 years of
age and over at work, average contributions of such children to
family income, and per cent of their earnings so contributed.. 163

Part




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
The importance of the part played by women in the industrial
life of the country is becoming an accepted fact even among those
whose acquaintance with industrial conditions is of the most casual
sort. That there are more than eight and a half million women
gainfully employed in the United States and that of every four
workers one is a woman are figures which indicate somewhat the
extent to which women have become an essential factor in a sphere
formerly considered to be not theirs. Nevertheless the accepted
theory is still, as it has been in the past, that women are the home
makers and men the providers for the home. Few people know
what many important investigations have shown—that although a
very large majority of wage-earning women live at home their
earnings are of more than incidental importance to themselves and
to society as a whole, since a great number of these women contribute
all their earnings to their families. Few people realize that the single
woman who works is often the chief breadwinner for her family, and
that almost every married woman wage earner is working to supple­
ment her husband’s inadequate earnings and is turning over her
entire wage to help out with the family expenses. And almost no
one appreciates the fact that many families get as much financial
help from daughters as from sons.
It is difficult to say why this aspect of the question of women’s
employment is so seldom recognized, for as far back as the days of
Solomon there were those who bore testimony to the industrial
character of women’s work. “She maketh fine linen and selleth it;
and delivereth girdles unto the merchant,” was a statement of
conditions which were probably not unusual even in those days.
With the development of modern life, more and more women
have been afforded opportunity to become wage earners, but their
activities in this field have not yet been recognized as having the
broad social significance which is credited to the efforts of the home­
making woman or the home-supporting man. Of recent years
women have been granted a certain status as integral and necessary
factors in industry, yet even so their recognition has been qualified
by restricted opportunity and a generally lower wage rate than
that given to men. In spite of many advances in earning capacity
and opportunity the industrial status of women is still subsidiary
to their home status, and there is little knowledge of the extent to




l

2

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

which the two are interdependent. Shortly after the recent war it
seemed that women had won a permanent place for themselves
among the wage-earning citizens of the country; and yet it took only
a few months of unemployment, with both men and women losing
their chances to earn, for a general hue and cry to be raised against
the retention of women on jobs which might be filled by men. “ Back
to the home” was a slogan all too easily and indiscriminately flung
at the wage-earning woman by those who had little conception of
the causes which forced her into wage-earning pursuits. Before
any intelligent estimate can be made of these causes, the home
responsibilities of wage-earning women—and by this phrase is meant
their economic responsibilities as well as their home-making activi­
ties—must be known and appreciated. With the facts on this
subject once established public opinion can be trusted to form a
more satisfactory policy on the vital issue of women’s right and
need to work for wages.
That this need is not generally recognized is shown most clearly
by the attitude of those groups of employers who have for years
secured their wumen employees for less than a living wage under the
plea that they employed only women who lived at home and there­
fore had few expenses. Typical of this attitude is the statement
made in a recent number of a commercial magazine that “86 per
cent of women workers live at home or with relatives. It is imma­
terial in these cases whether the earnings of each measure up to the
cost of living scheduled for a single woman living alone, so that the
theory of the need of a sufficient wage to support a single woman
living alone does not apply to 86 per cent of the entire population.”
But it should be recognized that the issue is a broader one than
simply the determination of the necessary expenses which must be
met by the average woman wage earner. What does the woman
wage earner mean to the economic status of the family ? Should
she be considered as an individual or are her economic well-being
and success merged with the well-being and social significance of the
family ? How does her standing in the family as a wage earner and
as a contributor compare with that of men who are recognized as
having more than individual importance in this regard ? These
are fundamental questions, the answers to which will have a farreaching influence on the recognition of woman’s share in the economic
life of the family.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION.

Special investigations of the Women’s Bureau.
Because of the scarcity of scientifically collected, specialized infor­
mation on the subject of the share of women wage earners in family
support, and because of the almost total lack of any comparable




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

3

information regarding the same subject for men, the Women’s Bureau
decided to make an investigation relating to these matters which
should be both comprehensive and detailed and which should give
comparable material for men and women. Accordingly a study was
made of man and woman wage earners in the shoe industry in Man­
chester, N. H. The results of this study are presented for the first
time in the following pages. The facts secured include a detailed
account of the individual economic relationship to the family of each
man and woman investigated, and an outline of the family as an
economic unit and of the part filled in this unit by the individual
man or woman.
In addition to the Manchester investigation the Women’s Bureau,
with the assistance of State departments of labor, has made a short
general investigation by questionnaire to determine the types of
dependents supported by women. The findings of this investigation
also are presented in the following pages for the first time.
Other investigations made by Federal agencies.
Unfortunately, additional data available on these questions are far
from voluminous and in most cases are only incidental facts which
can be taken from investigations of other matters. There are, how­
ever, certain important studies which have considered such matters
and from which pertinent data can be secured. The most prominent
of these investigations is the one which, of all studies which have been
undertaken in this country, covers the greatest number of women,
the report on the conditions of woman and child wage earners in the
United States. This investigation was conducted by the Commis­
sioner of Labor of the United States Department of Commerce and
Labor during 1907, 1908, and 1909. In the first 5 of its 19 volumes,
those dealing with the cotton textile, men’s ready-made clothing,
glass, and silk industries, and with women employed in stores and
factories, the family responsibilities of women were studied. This
report gives detailed consideration and information of a most valuable
kind on the part played by women in the support of the family.
Although the facts given are not recent and pertain only to women
employed in five or six industries, they contribute some of the most
reliable, extensive, and searching evidence which is available on this
subject. A few of the reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the
United States Department of Labor afford figures as to the number
of working women who are supporting dependents. The three most
important studies from this sotirce cover a period of 30 years, from
1888 to 1918. One of the studies was published as part of the fourth
annual report of the Commissioner of Labor, who was chief of the
Bureau of Labor, the forerunner of the present Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics. The two other studies were part of special investigations




4

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

made by the bureau. In all these studies figures showing the family
responsibilities of working women were only a small part of the report.
All sides of the problem, such as total and partial dependency, con­
tribution in relation to total family income and number of perons in
family, type of dependents, etc., have not been considered in each
study, but each study has covered some one, or more than one,
important phase of the problem.
Investigations made by State agencies.
Besides these comprehensive Federal reports there is considerable
information which can be derived from the less inclusive reports issued
by State departments of labor or other State agencies. From time
to time these groups have become interested in the question of the
home responsibilities of woman workers and have collected some fig­
ures on this subject. These studies have been more or less incidental
to the regular work of the various departments, and have been scat­
tered irregularly over a period of 30 years. The material in the differ­
ent State reports is handled in almost as many ways as there are
studies. For this reason any valid comparison is difficult to make,
especially as most of the reports have simply touched in a broad way
on the subject of “dependents” and have not collected the exact
details which would show whether the “dependency” was total or
partial. Some of the reports have been based on questionnaires sent
out by the departments. For others the information was secured
from personal interviews with woman workers. Most of the studies,
in estimating the extent to which women had “dependents,” accepted
the woman’s statement as to the amount of her family obligations and
did not make any detailed examination of the income, expenses, and
make-up of the woman’s family.
Investigations made by miscellaneous organizations.
Other sources of information are the many reports issued by
special organizations which have attempted to throw light on this
question. Although many of these reports are limited in scope, and
few of them were made with the home obligations of woman wage
earners as their chief interest, they nevertheless add much to the
knowledge of this subject. The committee on women’s work and the
division of industrial studies of the Russell Sage Foundation have
conducted during the last 10 years a number of studies which have
considered carefully the conditions of certain groups of working
women. In five of these studies, those of women in the bookbinding
trade, artificial-flower makers, munitions workers, mothers who must
earn, and Italian women in industry, considerable attention is given
to home responsibilities. Although these reports were not primarily
interested in this subject, each one devoted some attention to the dis-




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

5

position that these women were making of their wages, and gave some
concrete examples of women who had to meet home responsibilities
with very low wages. In several instances local branches of the Con­
sumers’ League have made studies of women’s contributions to the
home. These studies usually were brief and included only a com­
paratively small number of women. Sometimes their object was to
form a basis for estimating a budget or a minimum wage and in these
cases it was, of course, inevitable that the subject of contributions to
the home should receive general rather than special attention.
The reports containing information on this subject which have been
produced by other organizations will make a long and interesting list,
both as to date and object of the report. A statement of the num­
ber of their organization supporting dependents, prepared by the
women street car conductors in Cleveland, Ohio, to present to the
War Labor Board in substantiation of their request that they be re­
tained in that employment; a study of the expenditures of women
in certain industries and localities made by the War Labor Board to
aid it in making wage adjustments; state-wide surveys of large
numbers of women made by the women’s committee of the Council of
National Defense in two States; a study of the dependents of col­
lege teachers; an investigation of the savings women had been able
to put away for old age; a statement of the family responsibilities of
the employees in the Library of Congress made by the Librarian of
Congress in his report to the Appropriations Committee of the United
States Congress; the statistics of the Federal income tax which show
the status of women as heads of families—such a list as this gives only
a slight idea of the varied sources from which can be secured some
sort of information relating to women’s economic status in the family.
Finally, there are the earlier reports of the Women’s Bureau of the
United States Department of Labor, which touch on the family responsibilitis of women who were included in the various hour and wage
studies made by this bureau. Almost all of these investigations in­
clude some information of this type, which was secured during the
course of home visits and personal interviews with women wage
earners. The material, however, is by no means comprehensive. In
fact, in only one study—that of women’s wages in Kansas—was it a
special object of the investigation to obtain information on the re­
responsibilities the women had for the support of others.
As has already been stated, the primary object of the investiga­
tions was seldom to secure facts about women’s economic obliga­
tions to their families. Many of the studies just mentioned were
general surveys of conditions of all sorts which affected wage-earning
women.




6

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Only a very small number of investigations definitely were centered
around the subject of the home responsibilities of women, and several
of these were made many years ago and without a clear enough defi­
nition of the subject of study to make the results very significant.
It is obvious, from the foregoing account, that what information
has been compiled on this subject is extremely hetrogenous and scat­
tered, and can be used only with many qualifications of date, method,
and object of investigation. Another drawback to most of the
material just described is that, except for the Federal investigation
of the condition of woman and child wage earners in 1908, 1909, and
IS 10, there is almost no comparable information offered for men
wage earners. The final significance of any of the facts gathered to
show women’s share in the economic life of the family will not be
fully apparent until comparable facts are given for men, and an ex­
amination of available material has shown a lamentable lack of
attention to securing such details.
Unpublished data from schedules collected for investigations of
other subjects.
Besides the material which has already been compiled and pub­
lished, another source of information is found in the schedules of
investigations which have been made for other purposes and have not
considered, in the published report, the subject of the home respon­
sibilities of men and women but have nevertheless secured pertinent
information on this subject and recorded it on the investigation
schedules. Most prominent of these sources of collected but un­
published data is the United States Bureau of the Census. The
schedules collected by the enumerators for the census contain in­
formation of inestimable value on this subject, but limitations of
time and appropriation have prevented the Bureau of the Census
from compiling and publishing the correlations necessary to give
the information desired. The Women’s Bureau has been able,
however, for one locality, to examine and compile the schedules so
as to discover more about the family status of wage-earning women
as shown by the census. The results of this study have been pub­
lished separately, but some pertinent facts are included in the fol­
lowing pages. The cost-of-living investigations made by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor also
include much valuable information as to financial contributions
made to the family by women as well as by men. The reports
compiled from these schedules, however, have been concerned with
the standard and cost of living for a typical family, so that valu­
able details from the standpoint of the subject of women’s responsi­
bilities have not been emphasized. With the cooperation of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics the Women’s Bureau has been able to




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

7

examine and compile additional information from these schedules,
with the result that it has been possible to present a very clear
picture of the economic status in the home of a large group of
men and women. It is likely that there are many other organiza­
tions whose schedules include similar information which has never
been compiled owing to lack of interest or lack of funds, and an
examination of other schedules with this subject in mind would
probably be productive of very significant results.
GENERAL OUTLINE.

Realizing the difficulty of securing the pertinent data from the
many sources which were known to have material on the home
responsibilities of women, and appreciating the immense value of
much of this material, it has been the object of this volume to present
not only the results of the investigations made by the Women’s
Bureau but also to select, assemble, and arrange in useable form the
material which has already been collected by other agencies. With
this object in view the material is presented here in three parts:
First, the Manchester study which gives the most recent and detailed
figures, and which presents not only the home obligations of women
but those of men as well, and considers each as an economic factor in
the family unit. Second, the data secured from the cost of living
schedules of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which show the sources
of family income and the actual and relative economic importance of
sons and daughters in their families. Third, data on the dependents,
contributions, and family relationship of wage-earning women, and
in a few cases of wage-earning men, which have been secured during
the course of investigations of one subject or another by different
organizations over a period of about 30 years. In tins way the find­
ings of the Manchester investigation and the Bureau of Labor Statis­
tics cost-of-living data, both recent investigations for which very
comprehensive information was secured by most careful methods, can
be reinforced by the general evidence which has been collected over
a period of many years, and which—although many details of investi­
gation are often overlooked and much allowance must be made for
difference in date and methods—still present a striking picture of
conditions in many fields of activity during a long period.
THE SUBJECT DEFINED.

With so many different sources of material it is obvious that
before attempting to examine the data it is important to arrive at
some common denominator of terminology so that a satisfactory
basis of deduction can be had. The subject of dependency is a
difficult one to define. Everyone has his own idea of what con387830—23----- 2




8

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARWING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

stitutes a dependent, but these ideas vary so much as to make almost
impossible an exact account of the extent of dependency among any
group. In one of the investigations examined for inclusion in this
report a schedule was found on which a man reported that he had
a “dependent” mother to whom he contributed $5 a week but in
return received his board and lodging free! In such cases the decision
as to extent of dependency is an easy one to make, but there are
many others where it is almost impossible to draw the line. Just
what goes to constitute even a total dependent is not universally
agreed upon, If a girl who works is the sole wage earner for her
mother and herself, and if the mother in return for the money con­
tributed by the girl does the housework and cooking and sewing and
laundry, the question arises whether the mother is really a total
dependent or whether she also is not a considerable contributor to
the family budget. If a girl is one of several wage earners in the
family but contributes each week toward the family expenses, is she
partially supporting the nonwage-earning members of her family or
is she simply paying for value received in the form of board and
lodging? At what point does payment for board and lodging stop
and contribution to the family expenses begin? If a woman is
working to supplement the earnings of her husband so that her
children may have certain comforts or privileges which she feels
they are entitled to, is she contributing to the support of dependents
or—if her husband's wage is sufficient to give them the actual neces­
sities of life—is she merely working for “pin money” which she can
spend on luxuries for her children ?
The confusion which exists on these topics even in the minds of
those most concerned is aptly illustrated by the returns which came in
from a questionnaire which was circulated at one time by the Women’s
Bureau. One girl had stated that she lived at home but did not
pay board. When she was questioned further on this subject it
was discovered that although she said she did not pay board she
had been accustomed for many years to turn over all of her earn­
ings to her mother, getting back what could be spared after the
family expenses had been met.
Several attempts have been made to give exact definitions or
limitations for this subject. The Fabian Women’s Group in Eng­
land made an investigation in which it estimated whether or not a
woman had dependents by dividing the total family wage, including
that of the women under discussion, by the total number in the
family. The figure thus arrived at was then compared with a similar
figure secured after eliminating the woman and her wage from the
calculation. If the spending amount per person was greater with
the woman and her wage included than with them excluded, then
the woman was considered to be contributing to the support of




THE SHARE OP WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

9

dependents.1 Such an interpretation, however, presupposes that
each wage earner in the family is turning into the family exchequer
the entire amount of his or her earnings, a condition which does not
obtain in all families by any means. Mr. Seebohm Eowntree, in
his study, “The responsibility of women workers for dependants,”
which was made to fix a basis for the determination, of minimum
wage rates for women, has considered a person to be dependent or
partially dependent on a worker “if the latter’s wage, whether large
or small, had to be shared between the two, but no equivalent in
service was demanded from the former.” He has not considered
a woman to be contributing to the support of others if she con­
tributed to her family a sum not in excess of what she would have
to pay for board and lodging with strangers. On the other hand,
he has not regarded a girl as having dependents, “even if she pays
more than the market price of her board and lodging,” if the income
of the chief wage earner is sufficiently high to render such action on
her part unnecessary.1 2It is obvious that such definitions as these
3
to be accurately applied would involve a most complicated study
of the cost and standard of living in the family of each woman
investigated, methods which—however desirable—few investiga­
tions have been able to undertake. In studies made in this country
the definitions of the subject have not been so carefully considered.
Frequently report is made of dependents with no definition of the
limitations of this term. Sometimes it was even left to the women
who were investigated themselves to supply what interpretation
they would in answering the questions regarding dependents.
The many aspects of dependency, which have appeared after an
examination of the various reports containing information on this
subject, indicate that limiting consideration to dependents under
whatever interpretation is given to that term does not allow for the
most important phase of the relation between the woman wage earner
and the home. The contribution of her earnings in whole or in part
can not usually be allocated to an actual dependent or partial de­
pendent. Nor can the size of her contribution be measured against
the cost of living for an individual, for standards of living vary, and
many persons are found supporting total dependents out of a wage
which is admittedly inadequate for one person. But the part which
the woman wage earner plays as one of the economic factors in the
family and as one of the guarantors of the family budget is definite
and important and must be measured not only in relation to the
earnings of the woman herself and to the income of her family, but
1 Smith, Ellen. Wage-earning women and their dependants. The Fabian Society, London, England.
1915. p. 16.
2 Rowntree, B. Seebohm, and Stuart, Frank D. The responsibility of women workers for depend­
ants. Oxford. At the Clarendon Press. 1921. pp. 8 and 9.




10

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

in comparison with the responsibility undertaken by other members
of the family. For this reason it seems that the most valuable
figures showing woman’s economic relationship to her family, will be
those which give—without imposing an individual interpretation of
what constitutes a total or partial dependent—a definite account
of the amount contributed in relationship to both the wage of the
contributor and the income of the family.
SUMMARY OF THE VARIOUS SECTIONS OF THE REPORT.

The type of women studied.
To give any valid picture of so universal a problem as the share
taken by women in the economic support of the home, it is necessary
to survey a very broad field. The figures given in the following
pages pertain to women in many different lines of work and with
many different home conditions. One common factor is, however,
that they are all wage-earning women and as such present a certain
homogeneity to the student of social conditions.
The sources of their wages varied considerably. In the Man­
chester study—the one for which the most recent and detailed figures
are presented—the women and men were practically all working in
the shoe industry. In the Bureau of Labor Statistics cost-of-living
study the women and men surveyed were employed in almost every
known occupation, the only restriction in this regard in collecting
the material having been that the families studied should be those of
wage earners or salaried workers, but not of persons in business for
themselves. In the miscellaneous reports which are assembled in
Part III of this volume the women studied were engaged in a great
variety of occupations, ranging all the way from those of college
teachers and librarians to those of girls under 16 employed in industry.
The majority of them, however, were unselected groups working in
representative woman-employing industries in States or smaller
localities. Some of the special industrial studies were of women in
stores and laundries and in factories manufacturing corsets, candy,
shoes, preserves, munitions, artificial flowers, textiles, men’s ready­
made clothing, silk, and glass. It is obvious, therefore, that the
figures given can be considered to illustrate the problems of the
women engaged in those industries which employ women to a con­
siderable extent.
All ages are represented among the women for whom figures are
given. In the Manchester study the women were comparatively
young, more than one-half of them being less than 25 years old; in
material compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics cost-of-living
study the ages of the women are not given but it is probable that
they, too, were comparatively young, as the families investigated




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

11

were those in which there was a father at work, a mother, and at
least one child who was not a boarder or lodger. The other investiga­
tions assembled in this report included women of all ages, with the
emphasis probably on the younger ones.
The proportion of single women was large in some of the investi­
gations, but because the material was often correlated so as to make
the figures on this subject of little value and because many of the
investigations included women of only one type, the general figures
can not be considered to be applicable. In Manchester 70 per cent
of the women were single; in the cost-of-living schedules the em­
phasis is laid on the family as a unit, so there were naturally many
more daughters, presumably unmarried, than there were wives and
mothers. The miscellaneous reports included in Part III give no
basis for stating any proportion of single or married women.
In respect to living conditions it seems fairly certain that a large
majority of the women included in practically all the investigations
lived at home. In fact, in both Manchester and the miscellaneous
studies the returns indicated that approximately four-fifths of all the
women investigated lived at home.
Woman’s share in the economic support of the family.
The interrelation of wages and the economic status of the family
for this group of women for whom data have been compiled and
assembled is shown in various ways. The girl who does not con­
tribute to her family regularly but instead provides, whenever they
are needed, some essential articles, such as shoes and clothes for her
younger brothers and sisters, or who pays the gas and coal bills; the
woman who gives a stated amount regularly as her contribution to
the family budget; the girl who turns over her entire wage to her
mother or father and gets back for her own expenses what can be
spared after the family needs are met; the woman who is the head
of her household and with her earnings supports one or more persons
besides herself; the woman who does not live at home but contributes
regularly to help support her parents or other relatives; the girl who
“helps out” her married sister by clothing nieces or nephews or
paying rent—all these are typical cases which occur more or less
frequently among all groups of women wage earners.
The human side of their story is a very appealing and graphic one.
Indeed, it is so appealing and graphic that the tendency in many
reports has been, in studying these stories, to emphasize this side to
the exclusion of a more scientific consideration of the economic
problems involved.
But the economic as well as the human significance of these con­
ditions must be recognized and it is important to assemble and
correlate the data so that they can give an unprejudiced outline of



12

THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

the subject. Of course, much of the information secured is so
detailed and must be discussed with so many qualifications that it is
not possible to generalize from it or to present it in summary form.
However, the outstanding figures and their correlations can be brought
out so as to present at least an outline of the conditions which are '
illustrated in detail in the further pages of this report.
Contributions to the home in relation to size of earnings and family
income.
Contributing all earnings to the family fund is a very general
practice among wage-earning women. Of course, such a contribution
may mean much or may mean little to the family, depending upon the
size of the earnings and the size of the family income, but the extent
of this practice is of great significance to the wage-earning women
themselves. No matter how small or how large the earnings, con­
tributing all to the family means a cession of economic independence,
and this seems to be a condition with which many wage-earning
women are faced. More than one-half of the women for whom this
matter was considered in the miscellaneous studies in Part III
reported that they contributed all their earnings to their families.
Further evidence is supplied by the figure in the Manchester study,
which show that of the women in that investigation who were living
at home, 67.9 per cent contributed all their earnings.
A more detailed examination of the figures on contributions and
family relationship has shown that they must be considered separately
for three groups—married wbmen, single women living at home, and
single women not living at home. It is clear that the economic
responsibilities for these three groups would present very different
problems, and wherever it has been possible the data have been
separated for the three types.
Married women.—Of all the women interviewed in the Manchester
study who were married with husbands at work, practically every
one contributed all her earnings to her family. This contribution
was made irrespective of the amount of earnings or of the size of
the family income. The figures in the miscellaneous studies show­
ing the contributions of married women do not give the information
in relation to earnings so that it can be summarized.
In their economic relationship to the family the married women
played on the whole a minor part. In Manchester only 15.4 per
cent of the women interviewed were wives and mothers, but in those
families which had wage-earning wives the incomes were small, 85 per
cent of the husbands earning less than $1,500 during the year.
Among all of the families studied in Manchester a proportionate
share of the family income was earned by only 19.7 per cent of the
wives and mothers who were wage earners. Nevertheless, in the




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

13

Manchester families where married women were employed it was
found that the earnings of the married women although they were
small were by no means of inconsiderable value to the family. In
the majority of the families where married women were wage earners
there were one or more dependents to be supported.
In the discussion of the sources of family earnings (Part II) much
the same situation in regard to the share played by married women
in family support is found to exist as appeared in the Manchester
families. Only 11.2 per cent of the families studied had an income
from the wives’ earnings. When the amount of their contribution
is studied in relation to the family income it is found that in 87 per
cent of the cases the wife earned and contributed less than 20 per
cent of the family income.
In the miscellaneous studies the figures on married women show
that in some localities very large proportions of women who are
working are married. In Passaic, N. J., nearly one-half of the women
breadwinners who were investigated were married, and about 90 per
cent of these women had husbands who were employed. Another
investigation shows that in a large group of families from 13 to 21 per
cent had mothers at work, and that these mothers earned and con­
tributed from one-fourtli to one-third of the family income. A
study of working mothers showed that in families having both mother
and father at work nearly a third of the family income came from
the mothers, while in families with mother, father, and children at
work slightly less than one-sixth of the income came from the mothers.
Many married women, in various reports, stated that they had
“dependents” although this phrase was not so defined as to make it
possible to understand its full import. Of one group, 68.7 per cent
stated that they were supporting dependents although they did not
say whether the dependency was total or partial; of another group
30.6 per cent reported that they were entirely responsible, and 62 per
cent that they were partially responsible, for the support of others.
In examining the status of married women who are wage earners it
is important to bear in mind one major qualification of all figures
relating to them. This is that the work of married women as wage
earners is usually subsidiary to their work in the home and that for
the most part these women, even though they may be making only
a small financial contribution, are economically important factors
when this financial contribution is added to the value of their activi­
ties in doing housework and keeping up the home.
Single women.—Single women form a large majority of woman wage
earners, and the figures relating to their contributions to the family
have a broad significance. The Manchester study showed that the
contributions of single women were important in relation both to the
size of their earnings and to the family income. Of the women in


14

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUFPORT.

eluded in the Manchester investigation 67.8 per cent were daughters
living with their parents, and from this group the findings on the
contributions made to the family are significant. All of their earn­
ings were contributed to their families by 59.9 per cent of these
daughters, and about 30 per cent of them had contributed all earn­
ings for more than 5 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cost-ofliving study showed that in 90.5 per cent of the families having
daughters 16 years old or more these daughters were contributing
all their earnings to their families.
The single woman’s economic relationship to her family is more
clearly outlined in the data available than is the actual contribution
in relation to her wage. In Manchester 77.8 per cent of the daughters
contributed less than 30 per cent of the family budget, and 22.2 per
cent contributed 30 per cent or more. The cost-of-living study
showed thatrin 67.8 per cent of the families the daughters were con­
tributing less than 30 per cent of the family income. In the miscel­
laneous studies it was found that in one large investigation from 26.7
to 39.7 per cent of the family income in families with daughters at
work was derived from the daughters. In another investigation it
was found that the families of 40.0 per cent of the women were de­
pendent on their contributions for at least one-fourth of the family
income, and that for only 14.9 per cent of the women was there no
definite need of their contributions.
The extent to which the family was dependent upon the earnings
of single women was also shown in a few studies by figures which gave
the number of wage earners in the families of single wage-earning
women. In one investigation, of the women living with their parents
(64.3 per cent of all the women investigated) 3 per cent were the sole
breadwinners in their families, 24.9 per cent were one of two, and
72.1 per cent were one of three breadwinners. In another investi­
gation, one-third of all the single women living at home were the only
members of their families who were working. In a third investiga­
tion where the majority of women included were known to be single,
it appeared that 46.4 per cent of these women were the chief bread­
winners in their families.
Single women not living at home.—Although the most conspicuous
problems of wage-earning women center around those who live at
home and are thus an integral part of the family unit, there is a fairly
large group of women who do not live at home, but who still bear
some of the burdens of family support. These women do not appear
to any extent in the Manchester or Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys,
but the miscellaneous reports give some scattered information about
them. One investigation showed that of women who lived inde­
pendently slightly more than one-fifth contributed some of their




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

15

earnings to needy relatives, and that the average contribution made
by them amounted to 29.1 per cent of their average weekly earnings.
Another investigation showed that almost one-fifth of the women
who were living independently were helping relatives.
Type of dependents for whom women are responsible.
The definition of what constitutes a dependent is so seldom given,
even in studies which treat extensively of this subject, that it is im­
possible to estimate the extent to which women are actually sup­
porting others, but the returns in many studies have shown at least
that a certain proportion of the women had a definite feeling that they
were responsible to some extent for providing financially for others.
It is possible to secure from the data on this subject indications of
the type of person who most often looks to women for support.
In a rather extensive questionnaire on this subject circulated by
the Women’s Bureau in cooperation with State departments of labor
it was found that the persons for whose support married women felt
themselves responsible were practically all children, while the single
women showed a preponderance of mothers for whose support they
felt an obligation. The single women also reported a number of
nieces and nephews as dependents, but on the whole their problem
seems to be more closely related to the support of older people.
These figures are borne out by the findings in other investigations
which examined the type of dependents and found that in one group
which included 88.9 per cent of single women, 76 per cent of the de­
pendents were fathers or mothers and 20 per cent were brothers and
sisters. In another group, of which only 36.8 per cent were single
women, 64.6 per cent of the dependents were adults. In a third
group, of the single women who reported on the type of dependents,
83.5 per cent were helping to support their parents, and of the widows,
57.2 per cent were supporting children.
Men and women compared in relation to their share in the economic
support of the family.
Significant and important as the figures may seem, which show the
share taken by women in the economic support of the family, in the
final analysis little can definitely be deduced from these figures unless
there are some comparable facts for men. Unfortunately, the evi­
dence which has been collected for men is far scantier even than that
which is shown for women, and any deductions as to the relative posi­
tions of the two sexes will have to be made—if they can be made at
all—from a scanty array of facts. In the Manchester investigation,
however, all information was secured for men as well as for women,
and for this group of wage earners definitely comparable material is
available.




36

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Iii considering the comparative data for men and women it ia
necessary to go far back of the actual material on which interest ia
focused, for the status of men and women is so different, and different
in such, fundamental particulars, that these differences must be clearly
outlined and constantly considered if there is to be a real under­
standing of many of the conditions with which men and women are
faced.- Differences in age, in relationship to family, and, above all,
differences in earning capacity will surely have a most far-reaching
effect on the comparative economic status of men and women, or
indeed of any two groups even of the same sex. In no situation will
differences in these particulars have a more penetrative influence
than in the relationship of wage earners to their families.
It is unfortunate that comparable material for men and women is
not available all along the line of the investigations assembled in this
report. What information there is, however, leaves little doubt that
in comparing men and women definite allowance should be made for
several important factors.
In regard to age the men for whom comparative data are given in
the Manchester study were somewhat older than the women. About
two-fifths of the men but nearly three-fifths of the women were less
than 25 years old, while slightly more than one-fifth of the men and
one-tenth of the women were 40 years old or over. This is not a very
great difference, it is true, but what difference there is indicates that
the men would have greater home obligations than the women.
A consideration of the marital conditions of the two sexes shows
somewhat the same situation. Of the men in the Manchester study,
44.1 per cent were single and 53.4 per cent married, while of the
women 70.2 per cent were single and 23.1 per cent married. This is
a normal situation, the proportions corresponding very closely to
the similar proportions for all men and for women wage earners, and
it indicates that in their family relationship, although the situation
is very different for the two sexes, the men and women studied were
representative of far larger groups.
When the actual living conditions of the men and women are
considered, even greater differences appear. About the same number
of men were sons living with their parents as were husbands and
fathers living with wife and children, not far from two-fifths of them
being in each group. The women showed a very much larger pro­
portion—67.8 per cent—of daughters living with their parents, while
the proportion who were wives and mothers living with husbands
and children was very much smaller, only 15.4 per cent.
The average size of the families of the men and women was not
very different, being slightly larger for the women (5.64 persons) than
for the men (5.15 persons). In the average family of each group of
men, however, there was a greater number of persons to each wage




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

17

earner than among the families of similar groups of women. In
other words, there were apt to be more wage earners in proportion
to the size of the family for the women than for the men.
From these general statements it is readily seen that in their social
relationship to their families man and woman wage earners—at least
the men and women in this study, which is representative of many
other similar groups—have not the same status. The men are older,
more of them are married and living as heads of their families, and
there are fewer wage earners in their families. All of these differences
must bo kept in mind, for it is obvious that they should have no
small effect on the share taken by men in the economic support of
the family.
There is, however, one qualifying factor more fundamental in its
effect than any which has already been detailed. This is the size of
the earnings of men compared with those of women. The industrial
status of men is far more definitely assured than that of women and
an examination of the details of this status leaves little doubt that
it is the result of a psychological attitude toward the value of men
almost as much as it is a response to their actual economic value to
industry.
The earnings of the men and women in the present studies were
not comparable in any way. Selected groups of men and women
which were comparable in other respects showed such a great dis­
parity in earnings as to almost invalidate any deductions which might
have been drawn on a basis of other similarities. Of the men 44.9
per cent earned $25 or more a week, of the women only 1.6 per cent
earned $25 or more. Only about one-fourth (26.1 per cent) of the
women who were daughters received $17.50 or more, while of the
men who were sons nearly two-thirds had such earnings. Of the
fathers, 60.8 per cent received $25 or more, while only 1.8 per cent
of the mothers received as much as $25 a week. Year’s earnings
showed the same conditions, with only 11 per cent of the women
but 61.6 per cent of the men receiving $1,000 or more during the
year. This great discrepancy in earnings was not due to more
irregularity at work on the part of women than on the part of men,
for very much the same differences were found for men and women
who had worked the year through. The women lost considerably
more time than the men did, but the reasons for losing time were
practically the same for both sexes. The women stuck to the same
jobs throughout the year investigated just as generally as the men
did, but on the whole the women had had considerably less experi­
ence than the men in the trade and occupation. Nevertheless, it was
not this greater experience which had brought about the higher
wages for men, for comparing groups of men and women with similar
experiences the same discrepancy in earnings was found to exist, a



18

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

discrepancy which is even more striking when it is known that the
two sexes had been working continuously for almost equal periods.
The difference in earnings, therefore, seems to bo one for which
allowance must be made for every type of man and woman. Whether
they are old or young, experienced or inexperienced, steady or inter­
mittent workers, the women earn less than the men. Only when the
selection is made on a basis of the wage itself can groups of men and
women be secured which are comparable in this respect, and then
there will be little similarity in the other characteristics of the two
sexes.
Contributions to the family.
Because of the fundamental differences which have been found to
exist for wage-earning men and women in their family relationship
and in their economic status in industry, it is important to consider
their economic relationship to their families in the light of these
differences. It would be obviously unfair to compare the contri­
butions to the home of all wage-earning men, the majority of whom
are married, with those of all wage-earning women, the majority of
whom are single; and it would be equally misleading to discuss
together the proportion of earnings contributed by men with high
earnings and those of women with low earnings. In considering
these questions the subject resolves itself into a few simple divisions.
In most families there were man and woman wage earners who were
jointly responsible for the economic support of the family. How
this responsibility was shared by the two sexes, taking into account
the resources of each sex and the obligation resulting from their
social relationship to the family as well, is the object of this study.
On the whole, the men contributed more than the women. A
larger proportion of men than of women contributed all their earnings,
and a larger proportion of men than of women contributed more
than $10 a week. However, when the two factors which mainly
qualify contributions are considered, earnings and family relation­
ship, the findings are quite different. Although the men contributed
much larger amounts, in relation to the size of their earnings the con­
tributions of the two sexes were of practically the same proportion.
In every group of men and women earning from $13 to $20 a week,
there was a larger proportion of women than of men who contributed
all earnings. On the other hand, in the group with the highest
earnings ($25 and over) a very much larger proportion of men con­
tributed all earnings, but there were practically no women in this
group, and the great majority of the men were husbands and fathers
who contributed all they made to the support of their families.
In two groups of men and women who were alike in the size of their
earnings and in their family relationship, the women contributed all




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

19

their earnings to a greater extent than did the men. This shows that
although the relationship to the family was an important qualifica­
tion, in the last analysis the sex of the contributor seemed to have the
most important effect on the contribution, and, when all other
factors were allowed for, and comparable groups of men and women
were contrasted, the women were the more extensive contributors.
In general, contributions became more extensive as the contributors
of both sexes became older. In every age group, however, more
daughters than sons contributed all earnings. At the younger ages
(less than 25) there was a greater proportion of women than of men
who contributed all earnings, while between the ages of 25 and 30
there was a greater proportion of men, and above 30 very similar
proportions of both sexes who contributed all earnings.
Also, contributing all earnings seems to be a more permanent
condition among women than among men, a larger percentage of
women than of men having contributed all earnings for the entire
time they had been at work.
Comparing single men and single women, the women contributed
more extensively, both actually and relatively. Comparing married
men and women, relatively to their earnings, the two sexes contributed
the same proportion—practically all. Actually, however, the mar­
ried men contributed larger amounts than did the married women.
One of the most interesting facts brought out by a detailed study
of 56 families in Manchester was that the per capita family earnings—■
in other words, the financial status of the family as a whole—seemed
to have a very definite effect upon the proportion of individual earn­
ings which was contributed to the family expenses. In families
with a yearly income of less than $500 for each person, the wage
earners quite generally contributed all their earnings to the family
budget. With yearly incomes above $500 per person, contributions
of all earnings were not so general. This difference applied only to
the sons and daughters, as the husbands and fathers, wives and
mothers, practically all contributed all their earnings irrespective of
the size of the family income. In families whose per capita income
was less than $500, nearly one-half of the sons and not far from threefourths of the daughters contributed all their earnings, while in those
with incomes of more than $500 per member slightly more than onethird of the sons and one-half of the daughters contributed all
earnings.
One other investigation, that of the condition of woman and child
wage earners in the United States, has yielded comparative material
for the relation between individual contributions and earnings of
men and women. The figures in this study show that in each of the
four industries investigated the contributions of the women were a
larger proportion of their earnings than was the case with the men.



20

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Moreover the contributions of the women very nearly equaled their
earnings, in only one industry falling below 90 per cent and in the
silk industry averaging 96 per cent of their earnings. The men’s
contributions were approximately four-fifths of their earnings, in
only one case exceeding that proportion.
But besides the importance to the individual of the proportion and
amount of earnings which he or she contributed to the family, there
is a still larger significance in the share such contributions form of the
family budget.
For the families included in the Manchester study it appears that
as potential contributors, rated solely on actual earnings, the hus­
bands and fathers rank first, then come the sons, then the daughters,
and last the wives and mothers. Rated on the proportion of the
family earnings contributed to the family, however, the sons and
daughters change places; for although a larger proportion of sons
than of daughters earned 30 per cent or more of the family earnings,
a larger proportion of daughters than of sons contributed more than
30 per cent of the family earnings.
In this study the married man and the married woman do not
appear on an equal plane in respect to their absolute economic
value to the family; but in respect to the effort which they are putting
forth for their families, as measured by the proportion of their
earnings which is given to the family, they stand together in the
knowledge that each is doing all that he or she possibly can—con­
tributing all earnings. In the family unit the significance of the
sons and daughters—the single men and women—-is not so simply
stated. They both earned and contributed a good proportion of
the family earnings, and in spite of the women’s much lower earnings
their contributions were very nearly alike.
In several other investigations there has been some additional
evidence brought out to show the relationship of the earnings of men
and women to the family budget, and it is important to note the
resemblance between the findings of these investigations and those
of the Manchester study just quoted. In the Bureau of Labor
Statistics cost-of-living survey it was found that the fathers assumed
the most important position as contributors, but, in spite of the fact
that the families studied were selected to represent those in which
the father was the chief wage earner, in almost one-third of the
families the father made less than 60 per cent of the family earnings.
The mother played a minor part as a wage earner, for in only about
one-tenth of the families was the mother a wage earner, and 87 per
cent of these mothers earned less than 20 per cent of the family
earnings. The sons and daughters were on a more equal plane, for
in practically the same proportion of families—a very small propor­
tion in each case—half or more of the family earnings were derived




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

21

from the wage-earning sons and from the wage-earning daughters.
Less than 30 per cent of the family earnings was derived from the
sons in 59.3 per cent of the families having wage-earning sons, and
from the daughters in 67.8 per cent of the families having wage­
earning daughters, a difference which seems very much less than
might have been expected in view of the difference in the wage rates
which prevail for men and women. In the investigation of woman
and child wage earners the families studied were selected primarily
because they were families in which there were women or children
gainfully employed, so the findings can not be applied generally.
They are representative, however, of the families of wage-earning
women. In these families it was found that practically all the fathers
and all the sons and daughters over 16, but a very small proportion
of mothers, were working and contributing to the support of the
family. Generally speaking, not far from one-third of the family
income was derived from the earnings of the children, male and
female. In a study of Italian women workers it was found that 87.2
per cent of the fathers, 85.6 per cent of the other male, and 91.3 per
cent of the other female members of the family who were over 14
were contributing to the family support. This study also showed
that 54.2 per cent of the mothers were contributing to the family
support, a very much larger proportion than that shown in any other
investigation.
CONCLUSION.

These statements give the barest outline of the many details which
are included in the following pages. Because of methods of presenta­
tion or collection much of the material eludes any attempt to include
it in a summary. But fragmentary and inconclusive as they are,
the data identify here and there certain essential truths and qualifi­
cations which must be accepted or allowed for if the entire part
played by women in the economic support of the home is to be
understood.
There is little need to outline the duties and contributions to the
family of women within the home. They should need no brief for
this, their most familiar r61e. But women as providers for the home,
as factors in industry whose earnings, hours, and working conditions
have a broad social significance, are still to be recognized. The
material in this report will add something to the fund of general
information on this subject. The omissions, the subjects which
have been too briefly or inadequately touched upon, will be a guide
for further studies.
Although their findings can not be considered to be final, in all
of these reports one conclusion is inescapable. It is that in general
women are wage earners not only for their own entire support but to




22

I'HE SHAKE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPOKT.

meet a very definite responsibility as sharers in the support of others
or the maintenance of higher standards of living in their families.
The burden of responsibility assumed by women is very different
from that of men. It is older people who look to women for assistance
and support, and usually there is no alternative for the wage-earning
woman who falls heir to responsibilities not of her own choosing.
On the other hand, the man is usually responsible for a young and
rising generation, whose support he has undertaken deliberately
and whose burden becomes lighter as the years advance. These
differences are natural and unavoidable, but they emphasize the
necessity for a clearer understanding and a more equitable valuation
of the wage-earning woman as an economic factor in the family.




PART I
THE FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEN AND WOMEN
WAGE EARNERS IN MANCHESTER, N. H.

38783°—23---- 3




23

r




PART I.
THE FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEN AND WOMEN WAGE
EARNERS IN MANCHESTER, N. H.
SECTION I. INTRODUCTION, SCOPE AND METHOD, AND SUMMARY.

Introduction.
Through the course of many years intermittent efforts have been
made to find out whether women who work in industry and elsewhere
are doing so not for the purely personal benefit or pleasure which
might come from a wage-earning activity, but because of the more
fundamental necessity of meeting obligations for the support of others
as well as of themselves. These studies, many of which are sum­
marized in later pages of this volume, have been more or less success­
ful, in that they have given a very definite picture of different groups
of wage-earning women and the obligations and responsibilities which
they have assumed. It has been the burden of this type of report that
women are essential factors in the economic life of the family. But
the material presented has not been final, for only the woman’s side
was shown and no comparative material was offered to show to what
extent women differed from men in this respect.
The majority of women in industry are single, and it is this fact
which has in part caused some distinctions between men and women
in industry. For the majority of working men are married, and the
simplest use of the phrase “married man” or “married woman”
connotes a certain degree of responsibility for others. In the same
way the phrase “single man” or “single woman” carries with it a
suggestion of aloofness and separation from the interests of others.
Thus, the accepted attitude toward the two sexes in industry, based
upon the marital condition of the predominating group in each sex,
is that men are married and women single, with all that the two terms
suggest. The injustice of such a classification is patent to all who
have studied the details of the importance of men and women as
factors in family maintenance. For although the status of men who
are wage earners is based on the status of the married man, about
35 per cent of all men are single according to the census of 1920,3
and it does not seem likely that the status of men wage earners is
different in this regard from that of all men. And by no means all
women wage earners are single, in fact, according to the same census,
24.7 per cent of women who are gainfully employed, are married.
8 U. S. Bureau of the Census, 14th Census, 1920, Vol. II, Chap . IV.




25

26

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

In this connection it is also significant to note that the proportion of
gainfully employed women who are married has shown a tendency to
increase during recert decades. In 1890 the per cent was 13.9, in
1900 the per cent of gainfully employed women who were married
was 15.4, and in 1910 the per cent was 24.7.4 Moreove , there is no
justification for the assumption that while all single men can be rated
.as potential heads of families and therefore should be classed with
the married men, the singleness of women is so permanent a condi­
tion and one which makes women so aloof from the cares and respon­
sibilities of family life, that what married women there are in industry
can be overlooked and the whole sex rated as socially unimportant
factors in industry, at least so far as their economic relationship to
the family unit is concerned.
It is quite conceivable that conditions might exist where such in­
terpretations would be accurate. It is also quite conceivable that
definitely comparable material might show that there was no justifi­
cation for considering single men to be on the same plane as married
men, while at the same time there might be ample reason for accord­
ing to single women recognition that as component parts in the eco­
nomic life of the family they are equal in importance to the married.
The problems of home responsibility and the amount of contribution
to the family support may be found to be so nearly equal among
single men and women as to render unjust the present attitude clas­
sifying the woman in industry as an isolated individual, while the
man is recognized to be part of a social unit, with all of the importance
and value to the community which such relationship implies.
It was to provide comparative material for men and women which
might throw light on these matters that the Woman’s Bureau under­
took to make this study of the home responsibilities and contribu­
tions to the home of a group of men and women in industry.
Scope and method of investigation.
At the request of the commissioner of labor of New Hampshire, that
State was chosen for the survey. Manchester was the town selected,
because it contained respresentative industries employing in consid­
erable numbers both men and women. As the purpose of the study
was to discover the extent of home responsibilities for a representa­
tive but unselected group of men and women, it was decided to in­
clude the entire number of workers in each plant visited. It was felt
that by using this method it would be possible to present a fairly
accurate and detailed cross section of a group of industrial workers.
The textile industry in Manchester employs the greatest number
of men and women, and would have been included in the study but
4 U. S. Bureau of the Census, 14th Census 1920 abstract.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

27

for the fact that it was not possible to get the necessary detailed
material from the establishments in this industry. Shoe manufac­
turing ranks second in importance, and the splendid cooperation of
the managements of the leading establishments in this industry made
it possible to conduct the study in their factories.
In making the investigation the method followed was to interview
all men and women in each plant, seeming from them information
as to their industrial history and present condition, i. e., present
wage and occupation, age beginning work, time in the trade and in
present occupation, number of weeks not at work during the past
year, reasons for not working, days worked during the past week,
usual daily and weekly hours. In regard to family relationship,
questions were asked on such subjects as whether they were living
at home or boarding and the relationship to them of. other members
of the family, who were the other wage earners and how many
nonwage-earners there were, the ages and occupations of all mem­
bers of the household, the amount contributed to the family, and
the length of time during which contributions had been made.
When this information had been secured for all of the men and
women employed in a plant, the pay rolls were studied and the
weekly earnings of each person for as many weeks as he or she had
been with the firm during the year April, 1919, to April, 1920, were
recorded with the rest of the information secured about him. If a
person had worked in more than one establishment during the year,
information about his earnings and the cause of idleness during any
weeks for which no earnings were recorded was secured from the
other places of employment. When the data for the person inter­
viewed were complete, the next step was to get similar information
for the other wage earners in the family. This involved visiting many
other establishments, and copying records from their pay rolls. No
effort was made to interview all the wage earners in the family,
but only to secure information regarding their earnings. Many
home visits were made to get additional information necessary to
locate places of employment and reasons for periods of unemploy­
ment. (For schedules and instructions to investigators see Ap­
pendix, pages 101-104.)
Too much credit can hardly be given to the manufacturers whose
cooperation made it possible to get this information. They per­
mitted the investigators of the Women’s Bureau to interview their
employees during work hours, and gave much assistance in securing
the information from the pay rolls. Without their help the mate­
rial could never have been assembled in the complete form in which
it is now possible to present it. In this connection it is interesting
to know that in one department where output records were made




28

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARWING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

during the period in which the workers were being interviewed for
this study, it was found that there had been no diminution in output
in spite of the necessary interruption caused by the interviews.
The investigation was made during the months of March, April,
May, and June, 1920, and the weekly earnings were recorded for
the 52 weeks beginning in April, 1919. Table 1 shows the number
of persons included and the type of information secured from them.
Table 1.—Number

of wage earners included in investigation in Manchester, N. H., by
age, sex, and type of information secured.

Men.

Worn-

Children
under 16.
Boys.

Persons interviewed.........................................................................
Persons not interviewed but for whom wage records were
Total........................................................................................

Girls,

All
persons.

884

585

8

6

428

302

8

2

740

1,312

885

16

8

2,221

1,481

As already stated, all of the persons interviewed were employed in
shoe manufacturing at the time of the interview. The other members
of their families, however, were employed in various industries, so
the wage figures in this study apply in some cases to more than one
industry. It is interesting to note that aside from those persons
who were interviewed and who form the nucleus of this study a large
proportion of the wage earners in these families were employed in
the shoe industry. In fact, from both men and women who were
included in the group of “other wage earners” in the families of
those interviewed, the shoe industry claimed the largest representa­
tion, for 151 men and 135 women in the “other wage earners,” group
were employed in the manufacture of shoes. These figures give
some slight evidence of the tendency for several wage earners in one
family to restrict their activities to the same industry. This is
particularly noticeable in Manchester, as the tremendous textile
mills there employ an usually large proportion of the wage earners
in the town, but are only second in importance among the wage
earners in the families of the boot and shoe workers investigated.
This tendency toward concentration in one industry of the activities
of several wage earners in a family is natural but might be far from
desirable during periods of depression in the one industry from which
the entire family earnings are derived. In view of this concentration
of employment and the known irregularity of the shoe industry,
fluctuations in family earnings may be expected to be even more
acute than in a more regular industry or in a locality where there is
more variety of employment.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table 2.—Industries

29

in which the Manchester, N. IT., wape earners interviewed were
employed.
Industry.

Men.

Shoe manufacturing....................................................
Textile manufacturing...........................................................
Other manufacturing.........................................
General mercantile......................................................
Miscellaneous.............................................................
Not working...........................................................

Women.

927
140
136
23
8 72
6

697
127
223

Total.............................................................................

4 864

1 Box manufacturing 11, cigar manufacturing 12, needle manufacturing 2, foundry 3, and not reported 8.
3 Box manufacturing 5, cigar manufacturing 5 needle manufacturing 10, and not reported 3.
3 Public utilities 29, city employment 16, building trades 6, and other miscellaneous 21.
4108 Greek men, 21 Greek women, and 24 children under 16 are omitted from this table.

The employees in live separate shoe establishments were included
in this investigation. Not all of the establishments were under
separate management, but as each represented a complete factory
unit they have been considered as separate plants. There was con­
siderable difficulty experienced in the second establishment visited
in securing adequate information from the employees of the lasting
department, most of whom were Greeks who spoke no English.
Because accurate information was so difficult to secure from them, it
was decided to omit the employees of the lasting departments in the
other establishments visited. With this exception practically every
employee was interviewed, excluding foremen, managers, and office
and clerical workers. Their distribution through the several plants
was as follows:
Table 3.—Number

of persons interviewed in each plant.

Men.
Plant number.

Total.

I.................................
II............................
Ill..............................
IV..............................

Children.

All
Total. Greeks. others. Total. Greeks. All
others. Total.

Boys.

Girls.

548
169
253
251
260

308
112
169
160
135

27
8
35
24
14

281
104
134
136
121

235
54
84
91
119

12

223
54
80
87
118

5
3

2

3

4
4
1

6

3

3

1,481

884

108

776

583

21

562

14

8

6

v...................
Total...............

Women.

With the exceptions already noted, the group studied represented a
number of complete units of industrial workers, including both skilled
and unskilled, pieceworkers and time workers, old and young, married
and single, men and women.
The material thus collected is presented here in two parts, the first
giving in detail the findings for the large group of individuals for whom
complete information was secured, and the second discussing the
question of dependency and home contributions from the angle of the




30

THE SHARE 03? WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

family unit, and basing the discussion upon a more limited number
of families (541) for whom complete information was secured.
Thus, the first section presents from the individual’s standpoint the
relative amount of responsibility shouldered by men and women;
while the second section presents, from the standpoint of the family
unit, the relative importance of the economic contributions of men
and women.
Summary.
Considering first the individuals, the figures given in the following
pages present a very definite outline of the make-up of the group and
of the varying degree of responsibility assumed by its members.
From these figures it appears that in the group for whom information
was secured there was a slightly smaller proportion of American born
than is given by the census for all persons gainfully employed, but on
the whole the difference is not great enough to color the results of the
study. In respect to age this group contains proportionately more
young people than does the entire group of those gainfully employed
in this country.
In spite of their greater youth the proportions of single, married,
and widowed, separated, or divorced, were very similar to the pro­
portions among industrial workers throughout the country, showing
that in their family relationships and the resulting burden of respon­
sibility they may be considered to be quite typical.
Although the group as a whole represents to a certain degree all
industrial workers, yet it is composed of two dissimilar parts—men
and women. It is with the differences between these two groups—*
their age, conjugal condition, earning power, assumption of respon­
sibility for others, and contributions to their families—that this report
is most concerned. The women were much younger than the men.
Most of the women were single, while most of the men were married.
The families of which the men and women were a part were about the
same size, but in the women’s families there were more wage earners.
The women earned so much less than the men, both by the week and
by the year, that their wages are hardly comparable. Nearly ninetenths of the women earned less than $1,000, while slightly over sixtenths of the men earned $1,000 or more during the year.
More women than men lost time from work during the year, but the
reasons for losing time were practically the same as for the men, and
fewer women than men changed jobs during the year. The women
had had less experience in their trade and occupation than had the
men, but this was not the reason for their lower earnings. Comparing
a group of men and women who had had the same amount of experi­
ence it is found that their wages differ as greatly as when those of all
of the men and women are compared.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

31

In brief, the group for which has been gathered the following facts
on contribution to the home and family responsibilities can be de­
scribed as follows: The women, younger, less experienced, and far less
well paid than the men; many more of the men married, yet of those
that were single the same proportion as of the single women living at
home; and the large group of single women having worked continu­
ously—year in and year out—for practically as many years as had
the single men.
The question of responsibility toward the home for these men and
women resolves itself into a complicated situation of joint respon­
sibility for the upkeep of the home and the support of others by sev­
eral wage earners. It was not usually a question of the entire support
of others; only 3.2 per cent of the women and 31.2 per cent of the
men were found to be carrying alone the economic responsibilities of
the family. But everyone was contributing something to the family
of which he or she was an integral part.
It is this joint responsibility which is particularly difficult to meas­
ure, and yet which must bo measured if the relative importance of
men and women in this regard is to be estimated. There are two
possible measures which can be used for the contribution toward the
family support. One is the proportion and the other is the actual
amount of earnings contributed. The former has its main significance
in the psychological attitude of the contributor; the latter in the
actual value, economically speaking, of the contribution.
In the aggregate the actual cash value of the contribution of the
men far exceeded that of the women. One-half of the men con­
tributed more than $22.50, while one-half of the women contributed
more than $13.90 a week.
In view of the dissimilarity in the earnings possible for men and
women—half of the men earned more than $24.80 and half of the
women more than $15.30—this inequality in the actual amount con­
tributed seems neither surprising nor unnatural. The two sexes are
obviously not comparable in this respect.
It has been possible, however, within the larger classification of
men and women to select smaller groupings which are comparable,
and these show figures very different from the ones just quoted. The
condition which is shown to have the most far-reaching effect on the
proportion of the wage contributed to the family, is the relationship
of the contributor to others in the family. Practically 100 per cent
of the men and women who were husbands and wives or fathers and
mothers contributed all of their earnings—irrespective of amount—
to meet the expenses of the family.
This situation was not found among the men and women who bore
the relationship of sons and daughters, and who were for the most
part “single men” and “single women.” Contributions of all



32

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

earnings occurred in a much smaller proportion of cases among the
sons and daughters than among husbands and fathers and wives and
mothers. In fact, only 34.6 per cent of the men who were sons
contributed all of their earnings, which proportion was considerably
exceeded by the daughters, 59.9 per cent of whom contributed all of
their earnings. It is readily seen, therefore, that to secure really
comparable figures for men and women it would be necessary to
find a group in which the relationship to the family as well as the
actual wage was known for both men and women so that due allow­
ance could be made for the variations in these two factors in the two
sexes.
For the group of men and women receiving an average weekly
wage between $15 and $25 it is possible to make such estimates, and
the detailed figures in this report show beyond doubt that where
wage and relationship to the family were similar the women con­
tributed more than did the men. This situation is well illustrated
by the figures in Table 19, which show that of those who earned
between $17.50 and $20 a week 42.5 per cent of the women were
wives or mothers and 45.7 per cent of the men were husbands or
fathers, while 54.3 per cent of the women were daughters and 53.6
per cent of the men were sons. The men and women in this group
were alike in the two things which would chiefly affect then’ contri­
bution to the family—the size of their wage and their relationship to
the family. And yet 57.3 per cent of the women in contrast to 53.3
per cent of the men contributed all of their earnings.
As the husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers practically always
contributed all of their earnings, the greater proportion of women
than of men in this weekly earnings group who contributed all of
their earnings can be definitely attributed to the more extensive
responsibility assumed by the daughters.
It is from a comparison of the extent of contribution among
daughters and sons that the most clear-cut picture can be drawn,
and this picture shows beyond doubt that the daughters assume
responsibility to a far greater extent than do the sons. In every age
group the proportion of those who contributed all earnings was greater
among the daughters than among the sons, the difference in the
percentages varying from 16.7 to 50.4.
The length of time during which contributions had been made
is also a very important qualifying factor which affects the degree
of responsibility assumed, and it is particularly significant to find
that 61.4 per cent of the women and 54.6 per cent of the men—an
excess of 6.8 among the women—had contributed their entire earn­
ings to the family during all of their working career. The difference
between men and women in this respect is emphasized when the




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

33

figures are considered for single men and single women. In this
group the members of each sex had been employed for very nearly
the same length of time, yet 22.7 per cent of the women and 17.9
per cent of the men had contributed all earnings for from 5 to 10
years, and 9.4 per cent of the women and 4.6 per cent of the men had
contributed all earnings for 10 years or more.
Talcing into consideration all the factors which condition the
responsibilities and contributions to the homes, women in industry
ean not be characterized as having little responsibility for the sup­
port of others compared with that of men. To be sure, there are
many more married men in industry that there are married women,
and for these men there is naturally a very much greater degree of
financial responsibility than exists for any others. What married
women there are in industry, however, are exerting fully as much
effort as are their husbands, although, because of their lower wages,
with less result. The problem of responsibility for men is chiefly
that of the married man who has assumed his own responsibilities,
but the problem for the women is that of the single woman who,
without choice, must share or take over responsibilities which have
proved too heavy for the normal provider for the family. The figures
showing among single women a greater assumption of responsibility
than among single men in relation to the size of wage, in relation to
age, and in relation to the length of time during which contribution
has been made, leave no doubt of the fact that a readjustment must
be made in the attitude which would relegate women to a group of
individuals with no economic relationship to others nor importance
in the family group, while men—single as well as married—are valued
not only as individuals but as necessary economic factors in the
maintenance of that fundamental social unit, the family.
From the standpoint of the family itself, the second section of this
study shows a very clear picture of the economic importance of
husbands, fathers, and sons, and wives, mothers, and daughters.
For the purpose of computation there was made the arbitrary and
purely hypothetical standard that the earnings of all wage earners
in a family should constitute the same proportion of the total family
earnings—in other words, that a wage earner is not earning his
"proportionate ” share of the family earnings unless his earnings equal
50 per cent of the family earnings in families with two wage earners,
33J per cent in families with three wage earners, and so on. On
such a basis it was found that this " proportionate ” share of the family
earnings was made by 95.1 per cent of the husbands or fathers, 19,7
per cent of the wives or mothers, 48.9 per cent of the sons, and 31.7
per cent of the daughters. This places the potential economic
value to the family of these groups just about as would naturally




34

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

be expected. Of most importance were the husbands and fathers,
followed by the sons and then by the daughters, with the wives and
mothers considerably lower on the scale.
In considering the subject of wage-earning married women some
very significant figures are brought out in the analysis of conditions
among the 541 families under discussion. In the families in which
married women with husbands were at work in industry, the addition
of the wives’ earnings left only 35.4 per cent with per capita year’s
income from earnings of less than $500, while the median of per capita
year’s income from earnings was $641. Without the wives’ contri­
butions, the per capita income from earnings would have fallen to a
$438 median, with 60.2 per cent of the families in the less-than-$500
group. Although the wife or mother was a wage earner in only a
comparatively small number of families, and her earnings seldom
equaled in importance those of other members, yet the exclusion of
these earnings would have resulted in a considerably lower standard
of economic well-being for the families concerned. When she was
employed the married woman was a very real asset to her family
and her employment in industry could not have been dispensed with
without hardship to the family standard.
Figures for a limited number of families indicate that where the
per capita year’s income from earnings—the sum of all earnings
divided by the number of persons in the family—was less than $500,
it was usually the custom for all wage earners to turn over all their
earnings to the family exchequer. Where the per capita earnings
were $500 or over it was more usual for some of the wage earners to
retain part of their earnings for their own uses. Here again, however,
the figures for the sons and daughters show a marked divergence, for
in the families with per capita earnings of less than $500, 49.3 per
cent of the sons and 71.6 per cent of the daughters contributed all
their earnings, while in families with per capita earnings of $500 or
more, 36.8 per cent of the sons and 53.4 per cent of the daughters
contributed all earnings.
On the whole, although the sons were shown to rate above the
daughters in their potential economic value to the family, the actual
situation almost reversed the relative importance of the two groups.
The sons earned a larger proportion of the total family earnings than
did the daughters, but the daughters contributed a slightly larger
proportion than did the sons.
These figures put the man and woman wage earner, in whatever
relationship they may bear to the family, on a plane of responsibility
for the family expenses much more nearly equal than has generally
been supposed to be the case.
Comparing the married man and woman we have found that the
family interests absorbed the total wage of each. The unmarried




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

35

men and women, “ sons ” and “ daughters ” as they are described here,
do not show a great difference. The daughters contributed to the
family a somewhat larger proportion of the family earnings than
did the sons, but on the whole the differences were so slight that
from the standpoint of the financial status of the family the two
sexes were about equally important.
In proportion to their ability, however, the daughters assumed a
much more complete responsibility. They earned far less than the
sons, yet their contributions were practically the same. To be sure,
the phrase “all earnings contributed” carries with it the implication
that something must be given back to the contributor in the
form of money for clothes, lunch, car fare, etc. No data as to such
returns have been secured. The fact remains, however, that sons as
well as daughters get returns for the money they contribute. Con­
tribution of all earnings to the family means that the wage earner gets
back for necessary expenses what the family can spare; contribution
of part earnings means that the family gets what the wage earner can
spare. The married men and women alike are merging their identity
in the family and contributing everything to the family budget.
I he unmarried men and women do not show so great a similarity.
In their case it is the women who are merging themselves more
completely in the family group, by contributing all of their earnings,
while their brothers, though contributing substantially the same
amounts, are retaining something for their own use. The sons are
thus assuring themselves of a degree of independence and an oppor­
tunity to strike out for themselves which is denied the daughters,
whose obligations are often not of their own choosing and who arecarrying cares and responsibilities resulting from the tendency of
present-day life to leave old age without provision for support.




SECTION II. THE INDIVIDUAL.
1. DESCRIPTION OF PERSONS FROM WHOM INFORMATION WAS
SECURED.

Nativity.
From the standpoint of the subject of this study it would seem that
one of the most important qualifying factors which might affect the
findings would be the nativity of the persons under discussion. The
customs and traditions of foreign countries sometimes make for a
more compact family group than is found in this country. The tra­
ditions of the Italian or French family which keep the daughters in
close restraint until marriage; the need for the family newly arrived
in the United States, ignorant of customs, inexperienced and not able
to command very high wages, to stick together as a unit; these are
factors which might show for some groups a very different extent of
family responsibility among women than is the custom among the
native-born citizens of the United States. For this reason particular
care was taken to choose an industry and a locality where representa­
tion of American born and foreign born would be fairly typical. For
it was the aim of this investigation to discover conditions as they exist
for a typical group of wage-earning women and men, and not a special
condition applicable to only one kind of group. Of the 1,378 men
and women who were interviewed and who gave information as to
country of birth—nativity could not be secured, of course, from those
for whom merely wage records were secured—56.7 per cent were
bom in the United States and 24.9 per cent in Canada.5 Most of
the Canadian bom were French Canadians, with standards somewhat
different from those of other Canadians and persons born in the United
States. The proximity of Manchester to the Canadian border and the
Province of Quebec accounts for the number of French Canadians
included in this study. In fact, even some of those classified as
American born had French-Canadian parents and could speak little
or no English.
The number of foreign born must affect to a great extent the find­
ings of this study, but the group is not unrepresentative of mill towns
or other industrial communities. Figures for all workers gainfully
employed in the United States show that, in 1910, 68.5 per cent of
the women and 73.1 per cent of the men were native born,6 a pro­
portion which is somewhat larger than among the group included in
this study, but the difference is not sufficiently great to indicate that
the Manchester group is an unusual one so far as nativity is c-on5 See Table I, Appendix.

36



fl U. S. Bureau of the Census, lab Census, 1920, abstract.

THE SHARE OF WAGE-E ARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

37

cerned. French Canadians are not confined to Manchester, but
are found in considerable numbers in Massachusetts and other
New England States, while in other localities different nationalities,
such as Italian or Portuguese, provide the qualifying factors which
are represented in this study by the standards and customs of
the French-Canadians. Other countries were represented by a lim­
ited number of persons. England, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy,
Poland, Eussia, Scotland, Serbia, Sweden, and Turkey each had a few
representatives; but, except for the Greeks, in no case did the number
amount to as much as 1.5 per cent of the total. The chief national
groups represented, therefore, and the only ones sufficiently large to
justify special consideration, were the following:
Per cent of—
Place of birth.
Total.

United States.................................
Canada.................................
Greece.................................

56.7

Men.

55.7

Women.

58.3

9A Q
Q A

As already stated, these figures are only for those persons who were
interviewed, but the proportions would probably hold good for the
entire group, as those who were not interviewed but whose wage
records were secured were all members of the family group of some
one who was interviewed.
Ihe comparatively large number of Greeks, especially Greek men,
was unexpected and somewhat complicated the work of the investi­
gators. Some of these men could speak no English, and the English
of others was so unintelligible that serious doubts arose as to the
accuracy of their replies to the questions asked. It was not unusual
to find a Greek whose record of earnings was complete for the year
claiming, according to the interpreter, to have sent more than the
entire amount to his family in Greece. In other cases it was impos­
sible to discover just what were the annual earnings of these men, as
their chief source of revenue was some small business, such as a
fruit stand or shoe-shining parlor, conducted outside of working
hours. For this reason it was decided to omit from further discus­
sion in this study the material gathered from 108 Greek men and 21
Greek women who were originally included in the investigation.
Age.
Table 4 shows the ages of the men and women included in the
survey. The figures represent both the persons interviewed and
those not interviewed, as for the latter group when wage figures
were secured it was often possible to secure also a record of the age.



38

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table 4.—Age, by sex.
Independently.

Male.
Age.

Number. Percent. Number. Per cent.
16
92
91
ISO
ISO
176
152
39
12
938

1.7
9.8
9.7
19. 2 ‘
19.2
18.8
16.2
4.2
1.3
100.0

8
83
106
205
119
94
57
16
3

1.2
12.0
15.3
29.7
17.2
13.6
8.2
2.3
.4

691

100.0

This table shows that, compared with the most recent available
general figures for industry throughout the country, the group
studied was considerably younger than normal; 40.4 per cent of the
men and 58.2 per cent of the women were under 25 years of age, and
only 21.6 per cent of the men and 11 per cent of the women were 40
years of age or over. The figures for the 1920 Census giving the age
distribution of all workers gainfully employed 7 show that 30.4 per
cent of the men were 45 or over. Of the gainfully employed women
at that time 18.1 per cent were 45 or over. Among the younger people
the census shows the ages of 11 per cent of the men and 23.6 per cent
of the women to range from 16 to 20 years, while in Manchester 19.5
per cent of the men and 27.4 per cent of the women were so classified.
A very small number of those included in the investigation were
children, only 8 females and 16 males being under 16 years of age.
For this reason minors are not considered separately in the subse­
quent discussion.
Conjugal and living conditions.
Table 5 shows the conjugal and living conditions of the entire
group of men and women from whom such information was obtained.
Table

5.—Conjugal and living condition, by sex.
Number who were living—

Conjugal condition.

Independently.

At home.
Male.

Female.

Male.

Female.

Widowed, separated, or divorced....................................................

471
638
23

529
195
43

60
6
7

73
3
15

Total.........................................................................................

1,132

767

71

91

i

TJ. S. Bureau of the Census, 14th Census, 1920, abstract.




THE SHABE OP WAGE-EABNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPOET.

39

The percentage of single, married, and widowed, separated, or
divorced of each sex is as follows:
Men. Women.

Single........................................................................................................... 44.I
Married........................................................................................................ 53.4
Widowed, separated, or divorced................................................................ 2.5

70.2
23.1
6.8

These figures show an important difference between the men and
the women studied. More than one-half of the men but less than
one-fourth of the women were married, while the number of each
sex who were widowed, separated, or divorced was not sufficiently
great to be significant. However, this difference in conjugal status
for the two sexes does not vary greatly from similar figures given
by the U. S. Census for all men and for women gainfully employed.
According to the Census of 1920, of all males 15 years of age and
over, 35.1 per cent were single, 59.2 per cent were married, and 5.4
per cent were widowed or divorced.8 9 Although the marital condi­
tion of men has been considered in the census only for the entire
group of men, with the exception of those gainfully employed in
cities of from 25,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, for women there has
been made a separate industrial classification of the marital condi­
tion of those gainfully employed.” These figures show that of the
women employed in manufacturing and mechanical pursuits 24.5
per cent were married. The similarity between these figures and
those given for the Manchester groups indicates that in spite of
their greater youth the men and women included in this survey
were normal in their family relationships and the assumption of
those responsibilities which accompany marriage.
It -is naturally to be expected that among a group of working
men and women the proportion of married men should be greater
than that of married women. Considering the demands of married
life on the average woman it is surprising that the proportion of
married women gainfully employed should bo as high as 23 per cent.
The fact that 531 men and 602 women were single and that the
same proportion of each (about 88 per cent) were living at home,
shows that in the majority of cases the problem of the single man
and single woman and their relation to the upkeep of the home
must be similar.
Of the entire group of men and women only a very small per­
centage were not living at home. In this study the investigators
were directed to classify as not living at home any one who was
living alone, with friends, or with relatives other than parents or
married brother or sister. As will be seen from later sections of
8 TJ. S. Bureau of the Census, 14th Census, 1920, V. II, Chapter IV.
9 U. S. Bureau of the Census, 14th Census, 1920, abstract.

38783b—23---- £




40

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

this report, the greater number of men and women were living as
children with their parents or as parents with their children. In­
deed, the chief characteristic of the group as a whole is the fact
that almost every man and woman was living as part of a family
group.
Relationship to families.
It is interesting to see in Table 6 the chief relationships which the
men and women bore to their families.
Table 6.—Composition

of the families of 705 men and 479 women who reported com­
plete data, according to persons at work and persons not at work.
MEN INTERVIEWED.
Number—

Membership of family.
At work.

Not at
work.

95
38
3

57
11
68

204

6
2
2

8

10

282
58
85
11

1.43

1.50

5.00

1.00

5.00

224
685
33

4.89

1.55

3.16

6. 33

3. 42

1.85

5.50

2.75

2.00

282
282
770
44

436

......................................

2.15

2
6
2

2

"Wife .

Average
number
of *
persons
to each
wage
earner.

95
95
14

136

Wife

Average
number
of wage
earners.

Total, Average
size of
including family.
person
inter­
viewed.

1,378

19
256
581
39

308
228
291
1,072
50

1,054

895

1,949

4
7

4
11
7

11

22

14
20

37

14
57

34

37

71

5.07

2.43

2.09

1,673

Total.....................................................

942

308
209
35
491
11

1,961

3,634

5.15

2.37

2.17

2.31

2.09

1.11

4
7
11

Total.....................................................

WOMEN INTERVIEWED.
45
44
5
Total.....................................................




1
9

45
45
14

94

10

104

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

41

Table 6.—Composition

of the families of 705 men and 479 women who reported com­
plete data, according to persons at work awd persons not at wort—Continued.
WOMEN INTERVIEWED—Continued.
Number—
Membership of family.

Average
Total,
including size of
family.
person
inter­
viewed.

At work.

Not at
work.

Mother interviewed (no husband).............
Children.................................................
Other relatives.......................... _...........

17
9
i

36
4

Total.....................................................

27

40

67

Wife and mother interviewed...................
Husband..................................................
Children.......................................
Other relatives........................................

74
74
12
10

147
25

Average
number
of
persons
t o each
wage
earner.

74
74
159
35

170

Average
number
of wage
earners.

Total....................................

17
45
5

Sister interviewed.........................
Brothers and sisters...............................
Other relatives........................................
Total.....................................

172

342

325
225
39
565
18

17
272
577
61

1.59

2.48

4.62

2.30

2.01

6.46

3.61

1.79

5.13

2.93

1.75

325
242
311
1,142
79

1,172

Daughter interviewed................................
Father...................................
Mother.....................................................
Brothers and sisters.........................
Other relatives........................................

3.94

927

2,099

15
25
4

10
23

15
35
27

44

33

77

6

3
11
14

4.67

2.67

1.75

1,188

2,703

5.64

3.16

1.78

Other relatives interviewed........................
Other relatives...................................

3
5

Total............... ......................................

8
1,515

Although it was not possible to secure from the entire group of men
and women covered by this investigation the details of the composi­
tion of their families, it was possible to secure these details from a
sufficiently large and unselected group to afford a basis for a valid
estimate of similar conditions for the rest of the group. And it is
important to note in connection with the figures in this table that
they represent the make-up of the families of each man and woman
from whom information was obtained. If a brother and sister each
gave information about the composition of their families, this infor­
mation appears twice, once as pertaining to the family of a man and
once to the family of a woman. With this method the figures are
representative of conditions for the men and women surveyed as an
entire group.
The largest number of men (43.7 per cent) were sons living with
their parents. The next largest group of men (40 per cent) were
husbands and fathers living with wife and children. The women
show a very much larger proportion (67.8 per cent) of daughters living




42

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

with their parents, while the proportion of women who were wives
and mothers (15.4 per cent) was very much smaller. On the whole,
the average size of the families of the men and of the women did not
vary greatly for the groups which were large enough to be significant.
For all the women interviewed the average size of the family was
5.64 persons. For the men the average family consisted of 5.15
persons.
There was, however, one striking difference between the families of
the men and those of the women. In the average family of each group
of men there was a greater number of persons to each wage earner
than among the families of similar groups of women.
The figures showing this are as follows:
Average number of persons to each wage earner in the families of—
Husbands................................... 1.50
Wives......................................... 1.11

Brothers..................................... 2.00
Sisters........................................ 1.75

Fathers....................................... 5.00
Mothers...................................... 2.48

Other male relatives................. 2.09
Other female relatives.............. 1.75

Husbands and fathers............... 3.16
Wives and mothers.................... 2.01

All males................................... 2.17
All females................................. 1.78

Sons............................................ 1.85
Daughters.................................. 1.79

According to these figures, although the actual size of the families
of the men and women did not vary greatly, in families where women
were working there was likely to be a greater number of wage earners
in proportion to the size of the family than in the families of the men.
This would seem to indicate that the working woman in the average
family might have a smaller responsibility for the upkeep of the
family, as with more wage earners per household such responsibility
would naturally be shared by them all. That such a condition does
not necessarily obtain, however, becomes apparent as further figures
on the subject are developed.
2. THE INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF THE MEN AND WOMEN.

More far-reaching, however, in its effect on the share taken in the
economic support of the family than any personal attributes or rela­
tionship and composition of families is the industrial status of the
two sexes.
The actual conditions with which men and women are faced in
securing the money which makes it possible for them to share in
family support, the prospects which are ahead of them .and the expe­
rience they have gone through to attain their present position, all of
these elements enter into their psychological relationship toward this
problem of the support of others. If a man or woman assumes finan­
cial obligation when they are young, have they the same chances of



THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

43

advancement in earnings? If they are regular contributors to the
home have they the same chances for getting regular work, or is one
sex more likely than the other to be “laid off” during slack seasons?
What effect will diligent application to the gaining of experience have
upon the wage prospects of the two sexes ? These are questions which
can be answered only after a detailed examination of the industrial
records of both men and women, an examination which it was possible
to make in Manchester for a considerable number of wage earners.
Comparative earnings.
The need for the greater number of wage earners in the families of
the women is readily apparent when the average weekly earnings of
the men and women are compared. Table 7 shows the average earn­
ings of the men and women, classified according to their family
relationship.
Table 7.—Average weekly earnings andfamily relationship.
MEN.
Number and per cent whose relationship was—
Total
reporting.

Average weekly
earnings.

Husband or father.

Son.

Other male.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
0.7
.5
.9
2.1
1.4
2.3
3.5
10.5
12.4
20.7
44.9

1

0.2

1
1
1
1
12
37
64
130
385

.2
.2
.2
.2
1.9
5.8
10.1
20.5
60.8

7
6
9
21
14
25
27
78
75
99
111

1.5
1.3
1.9
4.4
3.0
5.3
5.7
18.5
15.9
21.0
23.5

2
1

7.7
3.8

$14 and under $15---$15 and under $17.50..
$17.50 and under $20..
$20 and under $25___
$25 and over...............

8
6
10
24
16
26
40
119
140
234
508

1
4
1
5
12

3.8
15.4
3.8
19.2
46.2

Total.................

1,131

100.0

633

100.0

472

100.0

26

100.0

$11 and under $12---$12 and under $13----

WOMEN.
Number and per cent whose relationship was—
Total
reporting.

Average weekly
earnings.

Wife or mother.

Other female.

Daughter.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Under $9.....................
$9 and under $10.......
$10 and under $11---$11 and under $12___
$12 and under $13---$13 and under $14___
$14 and under $15---$15 and under $17.50..
$17.50 and under $20..
$20 and under $25---$25 and over...............

15
19
31
59
68
79
76
191
127
95
12

1.9
2.5
4.0
7.6
8.8
10.2
9.8
24.7
16.5
12.3
1.6

3
8
7
10
11
21
26
43
54
33
4

1.4
3.6
3.2
4.5
5.0
9.5
11.8
19.5
24.5
15.0
1.8

10
10
22
48
54
55
48
140
69
61
7

1.9
1.9
4.2
9.2
10.3
10.5
9.2
26.7
13.2
11.6
1.3

2
1
2
1
3
3
2
8
4
1
1

7.1
3.6
7.1
3.6
10.7
10.7
7.1
28.6
14.3
3.6
3.6

Total................

772

100.0

220

100.0

524

100.0

28

100.0




44

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

It is apparent from this table that very much lower earnings pre­
vailed for the women in each comparative group. Of all the men,
65.6 per cent received an average weekly wage of $20 or over, and
44.9 per cent received $25 or over. Of all the women, 53.5 per cent
received from $15 to $25 a week and only 1.6 per cent received $25
or over. The largest group of women who were daughters (26.7 per
cent) received an average weekly wage of $15 and under $17.50,
while the largest group of men who were sons (23.5 per cent) received
an average weekly wage of $25 or over. As would be expected of the
older and probably more experienced group, a greater number of the
men who were husbands and fathers than of those who were sons had
weekly earnings of $25 or more, 60.8 per cent of the fathers falling
within this classification. The women who were wives or mothers
also made higher earnings than those who were daughters, but the
difference was slight and in only four cases (1.8 per cent) were their
earnings as high as $25 a week.
Year's earnings.—The year’s earnings of men and of women
showed differences in amount even greater than did their weekly
earnings. Table II in the appendix gives the details of the year’s
earnings classified by the number of weeks worked. The following
figures taken from that table show the most significant facts.
Table 8.— Year’s

earnings.
Men.

Women.

Year’s earnings.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Under $200................... ..................................................
$200 and under $400............................................... ...........................
$000 and under $800...........................................................................
$800 and under $1,000............................................................
$1,000 and under $1/200.........................................
$1,200 and under $1.400.................................................................
$1,400 and under $1,GOO.......................................................
$1,600 and under $1 800.....................................................................
$1 800 and under $2,000............................................................
$2,000 and over.......................................................................

10
21
54
110
162
126
174
152
77
39
3

Total.........................................................................................

928

.

1.1
2.3
5. 8
11.9
17.5
13.6
18.8
16. 4
8. 3
4.2
.3

33
75

4.3
9.8

234
195
72
10

30.7
25.6
9.4
1.3

100.0

762

100.0

Only 11 per cent of the women, in contrast to 61.6 per cent of the
men, earned $1,000 or more during the year. More than half of the
women received between $600 and $1,000, the largest group (30.7
per cent) receiving between $600 and $800. The largest group of
men (18.8 per cent) received between $1,200 and $1,400. This
great difference in yearly earnings is accounted for by two factors,
the first and most important being the lower weekly wage paid to the
women. The other thing which materially reduced the yearly
earnings received by the women was the number of weeks during
which they did not work. In this connection it must be remembered




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARMING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

45

that the records for this group of men and women are complete for
the year. All wages earned and all time lost during the period
studied have been accounted for. With this complete record it is
possible to state the number of weeks actually worked by each man
and woman, and the figures show that 90 per cent of the men and 76.5
per cent of the women worked 40 weeks or more. However, in the
long run it was not the fewer weeks worked by the women which
determined their low annual earnings. For the 419 women (55 per
cent of the total) and the 655 men (70.7 per cent of the total) who
worked 48 weeks or more, the following figures show the entire
earnings:
Table 9.— Year’s earnings of men and women who worked 48 weeks or more.
Men.

Women.

Year’s earnings.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Under $400.................................................................................
$400 and under $600...........................................................................
$600 and under $800.................................................
$800 and under $1 ,00©........................................................
$1,000 and under $1,200.........................................................
.
$1,200 and under $1.400..................................................................
$1,400 and under $1,600............................
$1,600 and under $ 1 800..................................................
.
.
$1 800 and under $2,000.........................................................

3
10
64
106
96
133
132
71
37
3

0.5
1.5
9.8
16.2
14.7
20.3
20.2
10.8
5.6
.5

2
44
134
159
68
10
2

0.5
10.5
32.0
37.9
16.2
2.4
.5

Total...............................................................................

655

100.0

419

100.0

These figures show that 43 per cent of the women who worked 48
or more weeks during the year received less than $800, while only
11.8 per cent of the men who worked as long as that made such small
earnings. The majority of the men (57.3 per cent) received $1,200 or
more, while only 2.9 per cent of the women received as much as
$1,200, and less than 1 per cent—two women—received between
$1,400 and $1,600, an earnings group containing one-fifth of all the
men.
Steadiness of employment.
Perhaps the most important question of all those which face the
wage earner with dependents and home responsibilities is the steadi­
ness or unsteadiness of the work which is available. In an industry
such as the manufacture of shoes there is much irregularity because
of seasonal demands of the trade or because of special conditions in
the industry or plant itself. For this reason workers in the shoe
industry are particularly liable to be obliged to adjust their lives to
periods of enforced idleness, lasting sometimes for weeks but more
often for a few days or a few hours of the day. It was not practi­
cable to compile what information was gathered as to days and hours




46

THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

of lost time, but it was possible to secure from a large group of men
and women, most of whom were shoe workers, -a statement of the
number of weeks lost during the year, and the causes of much of the
loss. Table 10 gives the number of weeks lost and the number of
men and women who lost no time during the year.
Table

10.—Number of weeks lost by personsfor whom complete year’s record was obtained.
Men.

W omen.

Weeks lost.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.

1 and under 2 weeks.........................................................................
2 and under 3 weeks.........................................................................
3 and under 4 weeks..........................................................................
4 and under 5 weeks..........................................................................
5 and under 6 weeks..........................................................................
6 and under 7 weeks..........................................................................
7 and under 8 weeks..........................................................................
8 and under 9 weeks..........................................................................
9 and under 10 weeks........................................................................
10 and under 15 weeks......................................................................
15 and under 20 weeks......................................................................
20 and under 25 weeks......................................................................
25 weeks and over..............................................................................

279
145
101
83
47
40
32
29
20
16
63
30
20
23

30.1
15.6
10.9
8.9
5.1
4.3
3.4
3.1
2.2
1.7
6.8
3.2
2.2
2.5

118
103
99
50
49
28
27
29
25
10
72
36
31
85

13.5
13.0
6.6
6.4
3.7
3.5
3.8
3.3
1.3
9.4
4.7
4.1
11.2

Total.........................................................................................

928

100.0

762

100.0

As was shown in Table 9, a considerable percentage of both men
and women worked steadily throughout the year, yet Table 10
shows that, among those who lost time, in many cases the time lost
amounted to several weeks and sometimes to several months; 34 per
cent of the women and 18.6 per cent of the men had lost eight weeks
or more out of the 52.
Although it is apparent from these figures that the women lost
considerably more time than did the men, a study of the causes of
the time lost makes it evident that these losses were brought about
by substantially the same reasons for both men and women.
The following statement of the causes of time lost shows that the
major reason for all lost time was slack work in the plant. "Loaf­
ing” is the rather unusual term which was current in Manchester in
describing absence from work because of a temporary shutdown or
reduction of the activities of the plant. Because the more general
use of this term denotes a state of inactivity more or less voluntary
on the part of the worker, and carries therewith a certain stigma for
the "loafer,” the term as it is used in Manchester will not be em­
ployed here, but instead the term “laid off” will be substituted.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table 11.1—Causes

Cause of lost time.

47

of lost time.
Per cent who lost
time for each
specified cause.
Men.

Women.

Laid off.................................
Changing jobs.................................
Illness of self.................................
Strike..............
"Vacation........................................
Accident...............................
Illness in family.................
Other reason.....................
1 See Table III, Appendix.

On the whole these figures show great similarity in the causes of
lost time of men and of women. It is particularly important to
note that the difference in the percentage of men and women who
were absent because of their own illness was only 3.5, and that 2.1 per
cent of the women and 0.7 per cent of the men were absent because
of the illness of other members of their families. The two figures
last mentioned are surprisingly low, involving as they do only 12
women and 7 men. That the average family in this group consisted
of something over five persons may be one reason for the small
amount of absence because of illness in the family. Where the
families were large it would be possible for some nonworking member
to give the necessary care and attention in cases of illness, eliminating
the necessity for the wage earner’s absence from work.
Of course, with both men and women, in addition to the time lost
for other reasons stated, there was a certain amount of time lost
because of changing jobs. Women—particularly young women—
are constantly referred to as being an unstable factor in industry;
'‘job-shopping”—going from one plant to another looking for a
better job or better working conditions—has been held to be one of
the great drawbacks to the employment of women, and frequently
a lower wage scale for them is supposedly justified by the irregularity
resulting from this habit. The foregoing figures show, however, that
nearly twice the proportion of men as of women lost time because of
changing jobs. It is also important to find, according to figures
from Table I\ in the appendix, that while the proportions of men and
women who held one, two, three, and four or more jobs during the
year do not differ very greatly, what difference exists is in favor of
the woman.




48

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Jobs held during the year.

Per cent,
men.
.................... 81.0
.................... 13.2
.................... 4.2
.................... 1.6

Per cent,
women.
82.8
14.5
2,2
.5

It is also interesting to see the effect of age upon the number who
remained in one job throughout the year. For the men and women
for whom this information is given in Table IV the percentage of
those in each age group who held one job throughout the year was
as follows:
Mon.

16 and under 18years.......................................................................... 60-5
18 and under 20years.......................................................................... 64. 6
20 and under 25years.......................................................................... 30. 3
25 and under 30years............................................
30 and under 40years.......................................................................... 85. 9
40 and under 50years.......................................................................... 91.0
50 and under 60years.......................................................................... 06-8
60 years and over................................................................................. 190. 0
Total number included............................................................. 683

Women.

73. 3
73.0
85.0
81.1
83. 8
91.5
92. 3
100.0
592

This shows a consistent and very considerable increase with age
in stability of employment for both men and women, such slight
deviations from a steady increase as appear being due probably to
the comparative smallness of the numbers involved.
Experience.
Table V in the appendix shows the length of time the men and
women had been employed in their respective trades, and the effect
of this experience upon their earnings. The following figures give in
summary form the comparative length of experience of the two
groups:

Table 12.—Time spent in the trade.

Time in trade.

Per cent who had
worked each speci­
fied length of time
in the trade.
Men.

Under 6 months.......................
6 months and under 1 year...
1 and under 2 years.................
2 and under 3 years.................
3 and under 4 years.................
4 and under 5 years.................
5 and under 10 years...............
10 and under 15 years.............
15 and under 20 years.............
20 years and over.....................
Total number included.




5.3
4.0
7.8
8.6
6.7
7.0
20.2
15.4
12.4
12.7
733

Women.
6.4
8.1
10.5
14.3
13.3
6.8
21.4
11.6
4.9
2.8
533

THE SHAILE OF WAGE-E AP.N ING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

49

The largest group both of men and of women (20.2 and 21.4 per
cent, respectively) had been employed in their trade for from 5 to
10 years, but on the whole the record of the women shows a shorter
period of experience than that of the men; 59.4 per cent of the women
and only 39.4 per cent of the men had been in their trades less than
five years, while 40.5 per cent of the men and only 19.3 per cent of the
women had had 10 years experience or more.
The lower earnings made by the women, however, can not be con­
sidered to be the result of this smaller amount of experience, as a
comparison of the wages paid to men and women having the same
amount of experience will show. Taking from Table V two groups
which would show most significantly any effect of experience on
earnings, those who had worked from 5 to 9 years and those who
had worked 10 years or more, the following figures show the per­
centage of men and women who earned certain average weekly
amounts.
Table 13.—Average weekly earnings by years in the trade.
Per cent in each earnings group of those
who had been in the trade—
Average weekly earnings.

5 and under 10
years.
Men.

Under S17.50.....................
$17.50 and under $20........................
$20 and under $25........... .............................
$25 and over.....................................
Total number included.................................

Women.

10 years and over.
Men.

Women.

7.4
10.1
27.0
55.4

57.0
21.9
20.2
.9

1.7
5.1
18.2
75.1

52.4
23.3
21.4
2.9

148

114

297

103

Of the women who had worked 5 and under 10 years in the trade,
57 per cent received average weekly earnings of less than $17.50,
while of the men in this group 55.4 per cent received $25 or more.
An even more marked difference is found in the second group—those
who had worked for 10 years or more. Here the proportion of women
in each earnings group remains practically the same as for those who
had from 5 to 10 years’ experience, while the proportion of men who
earned $25 or more becomes 75.1 per cent, compared to 55.4 per cent
which was the proportion with these earnings in the 5 and under 10
years group.
Of course “time in the trade” does not necessarily mean a con­
tinuous period of experience on one job or process which would con­
ceivably lead to greater ability and productivity and a consequent
higher wage. In the modern industrial establishment processes are
so diverse that many years of experience on one job would leave the
worker as untrained and valueless for another process—except for
the matter of discipline and adjustment to the routine of the plant—



50

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

as would be a newly hired “green” worker. Bather than to consider
the actual length of experience in the trade in general, therefore, it is
important, in discussing experience, to consider the time spent on
the one job on which the worker has most recently been engaged and
for which the earnings have been recorded. The following figures
from Table VI in the appendix show the percentage of men and
women who had been employed for varying lengths of time in the
occupations in which they were engaged at the time they were
interviewed.
Table

14.—Time spent in the occupation.

Per cent who had
spent each speci­
fied time in the
occupation.

Time in occupation.

Men.

Women.

13.8
9.9
10.4
11.4
7.7
6.2
20.4
10.0
6.0
4.1

17.6
16.7
18.0
11.4
10.7
3.7
14.4
5.1
1.9
,6

737

534

Although the amount of experience in the occupation was con­
siderably less than the length of time spent in the trade (59.4 per
cent of the men and 78.1 per cent of the women had had less than
five years of experience in the occupation), the difference between the
men and women remains about the same; 59.4 per cent of the
women and 39.4 per cent of the men had worked less than five
years in the trade, while 78.1 per cent of the women and 59.4 per
cent of the men had had less than five years’ experience in the occupa­
tion on which they were engaged at the time of the investigation.
The difference between the earnings of the men and women was
affected by time in the occupation more than by time in the trade.
Table

15.—Average weekly earnings by time in the occupation.
Per cent in each earnings group of thoso
who had been in the occupation—

'

.

Average weekly earnings.




5 and under 10
years.
Men.
3.3
3.3
22.0
71.3
150

Women.
54.5
16.9
26.0
2.6
77

10 years and over.
Men.
2.0
4.1
10.8
83.1
148

Women.
40.0
27.5
30.0
2.5
40

THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNIN'g women in family support.

51

. According to Table 13, of .those who had been from 5 to 10 years
m the trade 55.4 per cent of the men and 0.9 per cent of the women
received average weekly earnings of $25 or more. The figures in
Table 15 show that of those who had been from 5 to 10 years in the
occupation, 71.3 per cent of the men and only 2.6 per cent of the
women received average weekly earnings of $25 or more.
A similar condition is found in the group that had worked 10
years or more in the same occupation, where 83.1 per cent of the
men and 2.5 per cent of the women received average earnings of
$25 or more, figures considerably higher for the men but lower for
the women than the corresponding figures for persons 10 years or
more in the trade.
Continuous employment.
The number of months or years spent in one trade or one occupa­
tion, however, gives no definite account of the working experience
of either man or woman. Of course many men and women enter
one branch of industry and stay in it for many years—in some
instances, always. And perhaps the reason for an apparently
greater stability of men is shown in the foregoing tables, where their
wages are seen to increase with experience to a degree which does
not appear at all among the women. Unless it brings a reward in
the shape of increased earning capacity, remaining on one job or in
one line of industry has little significance to any worker. Accordingly
that sort of permanence in industry can not be said to be of vital
interest to the working woman whose record was secured in the
course of this investigation. A more fundamental factor in her life
will be the actual length of time, year in and year out, that she
has been working, regardless of the industry to which she has devoted
her efforts. During this study the investigators made special effort
to discover the number of years each person had been working
continuously, ihe instructions issued to the investigators (see p. 102)
before they began the survey contained the following remarks under
the caption "Employed continuously”:
This information is not asked with a view of checking on unemployment as much
as to know how many have worked year in and year out. A boy or girl who goes to
work half days from the age of 14 and has worked right on after that should be
recorded as beginning work at 14, and working continuously. If, on the other hand
he went to school 6 months and worked 6 months he should not be recorded as work­
ing continuously. Those out because of sickness once for less than 6 months during
a period of years should be recorded as working continuously, but if absent over
6 months or if repeated periods of illness occurred, they should be recorded as not
working continuously. Time spent by soldiers in service should be included as
time worked. Make special note of married women working year after year and remain­
ing away from work only because of childbirth.




52

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPOET.

Unfortunately, particularly in the case of married women, it was
not always possible to elicit the information desired during the short
interviews which were held. It was possible, however, to secure
from a considerable number of single and married men and single
women an account of their years of work. The result of these
interviews is shown in Table VII in the appendix, the following
figures from which give the most significant facts:
Table 16.—• Tears of continuous employment by conjugal condition.
Per cent who were employed continu­
ously for each specified period.
Years continuously employed.

Men.

3 and under 4 years...........................................................................
5 and under 10 years.........................................................................
10 and under 15 years................. _............. ....... ..............................
15 years and over...............................................................................
Total number included.......... ........... .............................................

Married.

Single.

4.6
9.7
16.8
11.3
10. 5
24.4
14.3
8.4
238

Women.
5.3
9.9
15.5
15.5
10.2
25.4
12.7
5.6
284

Men.

0.7
1.0
13.1
24.1
61.2
291

Women.
8.1
2.7
5.4
5.4
16.2
29.7
32.4
37

It is surprising to find that, in spite of the fewer years spent in one
trade or occupation as already noted, the single women had been
working practically as long as the single men. A somewhat larger
percentage of single men (22.7 per cent) than of single women (18.3
per cent) had worked 10 years or more, but with this exception the
proportions in the various groups were substantially the same. The
married women who reported on this subject were too few in number
to form a basis for judgment of conditions for a large group. The
married men showed, naturally, a very much longer working career
than any other group, 61.2 per cent having worked steadily for 15
years or more.
Summary.
On the whole, the two fundamental differences between the men
and women discussed here were their earnings and their marital
status. In regard to age, length of time at work, experience in the
industry, living conditions, composition of their families, etc., there
were minor differences between the two sexes, but these were not
such as would affect the problems of home responsibilities. Earnings
and marital status, however, seem to be the controlling factors when
the subjects considered are amount of contribution, proportion of
earnings contributed, number and relationship of dependents, and
number of total dependents. Therefore, throughout the following dis-




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

53

cussion it must be kept constantly in mind that the women earned so
much less than the men that the wages of the two sexes are hardly
comparable. Under no conditions did the women equal the men in
the amount of earnings received. With equal experience in the occu­
pation, with equal experience in the trade, with an equal number of
weeks worked during the year, still the women’s wages fell far below
those of the men.
The difference in marital status is also an important qualification.
The fact that a so much greater proportion of women were single
makes their assumption of economic obligations to their families a
very different matter from that of the men, so many of whom are
married and whose responsibilities to the home are definitely recog­
nized and allowed for in the economic system of this country.
3. DEPENDENTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE HOME OF INDIVIDUAL
MEN AND WOMEN.

Total dependents.
In many studies of home responsibilities emphasis has been laid on
the number of dependents for the support of whom the men or women
were found to be totally responsible. This is not the case with the
figures presented in the following pages. During this investigation
it was rarely found that a woman was the sole support of one or more
dependents, only 18 of 562 women reporting such a situation. The
men showed a considerably larger proportion, 242 of the 776 having
total dependents; but even this number is only 34.4 per cent of the
the men who reported that they were contributing to the home. In
an industrial community such as Manchester, where there is oppor­
tunity for work for many different types of ability, there is apt to be
more than one wage earner in a family. Indeed, the figures in Table
6 show that the average number of wage earners per family was more
than one in every kind of family represented except one group, con­
taining two families, where the wage earner interviewed was a father
living with his children but with no wife. For the largest groups of
workers interviewed—those who were sons and daughters—the aver­
age numbers of wage earners per family were 3.42 and 3.61, respec­
tively. It is obvious that in a family where there is more than one
wage earner and where each wage earner contributes a certain sum
to defray the family expenses, no one person can be considered to
have total dependents. And this is the situation which faced the
greater part of the men and women included in this survey. They
were jointly responsible—to a greater or less degree in many in­
stances, it is true—but still their responsibility was shared, and it
is with the method of sharing this responsibility and its extent
among men and women that this report is concerned.




54

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Contributions to the home.
The amount of a wage earner’s contribution to his or her family
and the significance of this contribution can be measured in several
ways. The first and perhaps most usual measure is the relation be­
tween the contribution and the cost of living for the average indi­
vidual. In other words, perhaps the most common reaction to a
statement of the amount contributed is to measure the size of that
contribution against what is generally considered to be the cost of
food and lodging for one person. And yet, when “cost of living” is
brought down to hard reality, necessity often makes one amount,
theoretically adequate for only one person, cover the cost of living
for two or three.
It is not practicable, in studying a large group of persons with
varying standards of life and necessities, to set aside a certain amount
per week or per year which shall ho considered the cost of food and
lodging for one person, and to consider all contributions up to that
amount merely as support for the contributor but above that amount
as contributions to the support of others. The family records ob­
tained in this study which showed examples of two people living on
$550 a year, nine people living on $1,550 a year, and—in one extreme
case—three people living on $453 a year, indicate that the cost of
living, or existing, in some sort of way can not be reduced to one
stated amount. For this reason, in discussing contributions it is
impossible to state exactly which is the contribution and which the
payment for value received.
It is possible, however, to judge the importance of the contribution
from other angles; the importance to the worker herself of the amount
she takes from her earnings and puts into the living expenses of her
family, and the importance to the family of each contribution, meas­
ured not only by its actual size but also by its relation to the size of
the total family income. These are the most definite measures which
can be used to gauge the value of the man and woman in the
financial backing of the family.
There is much significance in other figures, such as the effect of age
on the amount contributed and the length of time for which contri­
butions have been made, but these are merely qualifying factors.
The essential and fundamental facts which are required are the
amount and proportion of the wage which is contributed and the
proportion of the family income which, such contribution constitutes.
In later pages of this report details are given of total family incomes
and their sources. These details are for 541 families for which it was
possible to secure full figures as to yearly incomes. For a very much
larger group of individuals, facts on actual contributions and the
relationship between contribution and earnings have been secured.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

55

This group is the one which has just been described and for which
the following figures are given.
Weekly earnings and amount contributed.

It has already been shown that the women included in this study
were earning very much less than the men. Of all the men 65.6 per
cent received an average weekly wage of $20 or over, while 72.5 per
cent of the women received less than $17.50 a week. For this reason
it is difficult to estimate justly the actual importance of the man’s
and woman’s contributions. From one standpoint the contribution
can be measured—as it was with the widow’s mite—by its relation to
the ability of the contributor. On the other hand, from the stand­
point of actual financial aid, the amount contributed is the significant
fact. Table 17 shows the relative positions of the men and women
in regard to the amount of their earnings and of their contributions
to the family.
Table 17.—Weekly

earnings and weekly contributions to the family of persons inter­
viewed who were living at home.
Number for vrhom amount specified
was—

Amount.

Total.............................

Median........................

Average weekly
contribution.

Men.
Under 15.....................................
$5 and under $8.....................
$8and underbid............................
$10and under $12....................
$12 and under $14.........
$14 and under $17.50.................
$17.50 and under $20.................
$20 and under $25.......................
$25 and over........................

Average weekly
earnings.

Men.

Women.

Women.

2
5
24
29
72
64
124
311

1
12
54
86
135
65
49
3

2
35
32
65
33
60
44
89
271

2
57
19
62
66
112
47
38
2

631
$24.80

405
$15.30

631
$22.50

405
$13.90

These figures show that although more men contributed large
amounts in relation to the size of their earnings, the amounts con­
tributed by men and women were not disproportionate.
Table 18, which follows, presents the figures on amount contributed
classified by the weekly earnings of the contributors, and shows the
effect of increased earning power upon the amount contributed to the
family.
38783°—23-----5




56

Table 18.—Contributions to the home, by average weekly earnings.
MEN.

Total reporting.

$8 and less
than $10.

$5 and less
than $8.

Less than $5.

All.

None.

Average weekly earnings.

$10 but not all.

Indefinite
amount.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Percent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
xjOss

21

$25 and over.........................
Total
Per cent distribution..........

2.8

17
$15 and under $17.50............

inn.o

0.4

man qpo.ou.............

9.2
10.0
20.9
47.2

4.8
6.3

7
4
13
16

7.7
10.1
5-3
8.3
4.5

2.3

69
75
156
353

1

100.0

4
9
8
8
13
27
40
89
270

50.0
42.9
50.0
47.1
50.0
39.1
53.3
57.1
76.5

1
1

3.8
1.4

1
3

.6
.8

25.0

3
3
8
5
8
10

17.6
11.5
11.6
6.7
5.1
2.8

4.8

3
5
2
1

37.5
23.8
12.5
5.9

2

2.9
5.3
2-6
2.0

4
7

5.2

2
4
3
6
14

9.5
25.0
17.6
23.1
20.3

1
3
1
2
1
10

12.5
14.3
6.3
11.8
3.8
14.5

21
25

13.5
7-1

19

12.2

66
8.8

91
12.2

28
3 7

39

6
0 8

474
63 .4

5 9

1
i

WOMEN.
.Less man 88.jU............
$9 and under $10...........

3
24
37
51
56
55

4.6
7.0
9.7
10.6
10.4

81/ .uU ana auUel 8*0.......
$25 and over.........................

4

Per cent distribution...........

m3.0




*

.8

1
2
10
6
7

4.2
5.4
19.6
10.7
12.7

8

11.4

58
11 .0

62,5
67.6
47.1
60.7
65-5
53.8
57.3
54.3
50.0

1

75.0

15
25
24
34
36
71
47
38
2
302
57 .3

1

4.2

1

1.8

3
2

2.3
2.4

7
1 3

3
3
6
8
4
3
14
10
6
1

30.0
12.5
16.2
15-7
7.1

2
4
3

10.6
12.2
8.6
25.0

58
..............
11.0

10
1 9

4.2
5- 4
7.8
5.4

25.0

1

4.2

2

8.3

2
6

3-9
10.7

3
2

5-9
3.6

10
8
5

i

7.6
9.8
7.1

17
10
13
1

12.9
12.2
18.6
25.0

35
6 6

57
10.8

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Number and per cent who contributed of their earnings—

THE SHABE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

57

Irrespective of earnings, the figures in this table show that 57.3
per cent of the women and 63.4 per cent of the men contributed all
their earnings to their families. Contributing nothing were 11 per
cent of the women and 5.9 per cent of the men. This group of those
making no contribution is really hardly comparable with the other
groups, as it is composed entirely of men and women who were
not living with their immediate families or other near relatives
but were shifting for themselves.
One hundred per cent of the men and women who were living at
home contributed something to their families. If the 66 men and
82 women in this table who were not living at home are disregarded,
67.9 per cent of the women and 69.5 per cent of the men contributed
all their earnings.
A comparison between the proportions of men and of women in
each wage group who contributed all their earnings has little signifi­
cance for those receiving the lower wages, as there were such small
numbers in these groups. The wage groups above $11, however,
include more examples and can be considered to be significant to
a certain extent, although some of them are not of sufficient size
to form a basis for very definite conclusions. In the group earning
$25 a week or more a much larger proportion of men than of women
contributed all their earnings, but so few women (4) and so many
men (353) were in this earnings group that the percentages are
not comparable. It may be recalled, however, by referring to the
figures in Table 7 in earlier pages of this report, that 75.8 per cent
of the men earning $25 or more were fathers or husbands, which
accounts for the large percentage of men in this wage group who
contributed all their earnings.
As the amount contributed apparently depends so closely upon
not only the wage but the relationship to the family of the con­
tributor, the following arrangement of figures taken from Table 18
and Table 7 shows certain significant groups classified by family
relationship as well as by the proportion of men and women in
each wage group who were contributing all their earnings.
Table 19. Per cent of persons who contributed to the family all earnings, classified by
weekly earnmgs; and per cent in each earnings group, classified by family relationship.

Weekly earnings.

$12 and under $13..........
$13 and under $14..........
$14 and under $15___
*15 and under #17.50__
$17.50 and under $20__
$20 and under $25.
$25 and over.................

Per cent in each specified earnings group
Per cent persons
of all—
who contributed
all earnings form
of total in each Women who were— Men who were—
earnings group.
Hus­
Wives or Daugh­
bands or
Sons.
mothers.
ters.
Women.
Men.
fathers.
47.1
60.7
65.5
53.8
57.3
54.3
0)

1 Not computed, owing to small number involved.




50.0
47.1
50.0
39.1
53.3
57.1
76.5

16.1
26.6
34.2
22.5
42.5
34.7

C1)

79.4
69.6
63.2
73.3
54.3
64.2

C1)

6.3
3.8
30.0
31.1
45.7
55.6
75.8

87.5
96.2
67.5
67.1
53.6
42.3
21.9

58

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

In the lowest wage group ($12 and under $13), where about onehalf of both men and women contributed all earnings, the great
majority were sons and daughters, with the proportion of sons the
largest. In the next wage group ($13 and under $14) a considerable
proportion of the women (26.6 per cent) were wives or mothers,
which perhaps accounts for the greater proportion in this wage
group of women who contributed all earnings. On the other hand,
in the $15 to $17.50 wage group there was a smaller proportion of
wives or mothers among the women than of husbands or fathers
among the men, yet a considerably larger proportion of women
(53.8 per cent) than of men (39.1 per cent) contributed all their
earnings. In the next group the proportions of mothers or wives
and husbands or fathers are practically the same, but 57.3 per
cent of the women compared to 53.3 per cent of the men contributed
all earnings.
It is in these two wage groups, from $15 to $17.50 and from $17.50
to $20, that the status of the men and women in regard to family
relationship is most comparable, and it is striking to find that when
the men and women have practically the same relation to their
families, in both cases the proportion of women was greater than
the proportion of men contributing all their earnings. These men
and women were earning the same wage, there were, proportionately,
as many sons as daughters among them, yet a larger proportion of
women (55.1 per cent) than of men (46.5 per cent) were contributing
to their families the whole of their not too generous wage, from
$15 to $20 a week. These two wage groups are particularly signifi­
cant so far as the women are concerned, for they include 41.2 per
cent of all the women who reported on wages and family relationship.
Only 13.9 per cent of the women received more than $20, so that this
$15 to $20 wage represents the amount that the greatest number
of women are likely to be earning.
In the $20 to $25 earnings group, the last one for which the num­
ber of women included justifies comparison with the men, much the
same proportion of men and women contributed all their earnings,
but—and this is an important fact which carries out the inferences
drawn from the preceding groups—-the proportion of husbands or
fathers was very much larger than the proportion of wives or moth­
ers, and the proportion of daughters very much larger than that of
sons. Here again it seems to he not the relationship to the family but
the sex which finally influences the proportion of the wage which is
contributed to the family.
Family relationship and amount contributed.

In previous pages the relationship to the family of the men and
women under discussion has been considered. From figures pre­
sented it was shown that the largest group of men (43.7 per cent)



THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

59

were sons living with their parents, but that another large group (40
per cent) were husbands and fathers living with wives and children.
On the other hand, the women were concentrated in much larger
numbers in the group of daughters, 67.8 per cent of them being classi­
fied as daughters and only 15.4 per cent as wives and mothers.
The families of the men and women were about equal in size, but
there were proportionately more wage earners in the families of the
women than in those of the men, so that theoretically the women
need exert less effprt for the support of others.
The following Table 20, which shows the proportion of each indi­
vidual’s wage which was contributed to the family, classified by the
relation of the contributor to the family, throws light on this theory.
The figures in this table include only those men and women who lived
at home, as the amounts contributed by the 82 women and 66 men
who did not live at home and who gave information on this subject
were too irregular to permit of classification.
Table

20.—Percentage of weekly earnings contributed to the family, classified by rela­
tionship of contributor.
Persons who contributed—
Total re
porting.

tionship.

100 per
cent.

75 but less 50 but less 25 but less
Less than
100 per cent. 75 per cent. 50 per cent. 25 percent.

Indefinite
amount.

Num- Per Num- Per Num- Per Num- Per Num- Per Num- Per Num- Per
her. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. cent. cent. ber. cent.
Women:
Daughters...
Wives
or
mothers...
Other
women_
_

307

100

184

59.9

119

100

114

95.8

19

100

4

21.1

Total__

445

100

302

67.9

19

Husbands or
fathers___
Other men..

289

100

100

34.6

33

373
20

100
100

370
4

99.2
20.0

Total...

682

100

474

69.5

Men:

19

6.2

29

9.4

39

12.7

2

1.7

2

3

2.5

3

15.8

0.7

34

11.1

4

8

42.1

4.3

33

7.4

49

11.0

2

.4

40

9.0

11.4

43

14.9

56

19.4

7

2.4

50

17.3

4
33

21.1

20.0

1
7

.3
35.0

2

10.0

2
3

.5
15.0

47

6.9

64

9.4

9

1.3

55

8.1

4.8

This table shows that practically all women who were wives or
mothers and all men who were husbands or fathers contributed
their entire wage to the family budget. The fact that all except 5
of 119 women who were wives and mothers were contributing all
their wages to their families is particularly arresting in view of the
recent agitation which has arisen to relieve the unemployment situa­
tion among men by discharging all married women who, theoretically,
have husbands to support them. The injustice of the wholesale ap­
plication of this principle is apparent when the significance of these




60

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

figures is appreciated; 95.8 per cent of the women who were wives
or mothers and 99.2 per cent of the men who were husbands or fath­
ers turned over all their earnings to the support of their families.
Of course the number of women involved in these classifications is
very much smaller than the number of men, but the fact remains that
according to the figures obtained from this representative group of
industrial workers, those married women who are working in industry
are not doing it to provide comforts and luxuries for themselves, but
rather, to the utmost of their ability, are providing financial backing
for their families.
Figures for the sons and daughters, however, do not show so great
a similarity, for in these two groups a far greater proportion of women
(59.9 per cent) than of men (34.6 per cent) contributed the whole of
their earnings. In other words, even though there were more wage
earners in their families the women who were daughters were, in pro­
portion to their ability, contributing to a more complete extent than
were the men who were sons.
Age and amount contributed.

Although the size of the wage and the relationship to the family
have probably the most significant bearing upon the amount con­
tributed, the .age of the contributor also affects this amount to a cer­
tain extent. The following table, a summary of figures in Tables
VIII and IX in the appendix, shows the proportion in each age group
of all men and women and of sons and daughters who contributed all
their earnings to their families.
Table 21.—Per cent of all men and women and of sons and daughters in each age group
who contributed all their earnings.
All
women.

Age.
16 and under 18 years........
18 and under 20 years........
20 and under 25 years........
25 and under 30 years........
30 and under 40 years........
40 and under 50 years........
50 and under 60 years........
60 years and over...............
Total included.........
Per cent of total reporting.

.

Daugh­
ters.

All men.

76.4
G1.8
56.8
64.6
80.6
92.0
8S. 9
100.0

76.8
66.2
51.3
46.3
64.0
66.7
100.0

60.0
38.2
48.1
74.5
85.8
95.6
100.0
80.0

59.4
38.9
25.6
13.2
13.6
50.0

301
67.8

184
59-9

472
69.4

100
34.6

Sons.

This table shows a very interesting fluctuation in the proportion
of all men and women in each age group who were contributing all
their earnings. Of those who were under 25 years of age, a very
much larger proportion of women than of men turned over their
entire wage. Among those over 25 years of age the men assumed
the greater importance as contributors of all their earnings. This




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

61

is a natural result of the different marital status of tile groups. Of
the women 70.2 per cent but of the men only 44.1 per cent were
single, so that the larger percentage of men in the older groups who
contributed all their earnings can be credited to the greater propor­
tion of married men in those groups. For both men and women
under 25 it can be supposed that the great majority are single and
therefore the figures for the two groups arc more nearly comparable.
As already stated, these figures show that a very much greater pro­
portion of the young women contributed all their earnings, while
between the ages of 25 and 30 the men apparently increased their
contributions, probably because of marriage and the accompanying
assumption of obligations. After the age of 30 is reached the propor­
tions of all men and women who contribute all their earnings differ
very little, and in view of the small number included in the table
the differences are probably not very significant. The figures show­
ing the proportions of sons and daughters in each group who were
contributing all their earnings bear out the testimony of the more
general figures for all men and all women. In this connection it
must be remembered that the classification of "daughters” contains
a great majority (67.8 per cent) of the women included in this study,
while a large group of men (43.7 per cent) were classified as “sons”
(see p. 41). The very great difference in the proportion of their
earnings contributed by these two groups of men and women is
strikingly brought out in the foregoing figures, where it appears
that at every age the daughters far exceeded the sons in the propor­
tion of their wage contributed. The difference in the proportions
of daughters and sons in each age group who contributed all their
earnings is repeated in the difference in the proportions of all sons
and daughters who made such contribution and is evidence that that
difference is a representative one, which can be applied generally to
other large groups of single men and women.
More detailed figures in the appendix Table IX show that for the
men and women who contributed a certain definite amount but not
all of them earnings, a similar situation existed. In each age group
the proportions of men and women who contributed from $5 to $8
a week, or $10 or more, show certain significant variations, although
in many age groups the proportions are similar for the two sexes.
Of those who were between 25 and 30 years old, 2.1 per cent of the
men and 16.5 per cent of the women contributed between $5 and $8.
This difference is probably due to the larger percentage of men in
this age group who contributed all their earnings, for the proportion
in this group who contributed $10 or more was practically the same
for each sex. On the other hand, in the 18-to-20 and 20-to-25 years
groups—the ages at which so many more women than men were




62

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

contributing all their earnings—much larger percentages of men
than of women were contributing $10 or more. Of those who were
between 18 and 20 years old, 31.6 per cent of the men and only 9.2
per cent of the women contributed $10 or more, and of those who
were .between 20 and 25 years old, 24.1 per cent of the men and 12.9
per cent of the women contributed $10 or more.
Bearing in mind the great difference in the wage figures previously
given for the men and women, it is probable that for many of the men
a contribution of $10 or more very nearly, if not entirely, equaled
that of the women who contributed all their earnings. The fact
remains, however, that from the standpoint of the contributor, the
woman who contributes all her earnings even though they may be
only $8 or $9 a week is making more of a sacrifice than the man who
contributes $12 out of a weekly wage of $25. For the woman, in
the interest of her family, is giving up her economic independence,
while the man, even with his greater contribution, is still a free agent
when it comes to regulating his own expenditures, which can be
made from the surplus remaining after his contribution to the family
has been made.
That most older men and women have assumed the greatest
possible responsibility, as reflected in the great proportions of them
who contributed all their earnings, seems natural, even in view of the
large proportion of single women from whom figures were secured.
That the young women—girls from 16 to 20—in very much greater
proportions than young men, are assuming the fullest extent of
responsibility, is a more arresting situation. Youth, with its desire
for independence and self-expression, was calling as strongly to
these girls as to their brothers, yet custom and duty and responsibility
were calling, too, and the girl seems to have responded to the latter
more generally than has the boy.
Length of time contributing.

The foregoing discussion has been based on facts showing the
situation as it existed at the time of the investigation. But in many
cases the contributions had been going on for years. A contribution
of all earnings which was being made during a period of emergency
or for a short time only is, naturally, much less significant than a
contribution which has been made regularly for many years or for
the worker’s entire industrial career. Table 22 shows for the 251
women and 421 men who gave information on the subject, the length
of time they had been working and contributing all their earnings.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

63

Table 22.—Length of time contributing all earnings and length of time at work for
persons who had worked continuously since starting work.
MEN.
Number who reported that they had contributed all earnings—
Time at work.

Less than 6 months..............
6 months and under 1 year..
1 anrl under 2 years.............
2 and under 3 years...............
3 and under 4 years.............
4and under 5 years...............
5 and under 10 years.............
10 years and over...................
Total......................
Per cent distribution............

Total
6
report­ Not Under months 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and
10
ing.
at
6
and under under under under under years
2
3
4
5
and
10
all, months. under
1 year. years. years. years. years. years. over.
7
2
21
35
25
23
77
231

8
11
7
3
12
6

1
1

1
1

421
100.0

49
11.6

7
1.7

4
1.0

2

5

2
13
7
2

17

4
2

* 6
9
9

10

9

58

135

28
6.7

46
10.9

29
6.9

26
6.2

97
23.0

135
32.1

14
3
2
1
2

27
5
2

23
15

28

22
8.8

36
14.3

34
13.5

16
6.4

52
20.7

11.2

WOMEN.
Less than 6 months..............
6 months and under 1 year..
1 and under 2 years.............
2 and under 3 years.............
3 and under 4 years...............
4 and under 5 years...............
5 an d under 10 years...........
10 years and over..................

4
8
22
40
38
26
58
55

1
6
10
8
4
13
6

Total......................
Per cent distribution............

251
100.0

48
19.1

4
1

7
1

2
5
2.0

10
4.0

This table shows a very much larger proportion of men and women
who had contributed all their earnings at one period or another
than were contributing all at the time of the investigation. In fact
only 19.1 per cent of the women and 11.6 per cent of the men reported
that at no time had they contributed all their earnings. This leaves
80.9 per cent of the women and 88.4 per cent of the men who had at
some time contributed all, a considerably larger proportion than the
57.3 per cent of the women and 63.4 per cent of the men who, in
Table 18, were reported as contributing all their earnings at the time
of the investigation. It is important to notice in this connection
that while the largest group of women were those who had contributed
all their earnings for from 5 to 10 years, and the largest group of
men had contributed all earnings for 10 years or more, those figures
are weighted by the proportion of women and men in the table who
had worked from 5 to 10 years and 10 years or over. Of the women,
23.1 per cent had worked from 5 to 10 years and 21.9 per cent 10
years and over, while of the men only 18.3 per cent had worked from
5 to 10 years but 54.9 per cent had worked 10 years or over, so that
the largest proportion of men contributing all earnings would very
naturally fall into the 10-year-and-over class. As the proportion of
men and women in each other group was affected also to a certain
extent by a similar weighting, the following figures from Table X



64

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

in the appendix compare the figures for the two sexes in a more
accurate way.
Table 23.—Per cent of persons working each specified length of time who had contributed
all their earnings for the entire time they had been at work.

Per cent who had
contributed all
earnings for each
specified period.

Time at work.

Women.

Men.

100.0
87.5
63.6
67.5
60.5
53.8
63.8
50.9
Total

71.4
100.0
61.9
48.6
44.0
34.8
50.6
58.4

61.4

54.6

..........................................................................................

According to this table the men and women assume an entirely
different ratio when the length of time at work is considered. Of
those who had contributed 100 per cent of their earnings during 100
per cent of the time they had worked the women showed a greater
percentage (61.4) than the men (54.6). Even in this classification,
however, a considerably larger percentage of men (58.4) than of
women (50.9) who had worked ten years or more had contributed
all their earnings for the entire period.
Length of time contributing and conjugal condition.—Another
factor which might very materially affect the length of time during
which a contribution of all earnings is made, is the conjugal condition
of the contributor. It would be natural to suppose that the married
men and women would report a much longer period during which
contribution of all earnings had been made than would the single
men and women. Table 24 shows the figures on this subject as they
were reported by 386 women and 573 men.
Table 24.—Length of time contributing all earnings by conjugal condition of contributor.
Men.

Women.

Length of time contributing
all earnings.

Single.

Married.

Widowed,
separated,
or divorced.

Single.

Married.

Widowed,
separated,
or divorced.

Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per
ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.
Not at all..............................
6 months and under 1 year.
1 and under 2 years.............
2 and under 3 years............
3 and under 4 vears.............
4 and under 5 years.............
5 and under 10 year............
10 years and over.................
Total...........................




50
5
11
29
42
36
20
65
27

17.5
2. 1
3.8
10. 1
14. 7
12.6
7.0
22. 7
9.4

286 100.0

3
4
2
4
9
6
1
20
27

3.9
5.2
2.6
5.3
11. 8
7.9
1.3
26.3
35. 5

76 100.0

4

1
3
4
5
7

16.7

4.2
12.5
16.7
20.8
29. 2

24 100.0

70
9
4
31
46
24
19
47
12

26.7
3.4
1.5
11.8
17.6
9.2
7.3
17.9
4. 6

262 100.0

1

0.3

5
6
16
12
18
77
163

1.7
2.0
5.4
4.0
6.0
25.8
54. 7

1
1
4
8

7.7
7.7
30.8
61.5

298 100.0

13

100.0

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

65

This table emphasizes again the difference in the proportion of
single men and single women who contributed all their earnings.
The figures for those widowed, separated, or divorced are too small
to be significant for either the men or the women. The figures for
married men and women show that on the whole the married women
had contributed for a shorter period than had the married men,
54.7 per cent of the married men and only 35.5 per cent of the
married women having contributed all earnings for 10 years or more.
It must be remembered, however, that a much larger proportion of
married men (85.3 per cent) than of married women (62.1 per cent)
had worked 10 years or over. (See p. 52.)
The single men and women present a more satisfactory basis of
comparison, for it has already been shown (see p. 52) that these
groups had had practically similar periods of experience except for
those who had worked 10 years or more, where the proportion of
single men was 22.7 per cent and of single women 18.3 per cent.
Bearing in mind this similarity in length of time at work it is very
striking to find that 22.7 per cent of the single women and only 17.9
per cent of the single men had contributed all earnings for from
5 to 10 years and that 9.4 per cent of these women and only 4.6 per
cent of these men had contributed all earnings for 10 years or over.
At the other end of the scale, a larger proportion of single men
(26.7 per cent) than of single women (17.5 per cent) reported that
they had never contributed all of their earnings. However, although
quite a large proportion of both men and women reported that they
had contributed all earnings “not at all” this does not mean that
they had never contributed anything. It merely means that this
group had. always withheld part of their earnings for their own use.
Every man and woman, living at home, who reported during this
investigation and for whom these tables are compiled, was con­
tributing something at the time the study was being made.
Summary.
Briefly stated, the foregoing figures on the contributions to the
home of wage earning men and women outline the actual conditions
and the controlling factors as follows:
The burden of support of dependents does not, as a rule, fall upon
one wage earner alone. This is more true among women than
among men; but, generally speaking, for neither sex did most of the
dependents fall within the classification of total dependency. A
contribution of part or all earnings by several wage earners for the
support of the family is the more usual situation.
On the whole the men contributed more than the women. A
larger proportion of men than of women contributed all their earn­
ings, and a larger proportion of men than of women contributed




66

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

more than $10 a week. However, when the two factors which
mainly qualify contributions are considered—earnings and family
relationship—the findings are quite different. Although the men
contributed much larger amounts, in relation to the size of their
earnings the contributions of the two sexes were of practically the
same proportion. In every earnings group from $13 to $20, there
was a larger proportion of women than of men who contributed all
earnings. On the other hand, in the highest earnings group ($25
and over) a very much larger proportion of men contributed all
earnings, but there were practically no women in this group, and
the great majority of the men were husbands and fathers who
naturally contributed all earnings to the support of their families.
In two groups of men and women where relationship to family and
earnings were similar, the women contributed all their earnings to a
greater extent than did the men. Although the relationship to the
family was an important qualification, in the last analysis the sex of
the contributor seemed to have a great effect on the contribution,
and, when all other factors were allowed for, and comparable groups
of men and women were contrasted, the women were the more
extensive contributors.
In general, contributions became more extensive with increased
age of the contributors of both sexes. In every age group, however,
more daughters than sons contributed all earnings. At the younger
ages (less than 25) there was a greater proportion of women than of
men who contributed all earnings, while between the ages of 25 and
30 there was a greater proportion of men, and above 30 very similar
proportions of both sexes who contributed all earnings.
Also, contributing all earnings seems to be a more permanent
condition among women than among men, a larger percentage of
women than of men having contributed all earnings for the entire
time they had been at work.
Comparing single men and single women the women contributed
more extensively, both actually and relatively. Comparing married
men and women, relatively to their earnings, the two sexes con­
tributed the same proportion—practically all. Actually, however,
the married men contributed larger amounts than did the married
women.




SECTION III. THE FAMILY.
1. DESCRIPTION OF THE FAMILIES FROM WHOM INFORMATION WAS
SECURED.

In addition to the extensive material which was collected in Man­
chester relating to the individual status of the men and women, an
intensive study was made of a more limited number of families. In
making this study it was the intention to show as a unit the complete
family of the average wage-earning man or woman. In order to do
this accurately the actual wage received for the year by each wage
earner in the family was recorded. As may be imagined, there were
many difficulties attendant upon securing such figures. When a
wage earner in a family had worked in more than one place during
the year it was necessary to get from the pay roll of each place of
employment a record of the number of weeks worked and the wage
paid. Sometimes, after this record had been secured for two or three
in a family it was found that for another wage earner it was impossi­
ble to get the yearly record, because he or she had worked in another
town or because, during some period in the year, record of employ­
ment could not be traced. In such cases the family was excluded
from further consideration, although such individual records as were
obtained were used in the earlier section of this study. The figures
discussed in this section are for those families only in which the entire
yearly record for each wage earner was secured.
Number of families.
Table 25 shows the number of families from which information
was secured, number of wage earners in these families, and whether
there was another source of income than the earnings of the various
wage earners.
Table 25.—Families

from which records were obtained, classified by size of family,
number of wage earners, and whether or not having other source of income.
Families
reporting.

Size of family.

3 persons...........................
4 persons...........................

8 persons...........................
10' or more'persons...........

Total.................. .

Number of families with—

1
2
Num­ Per wage wage
ber. cent. earn­ earn­
er.
ers.

3
wage
earn­
ers.

4
wage
earn­
ers.

5
wage
earn­
ers.

Other income.*
6 or
more
wage
earn­
ers.

Yes.

No.

12
6

97

20
441

14.6
22.2
18.3
14. 2
10. 7
7. 8
4.4
3.1
4.6

48
60
34
32
18
9
5
5
2

31
52
38
21
16
9
1
4
4

8
21
13
13
9
4
3
6

6
10
10
8
7
3
6

7
6
2
4

3

7
3
1
4

641 100.0
100.0

213
39. 1

176
32.5

77
14.2

50
9.2

21
3.9

0.7

2 4

8 55

79
120
99
77
58
42
24
17
25

1
1

Not
re­
ported.

1

21
45

1 In connection with this inquiry it was learned that 26 families owned their homes, 2 owned farms, 6
were receiving rentals, 4 had boarders or lodgers, 3 had savings in bank, and 2 received insurance benefits.
2 One of these families had 7 wage earners, the other three had 6.
8 Amount reported in only 15 cases.




67

68

THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Of the 541 families included in this table, the greatest number (120,
or 22.2 per cent) consisted of three persons, but there were 18.3 per
cent of the families with four persons and between 14 and 15 per cent
each with two persons and with five persons.
For the entire group, the average size of the family was 4.69.
This is a much smaller average family than was indicated by the
returns on family relationships detailed in Table 6 where it is shown
that the average number of persons in the families of the women
reporting was 5.64 and in those of the men 5.15. This difference
in size is accounted for by the fact that it was much easier to secure
complete wage figures in families in which there were only one or
two wage earners, and therefore these families predominate in the
group discussed here. In all, 71.9 per cent of the families had one
or two wage earners. The fact that as many as 108 families (20 per
cent) had seven or more members indicates, however, that the
problem of the large family has not been overlooked, although the
group as a whole represents smaller families than the average among
all wage earners.
In the main, these 541 families were dependent for support upon
the wages of their working members. In 55 instances (10.2 per cent)
there was some other definite income reported, but in the majority
of cases this income was very small. Sometimes- it was interest on
Liberty bonds, sometimes it was sickness insurance or accident
compensation, sometimes it was rent from roomers, or board from
boarders. In few cases did it. amount to very much and it was
seldom possible to discover the exact amount. For this reason
special consideration is not given here to the income of the families
other than that of which records could be secured accurately from the
pay rolls of the places of employment of the various wage earners.
These 541 families were the units around which this study was
built. Among them were 1,126 wage earners whose records were
included in the foregoing discussion of earnings and contributions of
individuals. It is therefore possible to consider that, although some­
what smaller than the average, these families are otherwise repre­
sentative of the families of the wage earners whose problems are
discussed in this report.
Qualifications of the material collected.
In considering the most significant facts about the families—the
earnings and contributions of the wage-earning members—it is im­
portant to remember certain qualifications of the material gathered
and of the method of making deductions from it.
In the first place, a very definite line must be drawn between the
earnings and the contributions of the various members of the family.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

69

In discussing figures relating to these subjects it is extremely easy to
confuse the two amounts and thus to lead to unsound conclusions.
In preparing the material for this report emphasis has been laid on
the need for an accurate statement of amount contributed in addition
to the figures on actual earnings. Where such a statement has not
been forthcoming, the person has been recorded as “not reporting.”
In this way much chance has been eliminated of over or under esti­
mating the contributions of the different members of the family.
In considering the family as a unit in its relationship to the respon­
sibility of the men and women wage earners, it is necessary to be able
to visualize this family in more than one way. The first considera­
tion is its financial status, which can be estimated by the wage­
earning capacity of the working members—in other words, “the
family earnings”; second, the size of the family in relation to these
earnings; third, the source of these earnings; and, fourth, the
amounts which are contributed and retained by the different wage
earners in the family.
The fourth of these questions has been the most difficult to answer.
In making this investigation each member of e, family was not inter­
viewed even when his or her wage record for the year was obtained.
In the majority of cases one or two members of the family were
interviewed while at work. They would tell of the names and occu­
pations of other working members of the family. From then places
of employment the wage records of these other members would then
be secured by the agents of the Women’s Bureau, and any incidental
information which had been given in the first interview would be
recorded. In many cases this information, given by a third person,
was not considered detailed nor reliable enough for inclusion with
the other figures in this report, and therefore has been discarded.
What information is given here is the fullest that could be secured,
and in each case has passed careful scrutiny for accuracy and
completeness.
Financial status of the families.
The size of the total yearly earnings in these families depended
upon two things—the number of wage earners and the size of their
wages. The range of “family” earnings was very considerable, as
is shown in Table 26.




70

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table 26.'—Total year’s earnings offamilies, classified by size offamily.
Total
families
reporting

Number of families having—

Total year’s earnings.
2 in 3 in 4 in 5 in 6 in 7 in 8 in 9 in
Num­ Per fam- fam­ fam­ fam­ fam- fam­ fam­ fam­ in10 or
more
ber. cent.
ay- ily. ily. ily. ay. ily. ily. ily. family.
Under ?900...................................
$1,500 and under $1'800...............
$1,800 and under $2,100..............
$2,100 and under $2,400...............
$2,400 and under $2,700..............
$3,300 and under $3.600...............

Total...................................

30
47
90
104
68
60
39
20
26
14
12
9
6
5
3
3
1
1
3

5.5
8.7
16. 6
19.2
12.6
11.1
7.2
3.7
4.8
2.6
2.2
1.7

14
12
20
13
9
2
8

1

10
12
32
25
14
15
8
3
1

3

1.1
.9

1

.6
.6
.2
.2
.6

541 100.0

4
7
13
23
18
13
8
3
4
2

1
6
11
15
12
12
6
3
3
1
2
2
2
1

1
6
6
10
G
8
3
3
8
2
1
2
2

1
3
6
4
7
2
3
3
6
2
2
2

2
2
3
1
1
2
1
2
2
3
2

i
1

79

120

99

77

58

1
1

42

24

3
5
2
1
1
2
i

1
4
2

i
1
3
3
1
3
2

1
1
17

1

2
i
25

This table shows that in the different families the combined
yearly earnings of all wage earners varied from less than $900 to
over $6,000, with the largest proportion of families (19.2 per cent)
having earnings between $1,500 and $1,800. Smaller sums were
reported for 30.8 per cent of the families whose earnings fell below
$1,500. In all, just half of the families had earnings of less than
$1,800 a year, while 39.4 per cent had earnings between $1,800 and
$3,300.
This is a record of considerably higher earnings than was presented
for a group of 112 Manchester families who were included in the cost
of living survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in
1918.10 In this survey the families “were selected to represent wage
earners and the low or medium salaried families of the locality,”
with the result that 83 per cent of those included had an annual
income of less than $1,800. The figures for these families were
collected during the year ending between July 31 and November 30,
1918, approximately a year before those gathered by the Women’s
Bureau. This would account to a certain extent for the smaller
incomes presented in the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, as wages
were still on the upward curve at that time and the Manchester
wage earners probably experienced an increase of wages during the
periods of the two investigations. At the same time, however, the
cost of living also increased, so the difference in financial status of
the families in the two studies is somewhat equalized. In spite of
19 Monthly Labor Review. Cost of living in the U. S., Vol. VIII, No. 5, p. 147, May, 1919.




THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

71

these qualifications it seems certain that the group of families for
whom records were secured by the Women’s Bureau were much
better off financially than those considered by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. It is quite possible that the figures secured by the Women’s
Bureau are representative of the financial standing of a more limited
group. The wage earners in these families were almost all employed
in shoe factories, an organized industry with a higher rate of pay than
in the textile mills, where a very large majority of Manchester wage
earners are employed. Figures published by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics on wages in the boot and shoe and cotton goods manu­
facturing industries leave no doubt that the rates prevailing in the
boot and shoe industry are very much higher than those in cotton
goods manufacturing.11 For that reason alone the wage data pre­
sented here would show a considerable difference. Also, except for
the fact that they were all families of shoe workers, the families were
in no way selected nor was the size of the year’s earnings allowed to
exclude any. The only essential for inclusion was that records of all
wage earners should be available. On this basis it would seem that
the $1,370.83 detailed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the cost
of living for the average family in Manchester in 1918 was considerably
exceeded by the standards of the 541 families studied by the Women’s
Bureau.
In spite of the comparatively high financial status of the families
studied it is striking to see the number of large families in the lower
earnings groups. There were 6 or more members in 10 of the 47
families whose earnings were between $900 and $1,200, in 14 of the
90 families whose earnings were between $1,200 and $1,500, and in
28 of the 104 families with earnings between $1,500 and $1,800.
In order to secure a more exact rating of the families according to
size and earnings, a compilation has been made of the per capita
earnings of each family. This amount was arrived at by dividing
the total family earnings by the total number of persons in the
family. Even this does not give an altogether accurate picture of the
financial status of the family, for the family earnings do not necessarily
mean the amount devoted to the support of the family, as further
figures will show. In many cases where all wage earners contribute
to the family all of their earnings, family earnings and family income
are identical, but in others contribution of all earnings is not made by
every member of the family. The following figures on per capita
earnings are, therefore, only an indication of the relative prosperity
of the different families.
11 TL S. Dept, of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and hours of labor in the boot and shoe
industry, 1907 to 1918. Bui. No. 260, Nov., 1919. Wages and hours of labor in cotton goods manufacturing
and finishing, 1918. Bui. No. 262, Nov., 1919.

38783°—23----- 6




72

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table 27.—Per capita family earnings, classified by total family earnings.
Number of families with each specified amount per capita.

Total
Family earnings or the year. number $100
of fam­ and
ilies. under
$150.

$2,700 and under $3^000..........

Total..............................
Per cent distribution..............

30
47
90
104
68
60
39
20
26
14
12
9
6
5
3
3
1
1
3

1
4

541
100.0

6
1.1

1

$150
and
under
$200.

$200
and
under
$250.

$250
and
under
$300.

$300
and
under
$350.

$350
and
under
$400.

7
8
7
10
2

5
8
9
4
3
1
1
1

4
3
9
11
3
2
1
2
1
1

3
5
10
13
7
7
2
3

4
7
2
12
11
8
2
1
3

2

1
1

$400
and
under
$450.
6
16
15
1
8
3
3
2
2
1
i

$450
and
under
$500.

6
17
12
4
2
3
1
4
3

1
2

34
6.3

32
5.9

37
6.8

52
9.6

52
9.6

58
10.7

55
10.2

Number of families with each specified amount per capita.
Family earnings for the year.

$500
and
under
$050

$550
and
under
$600.

3

3

11
6
2
4

14

8
2
1

11
3
2
1
2
2
1

$600
and
under
$650.

$650
and
under
$700.

$700
and
under
$750.

10

2

8

6

8

5

3
2
1
1

2
1
2
1

2

11
1
1

$750
and
under
$800.

$800
and
under
$850.

$850
and
under
$900.

5

5

3

3

5

4
3
1
2

38
7.0

39
7.2

27
5.0

i

2

1

3
1
1

1
1

1

1
Total..............................
Per cent distribution.............

1
2

9
2
8
4
1

20
3.7

22
4.1

17
3.1

1

13
2.4

10
1.8

29
5.3

These figures show that in relation to the number of persons in the
family the earnings were fairly high. In only about one-fifth (20.1
per cent) of the families were the per capita earnings less than $300
a year, while in 40.1 per cent the per capita earnings were between
$300 and $500. Five hundred dollars or more were the per capita
earnings in 39.7 per cent of the families and $650 or more in 20.5
per cent.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

73

Considering both the total earnings and the size of the families,
those under discussion had incomes decidedly above the average.
Therefore the figures on contributions which are presented here may
be considered to represent the subject under the most favorable con­
ditions. In families where the financial condition is not so satis­
factory it is probable that the contributions of sons and daughters
are even more extensive.
Number of wage earners.
As the relative size of the family earnings is affected by the number
in the family who must live on those earnings, so is the significance
of the earnings themselves affected by the number of persons whose
efforts have gone to accumulate these yearly sums. It certainly
bears a very significant relationship to the constituency of the
family to know whether the $1,800 of earnings, which forms its
financial background, is earned by one or three persons, and details
on this subject are given in Table 28, which shows the distribution
of wage earners among the different earnings groups.
Table

28.—Total yearly earnings of families, classified by number of wage earners.

Family earnings.

Number of families with—
Total
number
of
families. 1 wage 2 wage 3 wage 4 wage 5 wage 6 wage 7 wage
earner, earners. earners. earners. earners. earners. earners.

Under $900.....................
$900 and under $1,200...
$1,200 and under $1,500.
$1,500 and under $1,800.
$1,800 and under $2,100.
$2,100 and under $2,400.
$2,400 and under $2,700.
$2,700 and under $3,000.
$3,000 and under $3,300.
$3,300 and under $3,600.
$3,600 and under $3,900.
$3,900 and under $4,200.
$4,200 and under $4,500.
$4,500 and under $4,800.
$4,800 and under $5,100.
$5,100 and under $5,400.
$5,400 and under $5,700.
$5,700 and under $6,000.
$6,000 and over..............

31
46
96
106
76
63
31

Total....................

541

28
38
71
56
15
5

20

17
13
13
7

2
8

1

19
40
44
38
18
5

6
8

16
19
11
11

1
1

2

176

77

1

2

6

5
3
3

1

1
3
213

1

This table shows what would naturally be expected—that generally
speaking, the higher the family earnings the greater was the number
of wage earners. It is important to note, however, the range of
income among the families with each specified number of wage
earners. Less than $900 a year were the family earnings in 28
families with one wage earner, in two families with two, and in one
family with three wage earners. The maximum earnings for families
with one wage earner were between $2,100 and $2,400, for families




74

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EAR,XING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

with two wage earners between $3,300 and $3,600, and for families
with three wage earners between $3,600 and $3,900. A similar but
even greater range is found for the families with four or five wage
earners, while all those with six wage earners had earnings of over
$4,500. In more general terms, however, it can be said that in the
great majority of families whose earnings were less than $1,500
there was only one wage earner; two wage earners usually, and often
three wage earners, were present in families with incomes between
$1,500 and $2,700; three or four wage earners were the rule in families
with earnings between $2,700 and $3,600; and in families with earn­
ings over $3,600 there were practically always four, often five, and
occasionally six, wage earners.
The average number of wage earners in all families was 2.1, which
is smaller than the average for the larger group of individuals dis­
cussed in earlier sections of this report (p. 40). This difference is
unavoidable because the type of information presented for the 541
families studied was extremely difficult to get completely for the
larger households. One of the most striking facts about the families
studied was the small number of adults who were not wage earners.
Except for the women who were wives or mothers the number of
nonwage-eaming adults was negligible. Only 3.7 per cent of the
fathers, 3.4 per cent of the sons, and 5 per cent of the daughters, in
contrast to 74.1 per cent of the wives or mothers, were not wage
earners.
Table 29.—Number of 'persons

at work and per cent earning proportionate share offamily
earnings, classified by number of wage earners in family.
Number of persons in families with each specified number of wage earners
who were—
Husbands or fathers.

Number of wage
earners.

One............................

Five...........................

Total...............

Total
num­
ber of
fami­
lies.

Wives or mothers.

Sons.

Number who
were working.
Total.
num­
ber.

Number who
were working.

Number who
were working.

Total
Per
num­
cent
ber.
Total. earning
propor­
tionate
share.1

Total
Per
num­
cent
ber.
Total. earning
propor­
tionate
share.1

Per
cent
Total. earning
propor­
tionate
share.1

213
176
77
50
21
3
1

187
145
62
45
20
3
1

184
139
57
43
19
3
1

100.0
93.5
87.7
90.7
89.5
100.0
100.0

212
170
73
49
20
3
1

9
96
21
8
3

100.0
6.3
42.9
25.0
33.3

10
49
73
64
33
7
1

541

463

446

95.1

528

137

19.7

237

9
46
71
62
33
7
1
229 -

100.0
41.3
40.8
54.8
42.4
85.7
100.0
48.9

i “Proportionate share” is considered to be at least one-half where there are 2 wage earners, one-third
where there are 3, and so on.
.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table

75

29.—Number of persons at work and per cent earning proportionate share offamily
earnings, classified by number of wage earners in family—'Continued.
Number of persons in families with each specified number of wage earners
who were—
Daughters.

Total
num­
ber.

One................

Total................

Other females.

Number who
were working.

Number of wage earners.

Three..........
Four...............
Five...................
Six...........
Seven.............

Other males.
Number who
were working.

Number who
were working.

Total
Per
num­
cent
ber.
Total. earning
propor­
tionate
share.1

Total
Per
num­
cent
earning ber.
Total.
propor­
tionate
share.1

Per
cent
Total. earning
propor­
tionate
share.1

11
62
79
87
49
9
5

11
58
76

100.0
29.3

8
5

12.5
20.0

302

287

31.7

5
8

4

50.0
100.0
50.0
33.3

12
29
10
4
1

9
4
2
1

22.2
50.0
60.0

54.5

56

16

31.3

Whelre thl?er ar0?3*eandaso o£ con3idered t01,0 at loast one-haI1 where th<5re are 2 wage earners, one-third

Evidently the families under consideration were not called upon
to decide who should go out to work. Everyone worked as a matter
of course. Even the wives and mothers who are shown not to have
been working for wages can be considered to be gainfully employed,
as their services in the home were in most cases as indispensable as
the financial contributions made by other members of the family.
Generally speaking, then, it can be said that the family earnings
were usually the product of the work of the husbands or fathers, sons
and daughters, and sometimes also of the mothers or wives. These
groups, however, did not assume the same importance as amassers of
the family earnings. For instance, in families where there were
three wage earners 87.7 per cent of the working husbands or fathers
earned at least one-third of the family earnings. Among the other
groups of wage earners in these families only 42.9 per cent of the
women who were wives or mothers, 40.8 per cent of the men who
were sons, and 30.3 per cent of the women who were daughters earned
then- third of the family earnings. This does not reflect on the
responsibility or conscientiousness of the mothers, wives, sons, and
daughters, but is merely an indication of their relative importance
in the family as breadwinners. In all of the families studied a pro­
portionate share of the family earnings was made by 95.1 per cent
of the husbands or fathers, 19.7 per cent of the wives or mothers,
48.9 per cent of the sons, and 31.7 per cent of the daughters. These
figures show that as potential contributors to the family maintenance




76

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

the husbands and fathers ranked first and by far the most important,
then came the sons, then the daughters* and last the wives and
mothers. Other relatives, such as mothers and fathers in law, nieces,
nephews, or grandchildren, were not found in sufficient numbers to
warrant their consideration as special groups in the family.
2. THE SOURCES OF FAMILY INCOME AND EARNINGS.

With a definite location of the size of the family and of the impor­
tance of the different members of the family as potential contributors,
the next step in formulating a conclusion as to the actual amount of
responsibility assumed by each group is to study the relation to the
total family earnings of the amount contributed by each member of
the family. Unfortunately, it was not possible to secure figures
showing the yearly contributions made by the persons included in
this study. In many cases the usual weekly amount contributed
was recorded, but it was obvious that during periods of unemploy­
ment or under-employment this contribution must be discontinued
or at least diminished, and it was seldom possible for the worker to
tell accurately what were the changes in the contributions made
during such periods. For this reason yearly contributions for indi­
viduals were not secured, but have been estimated to be the same
percentage of the yearly earnings as the weekly contribution was of
the weekly earnings. Thus if a girl who was earning an average
weekly wage of $10 reported that she contributed to her family $8
a week, she has been listed as contributing 80 per cent of her earnings.
If she had worked 40 weeks and her year’s earnings had amounted to
$400, her year’s contribution to the family would be estimated to be
80 per cefit of $400, or $320. This is not an absolutely accurate
figure, but as the weekly contributions were recorded only when
they were reported to be made regularly the result of such a compu­
tation should be fairly representative.
The relationship between income and earnings.
In the comparatively few families for whom this computation was
possible the indications are that the family earnings are often dif­
ferent from the famiiy income. Many wage earners held back a
considerable amount of their wages, and contributed to the family
only a stated sum each week. The families for which complete
information was obtained are listed in the following table, and the
figures given there show that the family earnings and family income
are by no means identical.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table 30.— Total family

77

earnings, total contributions tofamily, and amounts contributed
by the various members of the family.

Fathers.
Mothers.
Sons.
Daughters.
Fam­ Num­ Total Total
ily ber in
earn­ con­
num­ fam­ ings.1 tribu­ Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount
ilyber.
tions.1 earned. contrib­ earned. contrib­ earned. contrib­ earned. contrib­
uted.
uted.
uted.
uted.
1.........

9

2.........

8

*3,472 14,245

$1,818

3,233

1,256

8 4,568 3,910
4 24,015 22,839
5 3,903 2,221

1,075
1,430
1,155

1,075
1,430
1,155

6.........

7

3,890

3,890

1,338

8

3,858

3,858

1,239

8.........

5

3,779

2,462

1,137

1,513
1,406

982
820

376
415

619

1,239

1,513
1,406

619
398

1,338

7.........

$509
479

1,256

3.........
4.........
5.........

$996
902

$1,818

1,137

5,359

$1,053

$1,053

9.........

11

3,624

2,672

1,259

1,259

875

494

10.......

7

3,577

1,508

628

628

830

275

11.......

8

3,559

3,308

1,492

1,492

12.......
13.......
14.......

6
5
6

3,314
3,292
3,278

2,347

3,292
2,528

1,432
1,306
868

1,432
1,306
868

717
721
1,159
1,204
702
896

637
721
194
1,204
545
810

15.......
16.......

3
6

3,262
3,197

3,262
2,429

966
1,261

966
1,261

1,183

416

17.......

7

3,080

3,080

1,389

1,389

18.......
19.......
20.......
21.......
22.......
23.......
24.......
25.......
26.......
27.......
28.......

3

2
3
4
6
4
4
3
6
7

2,662
2, 498
2', 487
2, 378
2,314
2,300
2,297
2, 261
2, 228
2,221
2,212

2,640
2,220
2,487
2,378
1,433
2,300
2,297
1,528
1,880
2,221
2,212

978
1,477
1,712
1,174
1,088
1,701
1,166
1,545
1,727
1,459

978
1,477
1,712
1,174
1,088
1,701
1,166
1,545
1,727
lr459

800
514

779
514

1,139

259

992
’493‘

259
’493"

29.......

4

2,202

1,261

793
467
940

793
109
349

30.......
31.......
32.......
33.......
34.......
35.......
36.......
37.......
38.......
39.......
40.......
41.......
42___
43......
44.......
45.......
46.......

3
3
7
5

1,238
1,198
1,460

1,238
1,198
1,460

476
665
489

1,306

1,306

476
665
903
1,146

1,371

1,371

5

4

4
3
4
4
9
3

4
2
4
4
7

4

2,166 2,166
2,159 1,587
2,140 2,140
2,125 2,125
2,050
978
2,038 2,038
21,971 21,971
1,913 1,913
1,904 1,904
1,902 1,415
1,868 1,371
1,845 1,845
1,823 1,823
1,821 1,719
1,767 1,767
1,754 1,754
1,751 1,186

1,193
1,613
1,424
1,364
1,417
1,343

822

822

1,009
665

1,009
665

595
752

732
’54l"

595
752

732
*54i'

1,193
1,613
1,424
1,364
1,417
1,343

549
232
399

549
232
399

349
411

349
411

1 Sum of details does not equal totals because fractions of dollars were disregarded*




$1,065
690
729
1,278
1,266
829
573

$805
634
449
509
520
499
573

945
335
603
712
786
814
927
893
821
699
790
1,316
802
560
789

275
335
603
712
786
814
254
250
821
439
480
311
294
560
619

782
811

782
305

1,021

1,021

1,274
752
660
476
555
1,039
1,006

1,274
752
660
476
555
1,039
728

719
492

719
492

103
682

103
335

1,172
993
920
464

1,172
993
349
464

1,051

1,051

1,075
829
709
739
579

......
075

910
840

611
575

829
222

407
415

78

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Table 30.— Total family earnings, total contributions tofamilyand amounts contributed
by the various members of the family—Continued.
Mothers.
Sons.
Daughters.
Fathers.
Fam- Num­ Total Total
uy ber in
con­
num­ fam­ earn­ tribu­ Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount
ings. tions.
ilyber.
earned. contrib­ earned. contrib­ earned. contrib­ earned. contrib­
uted.
uted.
uted.
uted.
3 *1,723 21,723
3 1,664 1,063
6 1,643 1,643
3 1,623 1,623
4 1,603 1,603
6 1,555 1,555
9 1,529 1,529
11 1,523 1,523
3 21,336 21,336
3 1,167 1,167

784

784

1,120
1,243
1,511
1,420

1,120
1,243
1,511
1,420

380
92
134

380
92
134

1,045

1,045

477

477

920

920

246

246

976
523

664
523

687

399

338

f
338 \

644
546

644
546

1,088

1,088

2 Difference between sum and details represents amounts contributed by members of households other
than parents and children.

The 56 families listed here are not entirely representative of the
average wage earner’s family as detailed in other sections of this re­
port where more comprehensive material is presented. Because of
the difficulty in securing complete data it is only natural that an
abnormal proportion of families with few wage earners should be
found among these families from whom the most complete data have
been secured. Of the 56 families here discussed 28, or exactly onehalf, had two wage earners; in 16 of these families the two wage
earners were husband or father and wife or mother. Of the 541 fami­
lies for whom complete year’s earnings were recorded 87, or less than
one-sixth, had wage earners comprising only the husband or father
and the wife or mother. In such families it is the normal and natural
thing for the husband or father and wife or mother to contribute all of
their earnings to the family. In fact, all but one of the husbands and
fathers and all of the wives and mothers who reported on the amount
contributed to the family stated that they were in the habit of con­
tributing their entire earnings to meet the needs of their families.
In view of this fact it is not surprising to find that of the 31 families
listed as having identical total earnings and total contributions, 15
were families in which there were only two wage earners, and that in
those 15 families the two wage earners were husband or father and
wife or mother.
In the 25 families where the earnings and contributions were not
identical the percentage of earnings contributed to the family ex­
chequer varied all the way from 42.2 to 99.2. The greatest number
of families, nine, were found to have contributions amounting to be­
tween 70 and 80 per cent of the total earnings. In six families con­
tributions amounted to between 60 and 70 per cent of the total earn­
ings. There seems to be no definite relationship between the size of




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

79

the family earnings and the proportion of those earnings which is con­
tributed to form the family budget. Families with annual earnings
of over $3,000 were found in which every wage earner contributed to
the family 100 per cent of his or her earnings, while a similar situation
was found to exist in families whose year’s earnings amounted to only
$1,500 or $1,600.
Effect of per capita year’s earnings on contributions.
The really significant fact which seems to affect the amount of
earnings contributed is the per capita year’s earnings. The total
year’s earnings divided by the number of persons in a family, wage
earners and nonwage-eamers, gives some estimate of the standard of
living which it is possible to maintain. It is obvious that a year’s
earnings of $3,000 in a family of three will permit a considerably
higher standard than a year’s earnings of $5,000 in a family of 11.
The per capita year’s earnings is the real standard by which the well­
being of a family can be judged. On this basis the following table
becomes especially significant:
31 —Per cent offamily earnings contributed, 56 families for which complete
information was available, arranged according to per capita earnings offamilies.

Table

Per capita income.

Year’s earnings:
$1,243.50.....................................
1,087.33....................
1,071.80...........
1,003. 75.....................
944. 75..............................
911.50...................................
887.33.................................
792.66..........................
780.60.......................
742.67............................
722. 00.........................
719.67................
658. 40............................
657.00.................................
622. 00................
668.00...................
578.50..................
576.75..............................
574.33...................
571.00...............................
565. 25..............................
555.71...................
554.67...............................
552. 33.................................
550. 50...................
546.33..............................
541. 00.......................
532.83........................................

Per cent
of family
earnings
contrib­
uted.

Per capita income.

100.0
100.0
60.3
70.7
65.1
100.0
99.2
100.0
56.9
84.4
100.0
73.5
100.0
100.0
73.4
77.6
61.9
100.0
100.0
83.4
67.6
100.0
63.9
70.8
56.8
77.1
100.0
75.9

Year’s earnings—Continued.
8512.50
511.00
509.50
499.60.
482.25 .
478. 25
476.00
461.25..
455.25
445.33..
444,87
441.75 .
440.00
437.75.
425.00.......
400.75...
389.00..
383.33...
370.15
329.45..
316.00...
305.71
273.83
259.16.......
250.57.........
211.33...
169.88...
138.45_
_
-

Per cent
of family
earnings
contrib­
uted.

47.7
42.4
100.0
88.9
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
94.4
100.0
92.9
100.0
100.0
67.7
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
73.7
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
74.4
100.0
100.0

Recording to the figures given in this table it would seem that in
families where the earnings per capita amount to more than $500 a
year the total amount of earnings is not usually contributed to the
family; but when the earnings per capita are less than $500 a con­



80

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

tribution of all earnings is usually made by each wage earner. This
indicates very clearly that in the average family studied here a load
of $500 a year, approximately $10 a week, must be carried for each
member before the wage earners who are responsible for the family
maintenance can feel free to keep for their own uses a part of their
wages. The following short Table 32 gives additional evidence of the
relationship between the financial status of the family and the pro­
portion of individual earnings contributed. In this table are pre­
sented figures for all sons and daughters who reported the proportion
of their earnings contributed in families for which it was possible to
estimate the per capita family earnings.
Table

32.—Per cent of their earnings contributed by sons and by daughters in families
with per capita earnings of less than $500 and of $500 or more.
Number and per cent who were contrib­
uting of their earnings—
Per capita family earnings.

Total
report­
ing.

Less than 100 per
cent.

100 per cent.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Less than $500:
Sons...........................................................................
Daughters..................................................................
$500 or more:
Sons............................................................................
Daughters..................................................................

69
88

35
25

50.7
28.4

34
63

49.3
71.6

57
73

36
34

63.2
46.6

21
39

36.8
53.4

This table includes no figures for the mothers or wives, husbands or
fathers, in the families considered. It has already been stated that
practically 100 per cent of the men and women in these relationships
to the families contributed all their earnings irrespective of the finan­
cial standing of the family or of any other factor. The sons and
daughters, however, showed no such unanimity. The amount of
the family earnings and the size of the family seem to have had a
very definite effect upon the proportion of their individual wage
which was contributed to the family budget. Of the sons in the
families with per capita earnings of less than $500, 49.3 per cent con­
tributed all their earnings, while in the families with per capita
earnings of $500 or more only 36.8 per cent of the sons contributed
all their earnings. A similar situation existed among the daughters,
for whom it was reported that, in the families with per capita earnings
of less than $500, 71.6 per cent contributed all their earnings, and in
the families with per capita earnings of $500 or more 53.4 per cent
contributed all their earnings. The fact that in more than one-half of
the 541 families included in this study the per capita earnings were
less than $500 (see Table 27) indicates what has already been shown
in earlier pages of this study—that in a very considerable proportion



THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

81

of families all tlie wage earners Drobably are in the habit of contrib­
uting all their earnings.
Contributions and earnings of sons and daughters.
Whatever their earnings might be it has already been shown that
the husbands or fathers and wives or mothers were almost univer­
sally in the habit of contributing all to the maintenance of their
families. The relation between the contributions and the earnings
of the sons and daughters was a more variable factor. Table 33
compares the proportions of the family earnings which were earned
and which were contributed by the members of these two groups.
Table

33.—Proportion of family earnings which was earned and proportion which was
contributed by sons and by daughters.
Number and per cent of sons for
whom proportion of family earn­
ings specified was—

Per cent of family earnings.

Earned.
Num­
ber.

Under 5 per cent.....................
5 and under 10 per cent..........
10 and under 15 per cent........
15 and under 20 ber cent........
20 and under 25 per cent........
25 and under 30 per cent........
30 and under 35 per cent........
35 and under 40 per cent........
40 and under 45 per cent........
45 and under 50 uer cent........
50 and under 55 per cent........
55 and under 60 per cent........
60 and under 65 per cent........
65 and under 70 per cent........
70 and under 75 per cent........
75 and under 80 per cent........
80 and under 85 per cent........
85 and under 90 per cent........
90 and under 95 per cent........
95 and under 100 per cent.......

Contributed.

Per
cent.

1
4
6
17
27
12
19
12
12
3
4
4

0.8
3.2
4.8
13.6
21.6
9.6
15.2
9.6
9.6
2.4
3.2
3.2

1
2
1
125

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

1
20
15
31
21
ii
10
6
3
2

0.8
16.0
12.0
24. 8
16.8
8.8
8.0
4.8
2.4
1.6

2
i
l

1.6

.8
1.6
.8

l

.8

125

100.0

100.0

Number and per cent of daughters
for whom proportion of family
earnings specified was—
Earned.
Num­
ber.

Contributed.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

2
10
12
27
36
17
16
9
11
6
6
2

1.3
6.3
7.6
17.1
22.8
10.8
10.1
5.7
7.0
3.8

4
34
24
23
22
16
11
7
6
5

2.5
21.5
15. 2
14.6
13.9
10.1
7.0
4. 4
3.8
3. 2

1.3
1.3

2
1

1.3
.6

1

.6

1

.6

158

100.0

.8
.8

.6

158

100.0

This table shows a very striking fact in comparing the figures
for the sons and daughters. It has already been abundantly proved
that the earnings of men, be they husbands or fathers, sons, or other
relatives, are far greater than the earnings of women. The figures
in Table 33 bear out this statement, but they show in addition that
though the sons earn a larger proportion of the family earnings the
daughters contribute a larger proportion.
Of the 158 daughters and 125 sons for whom this information
was available there is far less difference between the proportion of
daughters who earn and the proportion who contribute each specified
percentage than there is between the proportions of sons in each
earnings and contributing class. In the group earning less than 30
per cent of the family earnings were 53.6 per cent of the sons and



82

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

65.8 per cent of the daughters, but 79.2 per cent of the sons—an
increase of 47.8 per cent—and 77.8 per cent of the daughters—an
increase of only 7.9 per cent—were contributing less than 30 per
cent. On the other hand, earning 30 and less than 60 per cent of the
family earnings were 43.2 per cent of the sons and 31.6 per cent of the
daughters, but contributing 30 and less than 60 per cent were 18.4
per cent of the sons and 20.9 per cent of the daughters, a decrease
of 62.9 per cent for the sons and 35.3 per cent for the daughters.
In all, 46.4 per cent of the sons and 34.2 per cent of the daughters
earned 30 per cent or more of the family earnings, while 20.8 per cent
of the sons and 22.2 per cent of the daughters contributed to the
family budget 30 per cent or more of the family earnings. In other
words more sons than daughters earned, while more daughters than
sons contributed 30 per cent or more of the total family earnings.
Wage-earning wives.
Although numerically the daughters form the most important
group among wage-earning women, there is much social significance
attached to the conditions under which married women are working
in industry. The married woman wage earner has, during the recent
period of unemployment, been the target for many attacks by those
who thought that it was her duty to retire from industry and leave
her place free for some unemployed man, theoretically needing work
more than she who had some one else to support her. It is inter­
esting to see from the figures presented here that the earnings of the
married women were by no means of inconsiderable value to the
family, and that in the great majority of the families where married
women were wage earners there were one or more dependents to be
supported.
Table 34.—Number of dependents and number of wage earners in families of working
wives.
Families whose wage earners other than
wife were—
Number of dependents.
None.

Total
families.

Children:
N one.

Other dependents:

Total
1 Also one adult dependent.
2 In five cases also one adult dependent.




3 In three cases also one adult dependent.
In ten cases also one adult dependent.

*

THE SHARE 01’ WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

83

Table 34 shows the number of children and other dependents in
the families of working wives. It is important to note that in the
113 families shown here there was both a wife and a husband. Fami­
lies in which the wage-earning married woman was a widow, or
divorced or deserted, have been omitted. The number of dependents
in the families shown in this table varied considerably. In 52
families there were 1 or 2 dependent children and in 9 of these
families there was also 1 dependent adult. In only one family was the
wife the sole wage earner, the task of providing for the family being
shared in most cases (77.9 per cent) by one other wage earner, usually
the husband. At first glimpse it would not seem that to the number
of dependents and lack of other wage earners could be credited the
married woman’s presence in industry. Table 35 gives a more illu­
minating statement of the financial conditions in the families, which
may throw light on the subject.
Table 35.— Tear’s earnings of working wives, classified by earnings of their husbands.
Number of wives whose husbands’ earnings were—
Year’s earnings of wife.
$500

0
Under $200............................
1200 and under $250_ ......
_

$700

$800

1

1

$300 and under $350................
$400 and under $450................
$450 and under $500................
$500 and under $550................
$550 and under $600...............
$600 and under $650................
$650 and under $700................
$700 and under $750................
$750 and under $800................
$800 and under $850................
$850 and under $900...............
$900 and under $950................
$950 and under $1,000............
$1,000 and under $1,100.........
$1,300 and under $1,400.........

$900

$1,000
1

1

1

3

1
1

1
1
1
1

1

1
1

1

1
1

1
1

1

4

7

1
2
1
1
1
1
9

$1,100

2
1
1
1
1

8

1
1

$1,200

$1,300

2
1
1
1

1
2
2
2

1
2
1
2

2
1
2
1

1
1
1

1
1

2

14

10

13

Number of wives whose husbands’ earnings were—
Year’s earnings of wile.
$1,400
Under $200.............................................
$200 and under $250..............................
$250 and under $300.....................
$300 and under $350..............................
$350 and under $400..............................
$400 and under $450..............................
$550 and under $600..............................
$650 and under $700..............................
$700 and under $750..............................
$750 and under $800..............................
$800 and under $850....................
$850 and under $900..............................
$900 and under $950..............................
$950 and under *1,000..........................
$1,000 and under $1,100.......................
$1,100 and under $1,200.......................




$1,500

$1,600

1
1

1
1
2

2
1

1
2
1
3
2
1
2
1
15

$1,700

$1,800

$1,900

$2,000

$2,200

1
1

1
1
1
2
2
1

1
1

i

1
1

1

6

5

1
1

1
1
1

1

2
14

1

3

1

l

84

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

This table shows that in 85 per cent of the families of these working
wives the husbands earned $1,500 or less during the year, and that
67.3 per cent of the wives themselves earned less than $800. The
importance of the wife’s earnings is shown even more clearly in
Table 36, which gives the per capita year’s earnings in the families
of these women, with their earnings included and excluded.
Table 36.—Per capita family earnings with and without earnings of wife in families
with working wives.

Per capita family year’s earnings.1

Number of families
in which the per
capita family
earnings was the
amount speci­
fied—
Includ­ Exclud­
ing earn­ ing earn­
ings of
ings of
wife.
wife.

1
1
2
3
10
7
8
8
6
8
3
5
8
8
5
4
10
1
3
3
5
4

1
1
3
4
8
14
6
8
8
6
11
8
3
5
4
3
1
1
2
1

113

i

113

$041

$438

Total of all earnings divided by number of persons in family.

The fact that the inclusion of the wives’ earnings raises the median
of per capita earnings from $438, which is considerably below the
median for all families, to $641, which is considerably above, leaves
little doubt that the earnings of the married women in the majority
of these cases were important in keeping up the standard of living for
their families. With the wives’ earnings included only 35.4 per cent
of the families fell below per capita earnings of $500, while the exclu­
sion of the wives’ earnings would result in 60.2 per cent of the families
falling below this level. In this connection it must be remembered
that other sections of this study have shown that in practically every
instance investigated the married woman wage earner turned over




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

85

to her family all of her earnings. The raising of the economic stand­
ard as evidenced by the preceding figures is not, therefore, a theo­
retical condition but one which probably occurred in every family
represented.
Summary.
The foregoing pages, showing the relationship between the financial
status of the family unit and the earnings and contributions of its
members, emphasize chiefly the variation with relationship and with
per capita family earnings in the importance of the contributions of the
different members of the family. For the limited number of families
under discussion it appears that as potential contributors—rated
solely on actual earnings—the husbands and fathers rank first, then
come the sons, then the daughters, and last the wives and mothers.
Rated on the proportion of the family earnings contributed to the
family, however, the sons and daughters change places; for although
a larger proportion of sons than of daughters earned 30 per cent or
more of the family earnings, a larger proportion of daughters than of
sons contributed 30 per cent or more of the family earnings.
One of the most interesting facts brought out by a detailed study
of 56 families was that the per capita family earnings—in other words,
the financial status of the family as a whole—seemed to have a very
definite effect upon the proportion of individual earnings which was
contributed to the family expenses. In families with a yearly income
of less than 1500 for each person, the wage earners quite generally
contributed all of their earnings to the family budget. With yearly
incomes above $500 per person, contribution of all earnings was not
so general. These differences apply only to the sons and daughters,
as the husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, practically all con­
tributed all of their earnings, irrespective of the size of the family
income. In families whose per capita income was less than $500,
nearly one-half of the sons and not far from three-fourths of the
daughters contributed all of their earnings, while in those with
incomes of more than $500 per member slightly more than one-third
of the sons and one-half of the daughters contributed all earnings.
In this study the married man and the married woman do not appear
on an equal plane in respect to their absolute economic value to the
family, but in respect to the effort which they are putting forth for
their families, as measured by the proportion of their earnings which
is given to the family, they stand together in the knowledge that each
is doing all that he or she possibly can—contributing all earnings.
In the family unit the significance of the sons and daughters—the
single men and women—is not so simply stated. They both earned
and contributed a good proportion of the family earnings, and in spite




86

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

of the women’s much lower earnings their contributions were very
nearly alike.
Thus, the figures in mis intensive study of a limited number of
families bear out the testimony of preceding pages, and indicate that
when the economic and social significance of the single woman’s earn­
ing power is fully understood, she should be accorded the recognition
that she is a permanent economic factor in the maintenance of the
family unit and that, as such, her earning power as well as her health
is of broad social significance.




APPENDIX A,
Table I.—Nativity of the persons interviewed.
Country of birth.

Total.

Male.

Female.

United States.............................
Canada............................................
England...............................................
France...........................
Ireland....................................
Poland.............................................
Scotland.........................................
Sweden................................................
Turkey......................................................
Other countries............................
Total foreign-born............................................
Grand total................................................

38783°—23-----7




9
596

374

222

1,378

„„„
87

88

Table

II.— Year’s earnings classified by number of weeks worked.

Number of men who Worked during the year—

Total reporting.
Yearly earnings.

Per
cent.

Under
4 weeks.

4 and
under
8
weeks.

8 and
under
12
weeks.

Ltss mail qp4iiU-.............

12 and
under
16
Weeks.

16 and
under
20
weeks.

3

Num­
ber.

i
i
i
i

20 and
under
24
weeks.

24 and
under
28
weeks.

28 and
under
32
weeks.

32 and
under
36
weeks.

36 and
under
40
weeks.

3

2

3
2
3
2

1
2
2
3
i

1
1

2
i
2
2

3
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
8
1
4
1

15
1.6

20
2.2

35
3.8

2
2

Per cent distribution..........




7 7
18.8

3

2
1
1
4
2
5
7
5
5
4
8
1
3
7
3
1

1
1
2
4
2
2
4
2
7
10
2
11
8
10
31
17
5
2

i

1

1
1

5.4

$2,000 and over.....................

44 and
under
48
weeks.

.3

928
100.0
1(K).0

1
0.1

4
0.4

5
0.5

4
0.4

48 and
under
52
weeks.

52
weeks.

1

1
1
1

174

40 and
under
44
weeks.

5
0.5

4
0.4

S9

6. 4

121
13.0

1
2
1
4
5
6
8
19
14
13
36
22
29
75
82
36
25
1

2
1
2
4
3
4
15
9
8
26
22
23
58
50
35
12
2

376
40.5

279
30.1

TH E SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING W OMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT,

MEN

WOMEN.
2

Total...........................
Per cent distribution...........

762
100.0
100.0

2
0.3




9

9

10
1
5

2
8
2
2
1

1
1
4
4
2
1

|
4
4
5
4
1
1

3
5
7
5
4
3
1

9
1.2

9
1.2

16
2.1

15
2.0

13
1.7

19
2.5

28
3.7

.

1
2
3
2
2
3
4
2
3
2
1
1
1

2
3
3
5
8
7
4
1
2
2
3
1

2
1
10
9
11
6
6
5

1

27
3.5

41
5.4

55
7.2

1
3

1
3
9
12
10
14
14
16
6
9
11
3
1

1
2
2
11
21
17
25
27
30
41
33
41
28
16
4
2

1
i
3
4
10
5
11
9
13
8
23
17
7
6

109
14.3

301
39.5

118
15. 5

TH E SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING W OMEN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT,

4.3
2.0
2.4
2.8
2.8
2.2
2.5
6.2
7.6
7.1
7.2
8.1
8.3
8.4
7.0
10.2
6.3
3.1
1.3
0.3

33
15
18
21
21
17
19
47
58
54
55
62
63
64
53
78
48
24
10
2

GO

90

Table

III.—Reasons for not worhing, classified by number of weeks out of work
MEN.
Number who did not work for

Cause of lost time.




Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

9 and
7 and
8 and
10 and 15 and 20 and 25 weeks
4 and
5 and
6 and
1 and
2 and
3 and
and
under 2 under 3 under 4 under 5 under 6 under 7 under 8 under 9 under 10 under 15 under 20 under 25
weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks.
over.

21.7
49.8
12.4
.7
.8
4.4
6.4
3.6
.3

26
130
13

22
58
14

10
42
9
1

2

4

7

6

5

3

8
19
11

100.0
!613
1()0.0

177
28.9

103
16.8

72
11.7

41
6.7

11
9
4
3
1

28
4.6

6
12
10

4
8
2

11
8
1

5
1
2

20
9
3

8
5
4

2
3
2

1
1

1

4
1
1
1

7

2
1
1

1
1
8
1
1

5

8

16

3

3

133
305
76
4
5
27
39
22

32
5.2

21
3.4

27
4.4

12
2.0

44
7.2

22
3.6

15
2.4

19
3.1

1

TH E SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING W OMEN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

*

Total men.

ft

WOMEN.

Cause of lost time.

Changing jobs......................................
Loafing (slack).....................................
Sickness of self......................................
Sickness in family................. ............
Accident...............................................
Strike....................................................
Vacation...............................................
Total...........................................
Per cent distribution..........................

Num­
ber.
64
303
92
12
1
22
41
43

Per
cent.

Number who did not work for—
1 and
2 and
3 and
4 and
5 and
6 and
7 and
8 and
9 and
10 and 15 and 20 and 25 weeks
under 2 under 3 under 4 under 5 under 6 under 7 under 8 under 9 under 10 under 15 under 20 under 25
and
weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks. weeks.
over.

11.1
52.4
15.9
2.1
.2
3.8
7.1
7.4

15
95
14

15
47
12
2

7
19
3

7
11
13

1

4

4

4

6

4

5
2
4

1578
100.0
100.0

129
22.3

86
14.9

37
6.4

42
7.3

1 Persons reporting more than one cause of lost time are tabulated under each cause specified.

5
9
6
1

3
5
6

1

3

1

2

1

2

4

4

1

7

2

3

1

19
3.3

24
4.2

21
3.6

12
2.1

16
2.8

58
10.0

28
4.8

30
5.2

76
13.1

1
1
6

5
5
1

2
26
9
2

10
6

18
2

52
10

91




3
5
4
4
1
1

TH E SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING W OM EN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

Total women.

IV.—Number ofjobs held during the year, by age of worker.

Men.

Women.

Num­ Per Num­ Per
ber. cent. ber. cent.
1................................................
2..........
3




16 and under 18 and under 20 and under 25 and under 30 and under 40 and under 50 and under 60 years and
60 years.
30 years.
40 years.
50 years.
20 years.
25 years.
18 years.
over.
Wom­ Men. Wom­ Men. Wom­ Men. Wom­ Men. Wom­ Men. Wom­
Men. Wom­ Men. Wom­ Men.
en.
en.
en.
en.
en.
en.
en.
en.

553
90
29
11

81.0
13.2
4. 2
1.6

490
86
13

82.8
14.5
2.2
0.5

46
20
4
6

17
2

683

100.0
100.0

592

100.0
100.0

76

75
12.7

n.i

1

30
1

12
1

9

3

1

43
2
1
1

134
19.6

47
7.9

31
4.5

13
2.2

9
1.3

3
0.5

42
16
6
1

65
21
3

98
16
6
2

153
23
3
1

90
14
6
1

92
10
3

116
14
5

67
12
1

122
9

9.5

89
15.0

122
17.9

180
30.4

111
16.3

105
17.7

135
19.8

80
13.5

2

___

TH E S H A M OF WAGE-EARNING W OM EN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

Number of workers whose age was—

Total.

Number of jobs.

92

Table

Table V.—Average weekly earnings, classified by time in the trade.

Total reporting.
Average weekly earnings.
Number. Per cent.

Under *9...........................................................................
19 and under $10..............................................................
$10 and under 811............................................................
$11 and under $12............................................................
*12 and under $13............................................................
$13 and under $14............................................................
814 and under $15.............................................................
$16 and under $17.50........................................................
$17.50 and under $20........................................................
$20 and under $25.............................................................
$25 and over........................................
Total........................................................

3
4
8
21
13
18
24
67
76
149
350

Number who had worked—
Less
6 months 1 and
than 6 and under under 2
months. 1 year.
years.

0.4
.5
1.1
2.9
1.8
2.5
3.3
9.1
10.4
20. 3
47.7

2
1
3
4
3
3
4
11
5

733
100.0
10C .0

39
5.3

1
7

1
3
6

5
2

29
4.0

3 and
under 4
years.

4 and
under 5
years.

5 and
10 and
15 and
under 10 under 15 under 20
years.
years.
years.

20 years
and
over.

1

1
2
7

2

2 and
under 3
years.

2
3
11
15

2

8

13
3

15
40
82

22
84

20
68

i3
6
12
71

57
7.8

8.6

148
20.2

113
15.4

91
12.4

93
12.7

2
3
10

3
2

14
9

WOMEN,
Under $9..............................................
$9 and under $10..............................................................
$10 and under $11............................................................
$11 and under *12.............................................................
$12 and under $13.....................................
$13 and under $14............................................................
$14 and under $15......................................
$] 5 and under $17.50........................................................
$17.50 and under $20.........................
$20 and under $25...................................................
$25 and over...................................

7
10
23
39
53
56
57
136
80
67
5

10.5
10.7
25.5
15.0
12.6

5
1

Per cent distribution.......................................................

533
100.0
10C .0

34
6.4

1.3

1.9

4.3
7.3

9.9

2
2
7
7

1
5
7
8
8

9

6
8

8.1

10.5

3

3
12
24

6
37
25

9
8

3

23

1
14.3

........

2

12
14
20

3
1

.9

3

|
.........

36

13
3

114

62
11.6

8
5

26

4.9

15
2.8

T H E SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING W OM EN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

MEN.

1 Includes 1 man 58 years in the trade.

93




94

Table

VI.—Average weekly earnings, classified by time in present occupation.
MEN.

Average weekly earnings.
Number. Per cent.

Less
6 months 1 and
than 6
but not under 2
months. 1 year.
years.

2 and
under 3
years.

1

0.1
.l
.1

1

$17.50 and under $20........................................................
$20 and under *25............................................................
$25 and over.....................................................................

4
8
21
16
18
25
66
75
152
349

2.8
2.2
2.4
3.4
9.0
10.2
20.6
47.4

3
7
8
9
8
7
25
14
12
7

1
7
1
4
5
11
13
21
10

4
2
4
5
11
16
18
15

1
6
10
11
23
31

Total.......................................................................
Per cent distribution......................................................

737
100.0
100.0

102
13.8

73
9.9

77
10.4

84
11.4

4 and
under 5
years.

5 and
10 and
15 and
under 10 under 15 under 20
years.
years.
years.

20 years
and
over.

1

1
1

3 and
under 4
years.

$7 and under $7.50...........................................................

$11 and under $12............................................................




.5

l.U

1
1
2

2
1
1

i

6
21
26

1
3
4
8
30

57
7.7

46
6.2

1

5
5
33
107

3
6
64

1
6
36

2
4
23

150
20.4

74
10.0

44
6.0

30
4.1

T H E SHARE OF W AGE-EARNING W OM EN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

Number who had worked—

Total reporting.

WOMEN.

20.................................................
$20 and under $25.
$25 and over.
Total.

0.2

1

2

.4

1

3
10
22
42
54
59
58
136
76
66
5

.6
1.9
4.1
7.9
10.1
11. 0
10.9
25. 5
14.2
12.4
.9

1
6
8
11
20
16
9
17
4

534
100.0
100.0

94
17.6

1
i
2
9
10
16
14
22
8
7
89
16.7

2
10
11
8
8
14
22
13
7
1
96
18.0

1
1
1
5
10
9
3
17
8
5

1
2
4
4
9
13
14
10

61
11.4

57
10.7

1
1
1
2
4
5
5
1
20
3.7

2
1
4
5
30
13
20
2
77
14.4

1
1
i
8
6
9
1

1
1
3
4
1

1
2

27
5.1

10
1.9

3
06

95




1

T H E SHARE OP WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

Under $5...
$5 and under $5.50.
$5.50 and under $6.
$6 and under $6.50.
$6.50 and under $7.
$7 and under $7.50.
$7.50 and under 3
$8 and under $8.50.
$8.50 and under $S
$9 and under $10.
$10 and under $11.
$11 and under $12.
$12 and under $13.
$13 and under $14.
$14 and under $15.

96

Table VII.—Number of years of continuous employment, by conjugal condition.

Conjugal condition.

1 and
Number. Percent. Less than under 2
1 year.
years.

Men:
Single..............................................
Married...........................................
Widowed, separated, or divorced

233
291
13

Total............................................
Per cent distribution...........................

11

23

542
100.0
IOC .0

11
2.0

23
4.2

Women:
Single..............................................
Married...........................................
Widowed, separated, or divorced.

284
37
10

15
3

Total............................................
Per cent distribution...........................

331
100.0
10C .0




1 Includes 4 formerly part timers.

43.9
53.7
2.4

85.8
11.2
3.0

18
5.4

3 28
1
29
8.8

2 and
under 3
years.

3 and
under 4
years.

4 and
under 5
years.

5 and
10 and 15 years
under 10 under 15 and over.
years.
years.

27
2

25
3

58
38

40
7.4

29
5.4

2S
5.2

96
17.7

44
2
2

44
2

29

48
14.5

46
13.9

30
9.1

M0

1

* Includes I formerly part timer.

34
70
5

20
178
8

109
20.1

206
38.0

72
6

36
11
4

16
12
3

78
23.6

51
15.4

31
9.4

t h e s h a k e or w a g e - e a r n in g w o m e n i n f a m il y s u p p o r t ,

Number who had been continuously employed for—

Total.

t

Table VIII.—Percentage of earnings contributed to the family, by family relationship and age of contributor.
Daughters (by age).
Wives or mothers.
Per cent of weekly earnings con­
tributed.
Num­
ber.

100.......................................................
95 and under 100..................................
90 and under 95....................................
85 and under 90................................
80 and under 85....................................
75 and under 80....................................
70 and under 75...............
65 and under 70....................................
60 and under 65....................................
55 and under 60....................................
50 and under 55....................................
45 and under 50.........
40 and under 45....................................
35 and under 40.........................
30 and under 35...............................
25 and under 30....................................
20 and under 25....................................
15 and under 20....................................
Under 15........................
Indefinite.........................

302

Total...........................................

4
3
6
6
5
9

5

Per
cent.

16 and 18 and 20 and 25 and 30 and 40 and 50 years
under 18 under 20 under 25 under 30 under 40 under 50 and
years. years.
years. years.
years.
years.
over.

67.9

43

.9
.7
1.3
1.3

i

1.1
%0

2
1
1
1
i
l
i
l

45

58

i

3
2
3
3
1

1
2
4
1
3
2
1
2

19

16

2

1

40

9.0

3

5

is

5

6

445

100.0

56

68

113

41

25

1

2 9
2. 6
2 Q
2.6

34

3

1

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

1 3
2.6
1. 6

8
1
1

1
1

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

1.3
1.0
2.0
2.0
1. 6

9
8

1

59.9

4
8
5

1
4
2

184

1

1.1
1; 8
1.3
1.8
2; 9
1.8
2.5
2.0
.2
.2

i

Per
cent.

4
3
6
6

1
1
1
1
1
3
1

8
C
8
13
8
11
9
1
1

2
1
1
3
5
3
6
7

Num­
ber.

307

114

95.8

4

21.1

5.3
.8

21.’1
10.5

.8

.3

11.1
99.9

3

2.5

3

15.8

119

99.9

19

100.1

97




Other females.

Total daughters.

T H E SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING W OM EN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

Females reporting.

Table VIII.—Percentage of earnings contributed to the family, by family relationship and age of contributor—Continued.
Other males.

•
Per cent of weekly earnings
contributed.

Total sons.
Num­
ber.

100

474

Per
cent.

69.5
.7
1.0

7
8
16

,7
1.0
1.2
2.3
1.2
2.1

16 and 18 and 20 and 25 and 30 and 40 and 50 years
and
under 18 under 20 under 25 under 30 under 40 under 50
over.
years. years. years.
years.
years.
years.

41
1
3
2
4
5
1
2
1
2
1

28
5
3
4
2
4
3
4

22
1
2
1
1
2
3
2
6
4
2
8
6
3
6
3
1

5

3

1

1
t
1
1
2
1
2
4
1
4
1

1
1
2

Num­
ber

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

100
2
5
7
8
11
5
6
8
11
13
6
12
14
11
13
5
2

34.6
.7
1.7
2.4
2.8
3.8
1.7
2.1
2.8
3.8
4.5
2.1
4.2
4.8
3.8
4.5
1.7
.7

370

99.2

1

.3

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

4

20.0

1

5.0

3
2
1
3
1

15.0
10.0
5.0
15.0
5.0

2

10.0

1

2
2
6
2

55

8.1

5

7

13

15

9

1

50

17.3

2

.5

3

15.0

682

100.0

69

72

86

38

22

2

289

100.0

373

100.0

20

100.0

14

.6
Indefinite.............................................
Total...........................................




t

2
1
1
1

TH E SHARE 0E WAGE-EARNING W OMEN IN FAM ILY SUPPORT.

Husbands or
fathers.

Sons (by age).

Males reporting.

o
00

THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table

99

IX.—Weekly contribution to the family, classified, by age of contributor.
MEN.

Weekly contribution.

Number whose age wasTotal
num­
ber re­ Under 16 and 18 and 20 and 25 and 30 and 40 and 50 and 60
port­
under under under under under under under years
16
ing.
18
20
25
30
40
50
60
and
years. years.
years. years. years. years. years. years. over.

Less than $2.............................
$2 and under S3.....................
$3 and under $5.........................
$5 and under $8.....................
$8 and under $10.....................
WO or more but not all.............
All earnings.....................
Indefinite amount..............

34
27
90
472
55

3
8
12

9
7
24

1
16
7
32

1
3
5
12

5

7

13

16

10

3

Total................................

680

70

76

133

145

155

68

10
1
23

10

WOMEN.
Less than $2...............................
$2 and under S3.........................
S3 and under $5...........
$5 and under $8.........................
$8 and under S10.......................
$10 or more but not all.............
All earnings...............................
Indefinite amount...................
Total................................

Table

2
56
10 ...........
35 ...........
301
40

5
3
2

24
1
17

1
13
1
7

1
1

3

8

15

6

7

1

55

444

1
9
4
7
76

132

79

67

25

8
9

1

'X.—Length of time contributing all earnings to the family, classified by length
of time contributor had been at work.
MEN.
Total
reporting.

Time at work.

Number who reported that they had contributed all earnings.

6
1 and 2 and
Num­ Per Not Under months un­ un­
at
6
and
der der
ber. cent. all. months.
under
2
3
1 year. years. years.

Under 6 months.......................
6 months and under 1 year...
1 and under 2 years.................
2 and under 3 years.................
3 and under 4 years.................
4 and under 5 years.................
6 and under 10 years................
10 years and over.....................

7
2
21
35
25
23
77
231

1.7
.5
5.0
8.3
5.9
5.5
18.3
54.9

8
11
7
3
12
6

1
1

1
1

4
2

Total...............................
Per cent distribution..............

421 100.0
100.0

49
11.6

7
1.7

4
1.0

28
6.7

14
3
2
1
2
22
8.8

2

5

2

i3
7
2

3 and
un­
der
4
years.

4 and
un­
der
5
years.

5 and 10
un­ years
der and
10
years. over.

17
5
6

11
6

9

10

9

58

135

46
10.9

29
6.9

26
6.2

97
23.0

32.1

27
5
2
1

23
5
3

14

36
14.3

34
13.5

16
6.4

WOMEN.
Under 6 months.......................
6 months and under 1 year...
1 and under 2 years..................
2 and under 3 years..................
3 and under 4 years.................
4 and under 5 years.................
5 and under 10' years................
10 years and over ...................
Total...............................
Per cent distribution..............




4
8
22
40
38
26
58
55

1.6
3.2
8.8
15.9
15.1
10.4
23.1
21.9

1
6
10
8
4
13
6

251 100.0
10C .0

48
19.1

4
1

7
1

2
5
2.0

10
4.0

15

28

52
20.7

28
11.7

APPENDIX B,
SCHEDULE FOR RECORD OF PERSONAL INTERVIEWS IN
MANCHESTER, N. H.

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
WOMEN’S BUREAU
Occupation

Industry

Date

Firm

Name
Address

Address
American born

MW

Age

Living home

SD

Sex

Present wage

Boarding

In this occupation

Time in this trade

Began work, age

Pay number

Weekly hours
Days worked

Employed continuously

Cause not working

Normal working week
Weeks not working during year

Relation of nonwage-earners in family to worker

Not entirely de­
pendent on
earnings of
worker.

Age.

Entirely depend­
ent on earnings
of worker.

Number partially dependent

Number in family

Age.
Number entirely dependent

Amount contributed

Years contributing all earn­
ings

Income from outside sources

Largest contributor

Amount contributed

-Others contributing

Total

100



Years contributing
earnings

part

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

101

SCHEDULE FOB RECORD OF EARNINGS SECURED FROM PLANT PAY
ROLLS IN MANCHESTER, N. H.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR—WOMEN’S BUREAU.

Finn....... .............................
Family..................................
Address.................................
No. of wage earners.M..F..
No. not earning....................

Yearly Earnings.

Fa. or hus......................<?„
Sons............................... %
Total..............................%

Mo. or wife...................... %
Daughters........................%
Total................................ <f0

Earnings each week March, 1919, to March, 1920.
Name____ ________
Rel. to fam................
Amt. contrib.............
Occupation...............
Place of employment

Total
Total earnings of
family.....................




102

THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

INSTRUCTIONS TO INVESTIGATORS, MANCHESTER, N. H„ SURVEY.

1. Pay number.
When the person interviewed can give you his or her pay number be sure to
record it. This is not for the purpose of following those interviewed by pay
number but to help later in checking when two people on the pay roll have the
same name.
2. Department in which employed.
The name of the department in which the person interviewed is employed is
to be recorded in the upper right hand corner of the schedule.
3. Where born.
If not born in the United States draw a line through ‘‘American” and write
in the name of the country where born. If born in a foreign country and not of
that nationality add the nationality in cases of those who are foreign bom, but
not when born in the United States or Canada.
4. Firm name and address.
Abbreviate the firm name and do not write in the address of the firm.
5. Marital status.
Check whether married, single, widowed. Check D when deserted, separated
or divorced. Draw a line through the 3 letters not applying to the case.
6. Sex.
Use letters, M for male and F for female.
7. (a) Living at home.
If living or boarding with the family or a member of the family, check “ Living
at home,” and draw a line through “ Boarding.” If boarding with sister, aunt or
other relative, write sister, aunt, etc., as it may be, under “Living at home,”
and put the amount paid as board in space allowed for “Amount contributed”
for the person interviewed.
(6) Boarding.
For those living independently and boarding, draw a line through “Living at
home” and check “Boarding.” When information is secured about amount
paid for board record it under word “Boarding.” This is not for special tabula­
tion, and is not of special importance except that it shows the cost of living to this
extent for those living independently in the city. In these cases the lower half
of the schedule will be disregarded.
8. (a) Present wage.
Take wage received on pay day preceding date of investigation.
(6) Weekly hours.
When person interviewed can give the actual number of hours worked during
this pay period, record the hours given. If, however, there is any question as
to the number of hours worked, leave this space blank.
(c) Days worked.
The number of days worked refers to the same pay period, and this information
can usually be secured.
9. (a) Began work.
Ask age when person interviewed first began to work for wages.
(6) Employed continuously.
Answer yes or no except where something of special importance can be recorded.
This question is of more importance when women are being interviewed, especially
the married group. This information is not asked with a view to checking on
unemployment as much as to know how many have worked year in and year out.
A boy or girl who goes to work half days from the age of 14 and has worked
right on after that, should be recorded as beginning work at 14 and working con­
tinuously. If, on the other hand, he went to school six months and worked six
months he should be recorded as not working continuously. Those out because
of sickness once for from 4 to 6 months during a period of years, should be recorded
as working continuously, but if absent over six months or if repeated periods of
illness occurred, they should be recorded as not working continuously. Time
spent by soldiers in service should be included as time worked.
Make special note of married women working year after year, and remaining
away from work only because of child birth.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

103

10. (a) Time in this trade.
It is not necessary to check this down to exact months, but time in other lines
of work should not be included. Returned soldiers frequently exclude the time
in service when answering the question whether they have worked continuously
since going to work. Investigators should be careful to exclude this time from
“Years in trade or occupation.”
(b) Time in this occupation.
. This phrase means the occupation in which now employed. If the person
interviewed happens to be doing a special job on day of interview, give the occu­
pation in which usually employed and not that of the special job.
11. (a) Normal working week.
This is to be left blank until more accurate information than statement of
worker can be gained.
(6) Weeks not working during year and cause.
Take the year from March, 1919, to April, 1920. Ask about time lost because
of illness; if possible get actual time. When not working because of illness in
family, make note of that. Ask if any time was taken for personal reasons other
than sickness, such as vacation. If worker has lost time because of forced “loaf­
ing,” record “Slack time.” Unless record is made of time off for other reasons it
will be assumed that none was taken except an occasional day off.
Few can make a definite statement as to time lost because of slack work. It is,
therefore, best to make sure that record is made of time lost for personal reasons,
and depend on the pay roll to show the time lost because of slack work.
12. The lower half of the schedule is for data about the family, divided into 2 groups,
wage earners and those not earning wages.
In interviewing the worker make effort to ascertain length of employment
with firm now employed; designate time at top of schedule above the word “De­
partment”; when the present employment extends back to April, 1919, designate
by using term “Year.” If less than year, designate period, i. e., October, 1919,
to date, or whatever it is. If not employed a year by present employer, but
employed in Manchester for the past year, try to find out where employed and
what months, June, September, etc.
In recording the occupation and place of employment give factory or store
name with address, unless so well known as to be not necessary. The object
in securing the full year’s employment record is to enable us to secure a year’s
earnings from the pay rolls of any company or companies for which the person
interviewed worked.
. When there is only one wage earner in the family, list the nonwage-earners
in the column for those “Entirely dependent” and record the total number
in space for “Number entirely dependent.”
When there are two or more wage earners in the family who contribute money
to the family, list those not earning wages in the column for “Not entirely
dependent” and record total for both lists. Write in the relation of adults to
the worker and the ages of children.
If any member of the family 16 years or over is not working, indicate reason;
such as school, help at home, incapacitated, etc.
Members of the family who do not live at home are not to be included unless
they send money home, in which case the number in the family should be
recorded, as for instance “3 and 1 absent.” When a contribution is made to
some dependent not living with the family, the same kind of record should be
made for those absent.
In cases where a boarder lives with family, the amount paid for board should
be recorded in the space allowed for income from other sources, the number in
the family to be recorded “3 plus 1” etc., as the case may be.
13. Amount contributed.
When the person interviewed turns in all earnings at home, do not record
the amount, but write in the word “all.” Where only a part of the earnings are
turned in at home write in the amount.
When workers tell of sending money to absent members of the family, try to
find out the amount. An estimate of the contributions for a year is all right in
cases where amounts are not set aside or paid regularly each week or month.
38783°—23----- 8




104

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

14. Years contributing all earnings. Years contributing part earnings.
When single persons have turned in all earnings at home up to a certain age,
record that in space for “Years contributing all.”
_
The number of years during which only part of the earnings have been turned
in at home is to be recorded in the space for “Years contributing part earnings.”
When a married woman is being interviewed, try to get detailed information
as to years contributing part or all before her marriage. If she has always con­
tributed all of her earnings aggregate the number of years before and after her
marriage.
15. Income from other sources.
When savings are reported, record amount. Income from rents should also
be recorded as to amount. Information should be included as to whether build­
ing is free from mortgage or not.
_
16. In cases where there are children helping parents buy a home, mothers working
to keep children in school or college, savings which have had to be used be­
cause of illness and lack of employment, or any special instance of human inter­
est, make a note on the back of schedule and mark with a red pencil, so as to
make it easy to sort these cards out.




PART II
SOURCES OF FAMILY INCOME
THE ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF SONS AND OF DAUGHTERS IN
THE FAMILIES FOR WHOM SCHEDULES WERE SECURED BY
THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS OF THE UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR DURING A
COST OF LIVING SURVEY




105




PART II.
SOURCES OF FAMILY INCOME.
During the year 1918 and the early part of 1919 the Bureau of
Labor Statistics of the U. S. Department of Labor conducted an
investigation into the cost of living in industrial centers in the United
States.1 This investigation covered 92 cities or localities, ranging in
size from New York to small country towns, as it was the aim of the
bureau to get representative data that would show living conditions
in all sections of the country and in all kinds of localities. The
families from which facts were secured were those of wage earners and
small-salaried men. The material presented as a result of this investi­
gation covers a number of different subjects relating to the actual cost
of living, based upon the expense to the families of certain specified
articles. These have no bearing upon the subject of family responsi­
bilities under discussion in the present report and for that reason will
not be considered. Other facts, however, showing not the expendi­
tures but the sources of the family income, add to the few general
figures now available some very definite and significant information
regarding the relative economic importance in the family group of
various members of the family.
Before discussing the figures it is important to emphasize the
limitations of the type of family selected and the effect of such limita­
tions upon the conclusions. To quote from the report, the following
were the requirements to be met by any family scheduled:
1. The family must be that of a wage earner or salaried worker, but not of a person
in business for himself. The families taken should represent proportionally the wage
earners and the low or medium salaries families of the locality.
2. The family must have as a minimum a husband and wife and at least one child
who is not a boarder or lodger.
3. The family must have kept house in the locality for the entire year covered.
4. At least 75 per cent of the family income must come from the principal bread­
winner or others who contribute all earnings to the family fund.
5. All items of income or expenditure of members other than those living as lodgers
must be obtainable.
6. The family may not have boarders nor over three lodgers either outsiders or
children living as such.
7. The family must have no subrental other than furnished rooms for lodgers.
8. Slum or charity families or non-English-speaking families who have been less
than five years in the United States should not be taken. (Monthly Labor Review,
May, 1919, p. 147.)
1 Cost of living ill the United States. Monthly Labor Review, May, 1919, December, 1919.




107

108

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

* * * It will be seen that these limitations excluded a large number of families
and this materially affects the percentage of families having earnings from children
and income from lodgers, and also results in showing a larger percentage of the total
income as coming from the earnings of the husband than would be the case if the
type of families named had not been excluded from the study. It also reduces the
actual amount per family earned by children and received from boarders or lodgers
that would be shown in case a cross section of a community including all the types
mentioned were used. The object in making the exclusions named was to secure
families dependent for support, as largely as possible, upon the earnings of the husband.
Of course, it was impracticable to secure a sufficient number of families in which the
only source of income was the earnings of the husband, but in following the course
named the percentage of families having an income from other sources has been
very largely reduced. (Monthly Labor Review, December, 1919, p. 30.)

In view of this attempt to limit the families to those in which the
husband was the sole breadwinner, it is particularly striking to find
that in almost one-fifth of the families selected with this end in view
there was a son or daughter who was also a wage earner. The figures
showing the sources of income from the 12,096 white families from
which data were secured are as follows:
Table 1.—Per

cent of families having income from certain specified sources, by income
groups, all cities.1
White families.
Income group.

Earnings Earnings Earnings
of chil­
of de­
of wife.
dren. pendents.
13.3
1L3
8.7
8.1
6.8
8.9
5.4

7.8
8.5
12.2
19.2
27.3
46.2
71.1

0.5
.5
.6
1.1
1.8
1.7

8.9

18.6

.7

1 Monthly Labor Review, December 1919, p. 34, Table 2.

The 18.6 per cent of the families that had income from the children
is a particularly striking figure when it is recalled that included in this
survey were only those families in which, if there were children at
work, these children turned all their earnings into the common family
fund. In the study of family responsibilities in Manchester, which is
outlined in an earlier section of this report, it was found that 40.1
per cent of the daughters and 65.4 per cent of the sons contributed
part but not all of their earnings, so it is obvious that the figures
given for the Bureau of Labor Statistics families do not represent in
any way the full extent of the part played by the children in the
economic life of the family. However, for the limited group selected,
the schedules give some most interesting data on this subject.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

109

In order to get comparative figures for the two sexes, without
which it would be impossible to estimate the part played by the
unmarried men and women in these families, it was necessary to go
back to the original schedules and make classifications different from
those arranged by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose report did
not seek to bring out such material. Accordingly, with the coopera­
tion of that bureau, the Women’s Bureau copied from the schedules
data pertaining to all families in which there was a wage earner
other than the husband or father. Data for negro families wrere
not included. In the folio-wing compilations of this more detailed
material the earnings of children under 16 have not been included,
as in most cases they were so small as to be insignificant and bore
more upon the subject of casual child labor—selling papers, picking
berries, working as a delivery boy on Saturdays—than upon the
matter of home responsibility and financial importance in the family.
After these exclusions there remained 1,511 white families in which
one or more of the wage earners were children 16 years of age or
over. The following table shows the distribution of these families
according to the total family earnings, and also the distribution of
actual and potential contributors among the sons and daughters
who were 16 years of age or over.
Table 2.—Wage-earning

status of sons and of daughters, 16 years of age and over,
by family earnings.
Sons 16 years of age and over.

Family earnings.

Families
Families with con­
Sons contrib­
having
tributions from—
uting—
contri­
Number Number
butions
of fam­ in these
from
ilies
Per cent
children.
Per cent
having— families.
of all
Number. of fam­ Number.
ilies
sons
having—
over 16.

13 nder $900...................................
$900 and. under $1,200..................
$1,200 and under $1,500..............
$1,500 and under:$l,800...............
$1,800 and under S2,Lh.»..............
*2,100 and under *2,400...............
$2,400 and under $2,700...............
$2,/ 00 and under S3,0 K)..............
$3,000 and under $3,300...............
13,300 and under *3,600...........
*3,600 and under *3,900..............
$3,900 and under $4,200..............
$4,200 and over............................

16
128
301
308
325
200
117
90
14
7
3
1
1

60
162
184
193
135
89
63
13
5
1

7
62
174
200
222
176
121
89
19
8
2

6
53
159
179
190
133
88
63
13
5
1

85. 7
8-8. 3
98. 2
97. 5
98. 5
98. 5
98.9
100. 0
100.0
100. 0
100. 0

170

Total...................................

1,511

912

1,080

890

97.6

1,033




164

85
18

95.6

110

THE SHARP: OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Table 2.—Wage-earning status of sons and of daughters, 16 years of age and over,

by family earnings■—Continued.
Daughters 16 years of age and over.

Family earnings.

Families with con­ Daughters contrib­
tributions from—
uting—
Number Number
of fam­ in these
Per cent
Per cent
ilies
of all
having— families. Number. of fam­ Number.
daughters
ilies
having—
over 16.

Under $900......................................................
$900 and under $1,200....................................
11,200 and under $1,500.................................
$1,500 and under $1,800.................................
$1,800 and under $2,100.......................... .......
$2,100 and under $2,400.................................
52,400 and under $2,700.................................
$2,700 and under $3,000................... .............
$3,000 and under $3,300.................................
$3,300 and under $3,600.................................
$3,600 and under $3,900.................................
$3,900 and under $4,200.................................
$4,200 and over...............................................

11
87
178
178
209
126
69
69
13
6
3
1
1

15
100
211
210
268
188
96
106
22
12
10
3
4

11
81
163
161
187
111
60
67
10
5
3
1
1

100.0
93.1
91.6
90.5
89.5
88.1
’87.0
97.1
76.9
83.3
100.0
100.0
100.0

14
89
179
181
233
152
82
98
18
10
9
3
2

93.3
89.0
84.8
86.2
86.9
80.0
85.4
92.5
81.8
83.3
90.0
100.0
50.0

Total.....................................................

951

1,245

861

90.5

1,070

85.9

The most striking fact brought out by this table is that of all the
sons over 16 in the families under consideration 95.6 per cent, and of
all the daughters 85.9 per cent, were wage earners, contributing, as
already stated, all earnings to the common family fund.
There were only 175 idle women and girls out of 1,245, and only 47
idle men and boys out of 1,080 in a group of families selected to be
as nearly as possible dependent upon the support of one male wage
earner. The proportion of idle sons and daughters apparently does
not depend upon the family earnings, for there seem to be no sig­
nificant fluctuations in the percentages of those at work in the differ­
ent earnings groups.
The figures in this table, although they show the extent of the
employment of sons and daughters in the families with contributions
from children, do not show how great a value can be put upon the
contributions. Table 3 gives the relative importance of the contri­
butions of fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters in relation to the
size of the family earnings.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table 3

Ill

—Sources offamily earnings classified by proportion from each source.
Number of families in which each specified percentage of family earnings
was derived from the—

Proportion of family
earnings.

Father.

Mother.

Son or sons.

Daughter or
daughters.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Under 10 per cent...................
10 and under 20 per cent........
20 and under 30 per cent........
30 and under 40 per cent........
40 and under 50 per cent........
50 and under 60 per cent........
60 and under 70 per cent........
70 and under 80 per cent........
80 and under 90 per cent........
90 and under 100 per cent.......
Total...............................
Per cent..................................

2
15
32
79
177
222
275
277
225
207

0.1
1.0
2.1
5.2
11.7
14.7
18.2
18.3
14.9
13.7

1,511
100.0
10().0

106
41
12
8
2

62.7
24.3
7.1
4.7
1.2

169
100.0
11 2

153
164
211
156
115
56
26
5
3
1

17.2
18.4
23.7
17.5
12.9
6.3
2.9
.6
.3
.1

890
100.0
58 9

173
189
221
139
77
41
12
7
2
861
57 0

20.1
22.0
25.7
16.1
8.9
4.8
1.4
.8
.2
100.0

Of course the fathers assume the most important r6le as contrib­
utors in these families, but it is surprising to find that in spite of the
selected character of the families for which schedules were taken,
there were as many as 527 families in which the father made less
than 60 per cent of the family earnings. The mother assumed a
very minor role as wage earner in the families with children at work,
for in only 11.2 per cent was there a working mother and 87 per
cent of these working mothers contributed less than 20 per cent of the
family earnings. The sons and daughters were on a more equal
plane as regards their economic relationship to their families, for
less than 60 per cent of the family earnings was derived from the
sons in 96 per cent of the families that had wage-earning sons, and
from the daughters in 96.6 per cent of the families that had wage­
earning daughters. In spite of the similarity of the proportions of
families whose sons and whose daughters were responsible for less
than 60 per cent of the family earnings, the more detailed classifica­
tions show the daughters to have been of somewhat less actual eco­
nomic importance than the sons. Less than 30 per cent of the
family earnings was derived from the daughters in 67.8 per cent of
the families having wage-earning daughters, but from the sons in
only 59.3 per cent of the families with wage-earning sons. This
difference seems very much less than might be expected, however,
when the difference in the prevailing wage rate for men and women
is considered.
The percentage of family earnings contributed has little significance
unless the size of the family earnings is known. This information
is given in the following table, in which can be traced the relationship
between the size of the family earnings and the proportion derived
from the sons and from the daughters.



112

Table 4.—Per cent offamily earnings contributed by sons and by daughters, classified by total family earnings.
NUMBER.

Total earnings.

Sons.

Daugh­
ters.

Under 10 per
cent.
Soils.

Daugh­
ters.

10 and under 20
per cent.
Sons.

Daugh­
ters.

20 and under 30
per cent.
Sens.

Daugh­
ters.

30 and under 40
per cent.
Sons.

Daugh­
ters.

40 and under 50
per cent.
Sons.

Daugh­
ters.

50 and under 60
per cent.
Sons.

Daugh­
ters.

60 per cent and
over.
Sons.

Daugh­
ters.
1

$900 arid under $1,200..........
SI,200 and under $1,500.......
$1,500 and under $1,800.......
$1,800 and under $2,100.......
$2,100 and under 12,400.......
$2,400 and under $2,700.......
$2,700 and under $3,000.......
$3,000 and over.....................

53
159
179
190
133
88
63
19

81
163
161
187
111
60
67
20

18
45
34
30
12
7
5

28
38
41
30
16
4
9
2

2
15
35
37
31
23
11
9
1

1
15
47
32
46
24
8
14
2

9
41
47
38
31
23
18
4

1
20
39
39
56
25
24
10
7

1
5
26
29
42
22
13
11
7

3
9
25
28
27
17
13
15
2

1
2
8
20
29
28
16
8
3

7
10
11
14
15
8
10
2

2
3
6
14
8
11
10
2

2
4
5
9
11
1
8
1

2

Total...........................

890

861

153

173

164

189

211

221

156

139

115

77

56

41

35

6
9
7

5

21

PER CENT.

$900 and under $1.200..........
$1,200 and under $1,500.......
$1,500 and under $1,800.......
$1,800 and under $2,100.......
$2,100 and under $2,400.......
$2,400 and under $2,700.......
$2,700 and under $3,000.......
$3,000 and over.....................
Total...........................




0.7
6.0
17.9
20.1
21.3
14.9
9.9
7.1
2.1 .
100.0

9.1

1.3
9.4
18.9
18.7
21.7
12.9
7.0
7.8
2.3

33.3
34.0
28.3
19.0
15. 8
9.0
8.0
7.9

45.5
34.6
23.3
25.5
16.0
14.4
6.7
13.4
10.0

33.3
28.3
22.0
20.7
16.3
17.3
12.5
14.3
5.3

9.1
18.5
28.8
19.9
24.6
21.6
13.3
20.9
10.0

17.0
25.8
26.3
20.0
23.3
26.1
28.6
21.1

9.1
24.7
23.9
24.2
29.9
22.5
40.0
14.9
35.0

16.7
9.4
16.4
16.2
22.1
16.5
14.8
17.5
36.8

27.3
11.1
15.3
17.4
14.4
15.3
21.7
22.4
10.0

16.7
3.8
5.0
11.2
15.3
21.1
18.2
12.7
15.8

8.6
6.1
6.8
7.5
13.5
13.3
14.9
10.0

3.8
1.9
3.4
7.4
6.0
12.5
15.9
10.5

2.5
2.5
3.1
4.8
9.9
1.7
11.9
5.0

3.8
0.6
3.4
3.2
6.8
8.0
3.2
10.5

3.1
2.7
2.7
3.3
1.5
20.0

100.0

17.2

20.1

18.4

22.0

23.7

25.7

17.5

16.1

12.9

8.9

6.3

4.8

3.9

2.4

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Families in which amounts contributed were—
Total number of
families with
contributing—

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

113

The income groups in which the largest numbers of families appear
are those ranging from SI,200 to $2,400. Above and below these
amounts there is a scattering of families, but not enough in any one
group to provide a satisfactory basis for conclusions. In the 11,200
to 12,400 groups, however, a very interesting fluctuation occurs in the
proportion of families having contributions of less than 20 per cent
and of 20 per cent and over from sons and from daughters. The
percentages of families having contributions of less than 10 per cent
from sons and from daughters are quite high (28.3 per cent and 23.3
per cent) in the $1,200 and $1,500 earnings group, but in the succeed­
ing income classification this percentage decreases. The same is
true, with minor fluctuations, of the percentage receiving from sons
and daughters from 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the family earnings.
In the two groups receiving from 20 to 30 per cent and from 30 to 40
per cent of their earnings from sons and daughters the percentages
of families remain about the same, or at least with no significant
variations in each income group. The percentages of families who
received 40 and under 50, 50 and under 60, and 60 per cent or more
of their income from the earnings of sons and daughters tend to
increase with the successive income groups. This seems to show
that in the families with low total earnings the earnings of the sons
and daughters did not play so important a role as in the families
with large total earnings. It is possible that the families with small
total earnings may contain more young inexperienced workers who
have gone to work prematurely in order to eke out a father’s insuffi­
cient wage. It is also possible that in the more well-to-do families
the advantages of training and education which were available for
the children have made it possible for them, when they did go to work,
to more nearly approximate the earnings of the chief wage earner in
the family. Whatever may be the explanation, the figures open up
a broad field of speculation as to the importance of the earnings of
sons and daughters in their relation to the family standard of living.
The figures just quoted give an idea of the value to the family of
sons and daughters, collectively, as wage earners. For instance, if
in one family there were two sons, one making 10 per cent and the
other 20 per cent of the family earnings, this family has been classed
with those for whom 30 per cent of the family earnings was derived
from the sons. Such collective treatment of the material does not,
of course, bring out the individual status of the men and women who
were sons and daughters, which information is equally important.
A classification of individual records is necessary, therefore, if the
matter is to be considered from the standpoint of the men and women
rather than from that of their families. Table 5 shows the per­
centages contributed by sons and daughters considered individually,
and their ages.
'



1 1 4 THE

Table 5.—Per

cent of family earnings contributed by sons and by daughters, classified by age of contributors.
NUMBER.
Persons in each specified age group who contributed—
Under 10 per cent.
Daugh­
ters.

Sons.

18 and under 19 years..................
19 and under 20 years..................
20 and under 25 years..................

226
198
101
178
17
6

194
202
106
281
51
20

Sons.
106
37
28
9
18
2

Daugh­
ters.
83
56
46
21
26
6

10 and under 20
per cent.
Daugh­
ters.

Sons.
77
66
38
17
22
1
1

72
60
54
33
75
8
5

20 and under 30
per cent.
Sons.

Daugh­
ters.

30 and under 40
per cent.
Sons.

Daugh­
ters.

40 and under 50
per cent.
Daugh­
ters.

Sons.

45
59
66
33
114
21
6

33
40
49
24
51
3
1

14
15
30
13
47
10
8
1

14
17
22
14
23

282

344

201

138

75
62
53
29
53
9
1

1,033

1,070

200

238

222

307

Daugh­
ters.

Sons.

1
4
4
4
13
6
1

4
8
8
11
2
1

93

33

35

10

4.6
7.5
11.1
13.9
12.9

0.5
2.1
2.0
3.8
4.6
11.8
5.0

1.8
4.0
7.9
6.2
11.8
16.7

1.0
1.9
2.1

2
1

2
2
6

1

1
Total...................................

50 per cent and
over.

PER CENT.
16 and under 17 years..................
17 and under 18 years..................
18 and under 19............................
19 and under 20 years..................
20 and under 25 years..................
25 and under 30 years..................
30 and under 35 years..................

29.5
21.9
19.2
9.8
17.2
1.6
.6
.1
.1

20.1
18.1
18.9
9.9
26.3
4.8
1.9
.1

34.8
16.4
14.1
8.9
10.1
11.8

38.6
28.9
22.8
19.8
9.3
11.8

25.2
29.2
19.2
16.8
12.4
5.9
16.7

33.5
30.9
26.7
31.1
26.7
15.7
25.0

24.6
27.4
26.8
28.7
29.8
52.9
16.7

20.9
30.4
32.7
31.1
40.6
41.2
30.0

10.8
17.7
24.7
23.8
28.7
17.6
16.7

6.5
7.7
14.9
12.3
16.7
19.6
40.0
100.0

33.3
100.0

Total...................................

100.0

100.0

19.4

22.2

21.5

28.7

27.3

32.1

19.5

12.9

9.0




100.0
3.1

3.4

.9

SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Total.
Age.

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

115

About the same proportions of sons and of daughters were under
25 years of age, but a considerably larger proportion of sons were less
than 18, while the daughters showed the larger grouping, 26.3 per
cent, between the ages of 20 and 25. The proportions of daughters
exceeded the proportions of sons who were contributing under 10 per
cent, from 10 to 20 per cent, and from 20 to 30 per cent of the family
earnings. Of those contributing from 30 to 40 per cent, from 40 to
50 per cent, and 50 per cent and over the sons formed the larger
percentage. In all, 83 per cent of the daughters and 68.2 per cent
of the sons contributed less than 30 per cent of the family earnings,
while, conversely, 31.9 per cent of the sons but only 16.9 per cent of
the daughters contributed 30 per cent or more. As all of the persons
included in this survey contributed to the family their entire earnings,
the difference between these figures and those of the preceding table,
which shows that collectively the earnings of sons and daughters
were in somewhat the same position in relation to the total family
earnings, can only mean that the families in which there was more
than one daughter earning wages were more numerous than those
in which there was more than one son, for the combined earnings of
the daughters in each family formed a considerably higher percentage
of the family earnings than did the individual earnings of the daughters,
while the combined and individual earnings of the sons showed very
much less difference.
The effect of age on the percentage of earnings contributed was
about as would be expected. In the youngest group of both sons and
daughters the majority contributed less than 20 per cent, but the
proportion contributing this amount decreased with age until among
those 30 and over there were only one son and five daughters contrib­
uting as little as 20 per cent. This fluctuation with age is probably
due to the increased earning power which came with greater experience
and therefore increased the size of the contributions of the older
sons and daughters.
In this connection it must again be pointed out that the only
families represented in this report are those in which all wage earners
turned in all of their wages to the family fund. Under this condition,
therefore, a higher wage would be immediately reflected in a greater
per cent of family earnings contributed, which would not necessarily
be the case if those sons and daughters who contributed only part of
their earnings had been included.
On the whole, the figures from this study show that even in those
families which were selected to represent as nearly as possible the
normal family unit, a good share of the family earnings was derived
from the sons and daughters over 16, and the higher the total family
earnings the greater was the proportion so derived.




116

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Comparing the earnings and contributions of the sons and of the
daughters, it is evident that, collectively, the two sexes assume
positions of about the same importance in the economic life of the
family, the girls making up in number what they lacked in amount
of wages. Individually, however, the sons were the more extensive
contributors. Because only those families are included here all of
whose members contributed their entire earnings to the family fund
the difference between the individual status of the sons and daughters
may be misleading, other studies having shown conclusively that a
larger proportion of single women than of single men contribute all
of their earnings to the family. This fact would materially qualify
the figures presented here on the individual status of the sons and
daughters, but it would not affect the general picture of the collec­
tive importance of the sons and daughters in the type of family
studied.




PART III
DEPENDENTS, CONTRIBUTIONS, AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIP
AN ACCOUNT OF THE HOME RESPONSIBILITIES OF WOMEN AS
SHOWN IN 52 REPORTS WHICH HAVE PRESENTED
MATERIAL ON THE SUBJECT




117




PART III.
DEPENDENTS, CONTRIBUTIONS, AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIP.
In addition to the figures presented in preceding pages, which were
secured from original investigations made by the Women’s Bureau
or from material not presented in this form before, there is a con­
siderable mass of testimony regarding the economic status of women
as family wage earners which has been gathered from time to time
by many different organizations throughout the country. These re­
ports show great variety in data, scope, type of persons included,
and method followed in securing the material. In spite of this fact,
however, there is sufficient similarity in the subjects emphasized and
the information obtained to show a very clear picture of conditions
which seem to have prevailed for many years among the women
wage earners of this country.
The statistical accuracy of the figures quoted from these reports can
not always be vouched for, nor can it be guaranteed that each investi­
gation was as scientifically conducted as the highest standards might
require. However, measuring the conclusions formulated by the
least exacting of the reports against those based on the findings of
the most carefully collected and compiled, there is a sufficient simi­
larity between the two to carry conviction that even the casual
survey has discovered representative and fundamental facts.
The following list gives a summary of the investigations from
which figures have been taken for this discussion. The reports of
the investigations are listed in detail in the bibliography at the end
of this volume. When the various investigations are mentioned in
the text they are given a reference number which corresponds to
the number given in the following list. In presenting the material
it has been necessary in many instances to summarize and compile
data from several sections of the same report. For this reason it
is not practicable to give exact references to the original material.
Instead, in the bibliography, inclusive page references are given for
those sections from which material has been used.
38783°—23---- 9




119

Investigation made by—

Bureau of Social Hygiene..

Locality.

Purpose.

New York, N. Y.., Study of housing conditions of em­
ployed women.

Date.

1922

2

Study of census material on family 1920-1922
Women's Bureau, United Passaic, N. J.
status of wage-earning women.
States Department of
Labor, and United States
Bureau of the Census.
1921
Study of cost of living of wage-earn­
Wisconsin Industrial Com­ Wisconsin..
ing women.
mission.
1921
Women’s Bureau, United Government arse­ Study of working conditions of
nal.
States Department of
women.
Labor (confidential report
made to).
a 1921
Study of extent to which women
Women’s Educational and Boston, Mass..
could save to provide for their old
Industrial Union.
age.
1921
Study of provision for old age made
.do.
.do.
by women teachers.
Women’s Bureau, United Georgia............
States Department of
Labor.
Massachusetts Minimum Massachusetts..
Wage Commission.
.do.,

___ do...............

.do..

___do...............

Women’s Bureau, United Kansas........... .
States Department of
Labor.
___ do..................................... Detroit, Mich.
.do.




United States.

Type of women from whom data
were secured.

Num­
ber of
women,

Method of investiga­
tion.

Employed in offices, stores, factories,
and trade schools and business
and professional occupations.
Unselected, breadwinners.................

8,782

Questionnaire.

9,769

Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.

Unselected, employed in industry.

1,993

Unselected, employed in arsenal...

785

Personal interviews.

Shoe workers, selected for reliability
and steadiness of employment.

408

Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.

Active and retired women teachers
in the public schools of Massachu­
setts.
Unselected, wage-earning in in­
dustry.

305

Question naire and
home visits.

205

Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.

Do.

Survey of hours, wages, and working
conditions of women in industry.

1920-21

Study of wages to determine the
need for a minimum wage in the
corset industry.
Study of wages to determine the
need for a minimum wage for the
manufacture of food preparations
and minor lines of confectionery.
Study of wages to determine the
need for a minimum wage in
paper-box factories.
Survey of wage-earning women in
industry.

*1920

Unselected, wage-earning in corset
factories.

1,361

2 1920

Unselected, wage earning in the
manufacture of food preparations
and minor lines of confectionery.

601

Unselected, wage earning in paperbox factories.

1,054

Personal interview's.

Unselected, wage earning in in­
dustry.

5,630

Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.

Survey of hours, wages, and working
conditions of women street-car
conductors and ticket agents.
Study of types of dependents of
wage-earning women.

1919-20

2

1920

1920

1919

Street-car conductors.,
! Unselected, wage earning in in­
I dustry.

47
1,880

Questionnaire.
Do.

Personal interviews.
Questionnaire.

share of wage - earning w o m en in fa m ily su ppo r t .

Inves­
tiga­
tion
No.1

120 t h e

SUMMARY OF INVESTIGATIONS.

14 | Washington Industrial Wel­
fare Commission.

17
18
19

20
21
22

23

Oregon Bureau of Labor Oregon....................
Statistics.
Hewes, Amy.......................... Smith, Vassar,Wel­
lesley, and Mt.
Holyoke colleges.
Maryland State Board of Maryland................
Labor and Statistics.
Massachusetts
Minimum Massachusetts........
Wage Commission.
.do

.do.

Women’s Bureau, U, S. De­
partment of Labor.
Louisiana Council of National
Defense.
Minnesota Council of Na­
tional Defense and State
Department of Labor.
National War Labor Board..

Virginia..
Louisiana.
Minnesota.

Study of dependents of wage-earning ] 1919-20
women.
— .do.................................................. 1918-1920
Study of dependents of unmarried
teachers.
Survey of dependents of wage-earn­
ing women.
Study of wages to determine need
for minimum-wage ruling in the
canning and preserving industry.
Study of wages to determine need
for minimum-wage ruling in the
knit-goods other than hosiery in­
dustry.
Survey of hours and working condi­
tions of women in industry.
Survey of conditions of women’s
work.
Study of wage-earning women_____

Schenectady, N.Y., Study of cost of living........................
and Lynn. Mass.
Women street car conductors. Cleveland, Ohio_
_ Argument presented to War Labor
Board to secure retention of women
street car conductors.
25 Librarian of Congress
Washington, D. C.. Study of family responsibilities to
secure material to present to Ap­
propriations Committee of House
of Representatives.
26 Russell Sage Foundation---- Bridgeport, Conn.. Study of the effect of the war on the
employment of women.
27 IT. S. Bureau of Labor Sta­ District of Colum­ Study or cost of living of wage-earn­
tistics.
bia.
ing women.
28 Connecticut Bureau of Labor. Connecticut............ Study of conditions of wage-earning
women and girls.
29 Consumers’ League of East­ Wilkesbarre, Pa__ Survey of schooling, wages, etc., of
ern Pennsylvania.
young girls.
24

30
31

Kansas Departmen t of Labor Kansas..
and Industry.
Michigan State Commission Michigan.
of Inquiry into wages and
conditions of labor for
I women.

1919

Questionnaire to firms.
Questionnaire.

Unselected, wage earning in in­
dustry.
Unselected, employed in canning
and preserving establishments.

4,296

2 1919
1919

Unselected, employed in knit-goods
other than hosiery establishments.

169

1919

Unselected, wage-earning in indus­
59
try.
Representative number from each
5,202
establishment visited.
Unselected, wage-earning in indus­ 51,361
try.

Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.
Personal interviews.

Unselected, employees of an electric
company.
Street car conductors.........................

198

Home visits and per­
sonal inter views.
Questionnaire.

1917

Employees in one division of Li­
brary of Congress.

23

1916

Munitions workers..............................

100

1916

Unselected, in all occupations, earn­
ing less than $1,100.
Unselected, employed in various
industries.
Girls under 16......................................

600

1918-19
1918
1918
1918

1915-16
1914

Study of wages of women in industry.

1914

Wage study to ascertain need for
minimum wage for women.

1914

The full titles of the investigations will be found in the bibliography, pp. 165 to 170.




Personal interviews.

105

173

8,722
302

Unselected, wage-earning in indus­
try.
........do...................................................

1,931

Personal interviews.
Not reported.
Do.

Do.

Not reported.

Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.
Do.
Not reported.
Records of personal
working certificates,
home visits, and per­
sonal interviews.
Personal interviews.

8,356
!

2

Date of publication of report.

Do.

121

1

1919

Unselected, employed in 87 manu­ 1,730
facturing establishments and laun­
dries.
Unselected, employed in various in­ 13,494
dustries throughout the State.
Members of the faculty and staffs of
283
the four colleges.

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

15
16

Washington.

32

Type of women from whom data
were secured.

Num­
ber of
women.

Study of family relationship of wage­
1914
earning women and its connection
with the cost of living.
Study of home and working condi­
2 1914
tions of wage-earning mothers.
Study of wages of women in mer­
1914
cantile establishments.
Study of wages and working condi­ 1913-14
tions of women in mercantile estab­
lishments.
Study of unemployment among
1913-14
women in stores.
Study of cost of living of wage earn­ 1913-1914
ing women.
Study of wages and cost of living for 1911-1913
wage earning women.
Study of Italian working women---- 1911-1913

Unselected, employed in stores and
factories.

1,929

Unselected, employed in factories,
laundries, and stores.
Italian, in industry............................

4,126

Personal interviews.

1,095

Massachusetts Commission Massachusetts........ Study of wages in order to determine
2 1912
on Minimum Wage Boards.
the need for a minimum-wage law.
Michigan Department of La­ Michigan................. Study of working conditions of wo­
1912
men and girls.
bor.
Rusell Sage Foundation....... New York City---- Conditions of employment for wo­ 1910-1912
men artificial-flower makers.
Consumers’ League of Wis­ Milwaukee, Wis— Survey of wages and living condi­
1911
tions of wage earning women.
consin.
Russell Sage Foundation---- New York City---- Study of conditions of employment 1908-1911
for women in the book binding
trade.
United States Department United States__ __ Investigation of the conditions of 1907-1909
of Commerce and Labor.
woman, and child wage earners.

Unselected, employed in candy fac­
tories, retailstores, and laundries.
Unselected, wage earning in indus­
try.
Artificial flower makers....................

3,860

Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.
Personal interviews.

Unselected, employed in 15 indus­
tries.
Employed in the book binding trade.

1,189

Unselected, wage earners in the cot­
ton textile, men’s ready-made
clothing, glass,and silk industries,
and in stores and factories in 7 cit­
ies, and in hotels and restaurants
in 6 cities.
Unselected employed in tanneries__

15,161

Unselected, factory employees..........

2,545

Investigation made by—

Locality.

New York Factory Investi­
gation Commission.

Cities in New York
State.

33

Russell Sage Foundation---- New York City----

34

California Retail Dry Goods
Association.
Consumers’ League of East­
ern Pennsylvania.

35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45

46
47

California................
Philadelphia, Pa...

U. S. Bureau of Labor Sta­ Boston, Mass..........
tistics.
Wisconsin Bureau of Labor Wisconsin...............
and Industrial Statistics.
Kansas City Board of Public Kansas City, Mo...
Welfare.
Russell Sage Foimdation---- New York City___

Wisconsin Bureau of Labor
and Industrial Statistics.
Illinois Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics.




Purpose.

Date.

Milwaukee, Wis — Wages of women in tanneries............ 1907-1908
Chicago,
Elgin; Study of wages and working condi­
Bloomington, and
tions.
Springfield, 111.

1906

Wage-earning mothers......................

370

Employed in mercantile establish­
ments in the State.
Unselected, store employees.............

4,810
363

Unselected, employed in depart­ 1,156
ment and retail stores.
Single, wage earning, living at home. 13,686

1,525
174

199

90

Method of investiga­
tion.

Personal interviews.
Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.
Not reported.
Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.
Do.
Questionnaire.

Do.
Home visits and per­
sonal interviews.
Personal interviews.
Home visits and per­
sonal interviewsDo.

Do.
Personal interviews.

SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Inves­
tiga­
tion
No.

122 THE

Summary of investigations—Continued.

48
49

51
52

2

United States
Labor.

Bureau of

Date of publication of report.

2 1894

Unselected, employed in representa-

500

Do.

1894

....... do___

1,780

1893

....... do....................................................

3,877

Personal interviews.
and questionnaire.
Home visits and per-

1890

Unselected, wage earning in indus­
try.

1,458

Personal interviews.

1888

Unselected, employed in stores or in
manual work in establishments
other than textile.

17,427

Do.

123




Indianapolis, Ind.. Study of home responsibilities of
wage earning women.
Leading cities in .......do...................................................
Kansas.
New Jersey............. Study of wages and cost of living of
wage earning women.
St. Louis, Kansas Study of home responsibilities of
City, and St. Jo­
wage earning women.
seph, Mo.
22 cities................... Condition of wage earning women...

THE SPIARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

50

Indiana Department of Sta­
tistics.
Kansas Bureau of Labor and
Industry.
New Jersey Department of
Labor.
Missouri Bureau of Labor
Statistics.

124

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

The information given in this list affords a basis for a fairly definite
evaluation of the material presented. Some of the investigations
included are so well known as to need no comment. Others are not
widely known, or, having emphasized other matters, will not be
remembered as presenting definite material on the family respon­
sibilities of wage-earning women. The great variety in the type of
these studies will have a particularly significant bearing upon the
figures which are quoted from them. The fact that only a very small
number were made with the intention of emphasizing the dependents
and home responsibilities of women, and that by far the great majority
were investigations of wages and general working conditions, makes
the figures particularly significant, applying, as they do, not to a
special group selected for study because of their family responsibilities,
but rather to a group unselected from this standpoint and therefore
more representative of the great body of wage-earning women.
Some of the reports quoted date back many years, the oldest
having been made in 1888. These early figures give an historical
background which will indicate to some extent whether or not
women have assumed greater responsibilities during the recent
years of their increased opportunity in industry.
It is particularly important to notice that in all except 9 of the
47 studies which reported on method the material was secured
through personal interviews with the women. Even employing
such a method, there is room for many different interpretations of the
material, but on the whole it is infinitely superior to questionnaires,
where there may be as many interpretations of certain questions
as there are women who answer the questionnaire.
Few of the investigations covered entirely the same points. But
many of them covered some of the same points, so that it is possible
to assemble the findings on a number of subjects and thus to see
more quickly the general trend of the reports.
The type of women included in the investigations varied con­
siderably. For the major part, they were unselected groups employed
in representative industries in different localities throughout the
United States. In some instances the investigation has been limited
to the women employed in one industry. Where such limitations
occur, the findings of the report are materially qualified because of
special conditions which may have prevailed in the one industry
studied, such as the payment of exceptionally low wages or the
employment of only young, inexperienced women and the figures
are, therefore, so much the less open to general application.
In other cases a special group of women has been considered,
principally because they were known to have dependents or because
they were of the type which was likely to have them. Figures for
such groups obviously are not comparable with those secured from
less selected persons, but are significant as affording a basis for
definite estimation of the type and extent of dependency.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

125

DEPENDENTS.

The subject reported on by the greatest number of investigations
included here was the number of women “with dependents.” Un­
fortunately, in only a very small number of the investigations was
this phrase sufficiently defined to show what it actually meant.
The differentiation between total and partial dependency seldom
was made and there was, on the whole, little definite information
given as to the extent of the dependency. However, most of the
information was secured through personal interviews with the women
themselves, and the proportion who reported that they had de­
pendents of one sort or another is an important and definite indi­
cation of the reaction of these women to the needs of their families
and the responsibility which they felt they must assume if these
needs were to be met.
The following table gives, for each investigation which presented
figures on the subject, the number and per cent of women who re­
ported that they had dependents.
Table 1.—Per

cent of women in each investigation who reported that thay had
1 ‘ dependents.J*

Total
number
of
women
included.

Type of women and number and date of investigation.

Number and per
cent of women
in each investi­
gation who had
dependents
(type not desig­
nated).
Number. Per cent.

(1)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
(10)
(11)
(12)
(15)
(16)
(17)
(18)
(19)
(20)
(22)
(23)
(24)
(25)
(27)
(28)
(30)
(31)
(32)
(34)
(36)
(38)
(38)
(47)
(48)
(49)
(50)
(51)
(52)

Employed women in the Borough of Manhattan, 19221........................
11
Women teachers in Massachusetts, 1921.................................................
Women in industry in Georgia, 1920-1921...............................................
Women in corset factories in Massachusetts, 19201................................
W omen in food preparation and minor lines of confectionery in Mas­
sachusetts, 19201......................................................................................
Women in paper-box factories in Massachusetts, 1920 K..............
Women in industry in Kansas, 1920.........................................................
Women street-car conductors in Detroit, 1919-1920................................
Wage-earning women in Oregon, 1918-1920.............................................
Teachers in four women’s colleges, 1919..................................................
Women in industry in Maryland, 1919.....................................................
Women in canning and preserving in Massachusetts, 1919 1................
Women in knit goods other than hosiery in Massachusetts, 1919.........
Women in industry in Virginia, 1919........................................................
Women in industry in Minnesota, 1918..........................................]..!!!
Women in an electrical plant in Schenectady, 1918...............................
Women street-car conductors in Cleveland, 1918....................................
Women in one division of the Library of Congress, 1917.......................
Wage-earning women with incomes under $1,100 in the District of
Columbia, 1916..........................................................................................
Wage-earniDg women and girls in Connecticut, 19i5-i9i6!.
Women in industry in Kansas, 19141.......................................................
Women in industry in Michigan, 1914......................................................
Women in stores and factories in New York State, 1914.......................
Women in stores! n California, 1914................. ........................................
Women in stores in Boston, 1913-1914......................................................
Women in factories and laundries in Kansas City, 1911-1913................
Women in stores in Kansas City, 1912......................................................
Women factory employees in 4 cities in Illinois, 1906............................
Women in industry in Indiana, 18941......................................................
Women in industry in Kansas, 1894.........................................................
Wage-earning women in New Jersey, 1893...............................................
Wage-earning women in Missouri, 1890....................................................
Women in stores and in manufacturing other than textiles in 22
cities, 1888..................................................................................................

1 Date of publication of report.




Total dependents.

8,782
190
205
610

4,353
147
135
393

49.5
77.4
65.9
64.4

251
573
4,329
47
13,494
’283
4,296
105
169
59
51,301
100
173
23

131
334
2 266
37
2,419
3 137
1,486
63
89
37
28,683
29
95
19

52.2
58.3
2 6.1
78.7
17.9
43. 4
34.6
60.0
52.7
62.7
55.8
2 9. 0
54.9
87.0

600
8,722
1,931
8, 358
1,929
4,810
1,156
3,240
2, 400
2,545
500
1,780
3,877
1,453

129
5, 337
810
2,138
576
552
214
570
794
1,645
246
801
1,012
994

21.5
61.2
41.9
25.6
29.9
11.5
18.5
17.6
33.1
64.6
49.2
45.0
26.1
6S.2

5,716

563

9.8

8 This study includes 44 men.

126

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING■ WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

This table shows considerable variety in the proportions of women
reporting that they had dependents, but when the qualifying factors
in the different investigations are examined the differences do not
seem to he so striking and the percentage for the whole group (41.3),
although statistically speaking not an accurate figure, is, from the
standpoint of the general situation, probably not far from correct.
In 15 of these investigations more than one-half of the women
reported that they had dependents. In 20 studies more than 40 per
cent of the women reported that they had dependents. Considering
the fact that included in those percentages are women who were
reported only when they had total dependents, and women who were
not living at home, and that women are excluded who reported that
they were contributing their earnings to the family but not that they
had dependents, the percentages quoted are probably far lower than
was actually so.
Some of the instances of very small proportions of women with
dependents are traceable directly to the type of women from whom
the information was secured, or to the method of the investigation.
That only 6.1 per cent of the women in the Women’s Bureau study
of wage-earning women in Kansas were reported as having depend­
ents is due to the fact that only women with total dependents were
enumerated in this connection in that report. The 9.8 per cent of
the women with dependents in the U. S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics survey of women’s wages in 22 large cities, is probably the
result of a similar classification, although the report does not state
definitely that such is the case. It does state, however, in different
tables, that in addition to the 563 women who claimed to have
dependents, there were 8,754 who reported that they contributed
their earnings to their families, so it appears evident that the 9.8 per
cent is not a fair statement of the actual extent of responsibility
among these women. The 11.5 per cent of the women with depend­
ents in California stores is accounted for by the fact that this figure
includes only those who had children, parents or other relatives
dependent upon them for support, and does not consider those who
were merely contributing to the family expenses.
Judging by the figures quoted in these 33 investigations it does
not seem an exaggeration to state that about two-fifths of all wage­
earning women feel a definite responsibility for the entire or partial
support of one or more dependents. This figure does not include
the large group of women who contributed regularly to the upkeep
of the home but did not feel the individual responsibility sufficiently
to report that they had dependents.
Total dependents.
Whatever may be the extent of the responsibility it seems obvious
from a study of the details of the various investigations that, as the



THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

127

sole support of dependent persons, women do not play a very impor­
tant part. The size of the average woman’s wage and the fact that
the great majority of wage-earning women are single and living at
home make it unlikely that very large numbers of them should he
found to he entirely responsible for the support of others. Although
many of the investigations discussed here did not examine the type
of dependency reported, there was some scattered material which
bore on the subject and which is summarized in the following table.
Table 2 —Number and per cent of women who reported that they had total dependents.

Type of women and number and date of investigation.

Total
number

of
women
included.

(6) Women teachers in Massachusetts..............................
(11) Women in industry in Kansas, 1920.....................
.......
(12) Women street-car conductors in Detroit, 1919-20........ !.! ]!
(23) JV omen in an electrical plant in Schenectady, lois......... ”
(25) Women in one division of the Library of the Congress, 1917
(2°) Wage-earning women and girls in Connecticut, 1915-16___
(36) Women in stores in Boston, 1913-14..................
(38) Women in stores in Kansas City, 1912
.............

190
4,326
47
100

23
8,722
1,156
2,400

Number and per
cent of women
wbo had total de­
pendents.
Number. Per cent
of total.
54
266

28.4

9
13
1,676
29
232

46.8
9.0
56.5
19.2
2.5
9.7

22

6.1

It is readily seen from this table that what slight information there
is regarding the subject of total dependents indicates that it is a prob­
lem for only a comparative^ small number of women. The only two
cases where very large proportions of women were reported to have
total dependents were among 47 street-car conductors in Detroit and
23 employees of the Library of Congress in Washington. Figures for
such limited groups as this, complete and representative though they
m ay he for the investigation of which they form a p art, are too limited to
afford a basis for comparison or deduction. Although the other fig­
ures given here are comparatively slight, in the main they agree with
the more complete ones which were secured in the Manchester inves­
tigation and which showed that the dependency problem among
women was not the entire support of one or more persons but rather
a sharing in the economic responsibility for the maintenance of family
life and adequate standards of living. When it was required, how­
ever, the total support of dependents presented a very serious prob­
lem for the women whose earnings were apt to be far from adequate
for this additional burden.
Types of dependents.
“Supporting dependents” is a vague phrase which may mean much
and may mean little. At the very least it means a feeling of respon­
sibility for others and it is important to know what type of person the
average working woman feels she must support or help to support.
The investigations discussed here did not give very much information



128

THE SHAKE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

on this subject, but in the main what figures are given are sufficiently
similar to present a fairly clear picture. The most extensive investi­
gation of the type of dependents supported by wage-earning women
was made in the fall of 1919 by the Women’s Bureau in cooperation
with State departments of labor (13.) The figures in this investiga­
tion were secured from a large and unselected group of women by
questionnaires'which were sent out by the Women’s Bureau to State
departments of labor and by them to representative industrial es­
tablishments in a number of States. The figures showing the extent
of the practice of supporting dependents which were secured by this
means were not sufficiently accurate to be used, but other facts were
obtained which give a very graphic illustration of the type of de­
pendents whom wage-earning women in industry feel to be their re­
sponsibility. A classification of these dependents according to rela­
tionship is given in the following table:
Table 3 —Type of de-pendents of wage-earning women, by conjugal condition of the
women supporting them. (13)
Number of women who supported 1—
Num­
ber of
Children.
women
with
depend­ Father. Mother. Hus­
band.
ents.
1
2
4
Total.
3

Conjugal condition.

6 or
more.

5

751
490
567

48

Married...........................
Widowed or divorced...

6
2

249
26
31

67

366
484

202

97
140

42
57

15

272

11

9
3

1
1

Total.....................

1,808

56

306

67

850

474

237

99

26

12

2

Number of women who supported 1—
Other relatives.

Brothers or sisters.

Conjugal condition.
Total.

1

2

5 or Total.
more.

4

3

1

2

4

3

6 or
more.

5

35
4
7

11
1

7

2

24

179
5
3

94
5
3

41

20

14

5

Widowed or divorced

59
5
7

Total................

71

46

12

7

2

24

187

102

41

20

14

5

Single.........................

35

Number of women who supported 1—
Relationship not reported.

Conjugal condition.
Total.

Widowed or divorced......................................
Total........................................................

1

2

Total
number
of de­
5 or
more- pendents.

4

3

2

319
109

247
92
89

65
14
18

6
2
2

539

428

97

10

2

1,156
873
972

2

3,001

1
1

111

1 This number necessarily exceeds “number of women with dependents’7 in cases where a woman had
more than one dependent.
2 One woman had eight and one had six.
a Three women had six, one had seven, and one had eight.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

129

Whether or not the dependents listed in the foregoing table were
supported solely by the women who reported, there can be little
doubt that dependency existed to some degree in each case. The
women who reported that they had dependents must have felt a
responsibility, even though it may not have been solely theirs. For
this reason it is very illuminating to see that the burden of the
single woman seems to have been chiefly the support of her mother.
Of the 751 single women who had dependents 249 reported the
mother to be a dependent. In view of the fact that 319 single
women reported that they had dependents but did not state their
relationship, it seems likely that the number of dependent mothers
was even greater than appears from the actual figures given. A
surprisingly large number of single women (179) reported that they
had dependent relatives other than parents or brothers and sisters.
These “other relatives” include nieces and nephews, a very common
type of dependent or partial dependent for single women.
For the married women and those who were widowed or divorced
the information returned was more complete, as in only 109 and 111
cases, respectively, did the women fail to state the relationship of
their dependents. Practically all of the dependents of those two
groups of women were children. The majority of the women had
one dependent child, but a not inconsiderable number, 237, had two,
and 99 had three dependent children.
The fact that only 67 married women reported dependent husbands
shows that for the greater number of married women most of the
dependent children were probably not total dependents. If a
married woman is not divorced or widowed and is not supporting
her husband, it is safe to assume that hers is not the sole responsi­
bility but rather a supplementary contribution. With the widowed
or divorced, the problem is that of supporting dependent children,
and probably in this group there was a much greater extent of total
dependency than among the married women. It is interesting to
see for these two groups of women who were or had been married
that the problem of dependency is almost wholly that of caring for
a younger generation, a problem similar to that of the average man
who is the head of a family. On the other hand, the figures here
indicate unquestionably that it is the older generation which con­
stitutes the burden of the single woman, a burden which does not
lighten with the years as does that of the younger generation, but
instead grows heavier as increasing age requires physical as well as
financial assistance.
One of the earlier investigations of the dependents of women
factory workers in Illinois in 1906 (47) secured information about
type of dependents from 1,645 women. These reported a total of
2,938 dependents, an average of 1.79 per woman; of those dependents




130

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

2,234 (76 per cent) were fathers or mothers, 589 (20 per cent) were
brothers and sisters, and 15 (0.5 per cent) were husbands. The
remaining 100 (3.4 per cent) were unclassified. Of those women
reporting dependents 88.9 per cent were single, so the type of
dependents shown here can be considered to he mainly representative
of conditions among single women.
.
In a study of the dependents of wage-earning women in Oregon in
1918- 1920 (15) a few facts were gathered about the type of dependents,
although the material was not given in such detail as the figures just
quoted. Among the 2,519 women who were reported as having
dependents there was a total of 2,785 dependents, an average of 1.11
dependents per woman. Of those dependents 1,798 (64.6 per cent)
were children and 987 (35.4 per cent) were adults. This proportion
is very different from those quoted for the Illinois investigation but
is explained by the fact that only 928 of the women were single.
It is evident from these figures that the chief factor affecting the
type of dependents is the conjugal condition of the women. The
married woman naturally has to the greatest extent the problem of
supporting children, while the single woman is responsible in the
main for adults who are not able to support themselves.
Further evidence to this effect is given in a short investigation
made by the Industrial Welfare Commission of Washington (14) in
1919- 20. This report states that of 991 women from whom infor­
mation was secured there were 79 single women and 131 widows
who reported on the type of their dependents. Of the single women
66 (83.5 per cent) were aiding in the support of their parents and 13
(16.5 per cent) were helping younger brothers and sisters. Of the
131 widows, 45 were supporting one child, 19 were supporting two
children, 9 were supporting three children, 1 was supporting four
children, and 1 five children. Two of the married women were
supporting invalid husbands, and the rest were contributing to the
family budget.
That the married women, however, are not responsible for the
support only of children is evidenced by the figures shown in an
investigation of the dependents of teachers (16). Of 39 married
teachers with dependents, 9 (or 23.1 per cent) were supporting their
parents, brothers, or sisters. Of 98 single teachers (6 of whom were
men) with dependents, 79 (or 80.6 per cent) were supporting their
parents, brothers, or sisters.
In this connection the report just quoted states:
The part of their incomes which they [unmarried teachers] contribute to the support
of then dependents is not so large, in most cases, as the part contributed by the mar­
ried teachers; but it is largely devoted to the support of older people, who will
probably continue to be dependent as long as they live, while the majority of the
married people have children who will later be responsible for the maintenance of
themselves and parents.




131

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FAMILY.

From the woman’s standpoint the most satisfactory measure of
the share taken in family maintenance can bo achieved by a consid­
eration of the relation between earnings and contributions. The
definite relationship between these two is not always possible to
establish, for in few instances are reports made of the actual amounts
contributed to the family and the actual amounts earned. It has
been possible, however, to secure from a large number of investiga­
tions a statement as to whether all, part, or none of their earnings
was contributed to their families by the women investigated. The
figures on this subject are detailed in Table 4.
Table 4.—Proportion of earnings contributed, to the family.
Number and per cent of women who con­
tributed to tlieir families—
Type of women and their living condition and
number and date of investigation.

Total
number
of
women
in-

All their
earnings.

Part of their
earnings.

Num- Per Num- Per Number. cent. ber. cent. ber.
(3) Women in industry in Wisconsin, 1921: At
home..................................................................
(11) Women in industry m Kansas, 1920.................
(23) Women in an electrical plant in Schenectady,
(23) Women in an electrical plant in Lynn, 1918..
(26) Women munition workers in Bridgeport,
1916: At home...................................................
(29) Girls under 16 in Wilkes Barre, 1914: At home.
(31) Women in industry in Michigan, 1914: At
home..................................................................
(35) Women in stores in Philadelphia, 1913-14:
At home...........................................................
Adrift...............................................................
Total................................................................
(36) Women in stores in Boston, 1913-14.................
(37) Single women in industry in Wisconsin, 1913­
14: At home......................................................
(39) Italian women in industry in New York, 1911—
1913: At home...................................................
(40) Women in candy factories in Massachusetts,
19i28...............................................................
(40) Women in retail stores in Massachusetts,
1912 3.................................................................
(40) Women in laundries in Massachusetts, 19123..
(43) Women in industry in Milwaukee, 1911: At
home..................................................................
(45) Women in stores and factories in 7 cities, 1907­
1909:
At home.........................................................
Adrift.............................................................
Total..............................................................
(45) Women in hotels and restaurants in 6 cities,
1907-1909:
At home.........................................................
Adrift.............................................................
Total..............................................................
(45) Single women in the men's ready-made cloth­
ing industry in 5 cities, 1907-1909: At home.
(47) Women factory employees in 4 cities in Illinois,
1906: At home...................................................
(52) Women in stores and in manufacturing other
than textiles in 22 cities, 1888: At home....... &

1,441
5,620

Per
cent.

2,102

381

26.4
37.4

895
1,973

62.1
35.1

165
1,5^5

11.5
27.5

36
32

36.0
32.7

42
43

42.0
46.9

122

98

22.0

13

20.4

97
302

49
250

50.5
82.8

48
45

49.5
14.9

7

2.3

5,929

2,458

41.5

2,750

46.4

721

12.2

181
181
362
1,156

52

28.7

52
462

14.4
40.0

116
58
174
521

64.1
32.0
48.1
45.1

13
123
136
a 173

37.5
15.0

13,686

5,278

38.6

8,114

59.3

294

2.1

945

758

80.2

174

18.4

13

1.4

836

656

78.5

170

20.3

10

1.2

2,276
748

1,404
448

61.7
59.9

796
293

35.0
39.2

76
7

3.3

1,078

875

81.2

197

18.3

6

.6

4,580
1,274
5,854

3,436

75.0

101

2.2

58.7

1,043
285
1,328

22.8

3,436

22.4
22.7

1,090

18.6

127

88

69.3

349

88

25.2

20.3

(4)
177

79.7

100

222

(u
45

7.2

.9

1,987

1,742

87.7

245

12.3

2,094

1,547

73.9

545

26.0

2

.1

14,918

8,754

58.7

4,267

28.6

701

4.7

Total................................................................... 5 59,876

30,803

51.4

22,670

37.8

5,171

8.6

1 Adrift.
2 Twenty-seven of these were living
3 Date of publication of report.




adrift

4 No report.
6 Information

not obtainable for about 1,200 women.

132

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

In 11 of the groups listed in this table more than one-half of the
women contributed all their earnings to their families. Naturally
those investigations and sections of investigations which included
only women living at home showed a very much larger proportion
who contributed all earnings. A few of the investigations, however,
such as those numbered 11, 23, 35, and 39, did not give the figures
classified by living conditions, and it is significant to see that even
here, where women not living at home are included, the percentages
of those contributing all earnings were, in the different industries
studied, 37.4, 36, 32.7, 40, 78.5, 61.7, and 59.9.
The Wisconsin study of the cost of living for women in industry
in 1921 (3) considers separately from the payment for board and
lodging the other contribution of the women who lived at home.
The figures for this show that the cash contribution for board and
lodging very seldom sufficed for the girl who lived at home, who was
usually expected to do more than pay board.
Table 5.—Women contributing besides paying board. (3)
Women contributing.
Number.
1,441
1,077
691
179
207

Per cent.
100.0

74.7
48.0
12.4
14.4

In the study of women employed in stores in California (34),
although the information is not tabulated so as to show definitely
either the proportion of earnings contributed or the living condition
of the contributor, there are some important figures showing the
extent of contribution. Of 4,810 women, it was found in that report
that 1,819 or 37.8 per cent were living in a home where the bread­
winner was either dead or unable to earn enough to support a family,
“the employee consequently being required to contribute toward the
expenses of same,” 552 or 11.5 per cent had others such as children,
parents or other relatives dependent upon them for support, and
1,330 or 27.7 per cent were entirely dependent on their own earnings
for support.
Equally significant are the percentages reported of those who con­
tributed nothing. It is manifestly impossible for the girl who does
not live at home to contribute all her earnings to her family, and
in view of the low earnings and comparatively high cost of living
for the average wage-earning woman, any contribution at all must,
in many cases, strain to the utmost the financial resources of the self­
supporting woman who lives alone. In spite of this, an amazingly




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

133

small percentage of women reported that they contributed nothing
to the home. In the two reports where women were separately clas­
sified as not living with their families (35 and 45), more than onehalf of them reported no contribution, but in the four investigations
already referred to (11, 23, 36, and 40), where women living apart
from their families were included with those living at home, the
percentages of those contributing nothing were 27.5, 22, 20.4, 15,
1.2, 3.3, and 0.9.
In addition to the women who contribute to their families and
those who contribute nothing but are self-supporting, there is a
third classification of women who are receiving assistance from their
families. This is the group which has commonly been supposed to
include a large proportion of wage-earning women. That such is
an erroneous supposition is indicated very definitely in the few' reports
which considered the subject. In the study of working women sup­
porting dependents in Kansas, published in 1914 (30), it was found
that of 191 women who lived away from home only 16 (8.4 per cent)
received any assistance from them families, while of 1,740 who lived
at home 550 (31.6 per cent) were self-supporting, 797 (45.8 per cent)
assisted their families as well as supported themselves, and 393
(22.6 per cent) were partially supported by their families.
In a report on the wages and conditions of labor of women in
industry in Michigan in 1914 (31) there appears a larger percentage
of women who were receiving assistance from their families, but this
was explained by the fact that their average wage was very small.
Of the 6,232 women in this investigation who lived at home, 2,921
(46.9 per cent) reported that they were helped by their relatives;
and of the 2,126 who lived independently 805 (37.9 per cent) reported
that they were helped by relatives. This is a surprisingly large per­
centage, but the average weekly wage of ,17.52 for this group is a
partial explanation of it. It is also significant to note that of the
women living at home 41.5 per cent reported that they contributed
all of their earnings to their- families while only 28.1 per cent reported
that they were contributing to the support of others, so that it seems
that the will to help was limited by the very low wages.
In the study of women employed in stores in California in 1914
(34) 23.1 per cent of the women were reported as living at home and
not depending on their earnings for support. Of the group of women
who were over 25, however, only 13 per cent were not dependent
on their earnings for support.
The effect of living conditions on the amount contributed to the
family.
As the degree of responsibility for the support of others assumed
by wage-earning women seems to be largely dependent upon living




134

THE SHARE OE WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

conditions, it becomes important to know the prevailing living con­
dition among these women. Table 6 gives this information for a
number of the investigations which gave figures on this subject and
which did not include a group of women so restricted as to number
or type that the figures were not representative.
Table 6.—Number and per cent of women who were living at home or independently.

Type of women and number and date of investigation.

Total
number
of
women
in­
cluded.

Number and per cent of women
who lived—
At home.

Independently.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
(2)
(3)
(8)
(9)
10)
;il)
18)
(21)
(27)
(28)
[30)
[31)
(32)
(36)
(42)
(43)
(44)
(45)
(45)
[47)
[48)
(50)
[52)

Women bread winners in Passaic, 1920-1922...............
Women in industry in Wisconsin, 1921........................
Women in corset factories in Massachusetts, 1920 1__
Women in food preparations and minor lines of cofectionery in Massachusetts, 19201............................
Women in paper-box factories in Massachusetts, 1920l.
Women in industry in Kansas, 1920.............................
Women in canning and preserving in Massachusetts,
19191........................................................................... ..
Wage-earning women in Louisiana, 1918-19.................
Wage-earning women with incomes under $1,100 in
the District of Columbia, 1916...................................
Wage-earning women and girls in Connecticut, 1915-16.
Women in industry in Kansas, 19141...........................
Women in industry in Michigan, 1914..........................
Women in stores and factories in New York State, 1914.
Women in stores in Boston, 1913-14..............................
Women artificial-flower makers in New York,
1910-1912.........................................................................
Women in industry in Milwaukee, 1911.......................
Women in the book-binding trade in New York,
1908-1911.........................................................................
Women in stores and factories in 7 cities, 1907-1909...
Women in hotels and restaurants in 6 cities, 1907-1909.
Women factory employees in 4 cities in Illinois, 1906.
Women in industry in Indiana, 1894 *..........................
Wage-earning women in New Jersey, 1893...................
Women in stores and in manufacturing other than
textiles in 22 cities, 1888...............................................

9,747
1,993
726

8,087
1,441
669

83.0
72.3
92.1

1,660
552
57

17.0
27.7
7.9

268
649
5,620

246
582
4,736

91.0
89.7
84.3

22

67
884

9.0
10.3
15.7

476
5,202

417
5,085

88.7
97.8

53
117

11.3

600
5,725
1,931
8,358
1,902
1,156

414
2,271
1,740
6,232
1,236
1,067

69.0
39.7
90.1
74.6
65.0
92.3

186
3,454
191
2,126
89

31.0
60.3
9.9
25.4
35.0
7.7

172
1,156

169
1,078

98.3
93.3

3
78

6.8

199
6,071
349
2,545
500
3,877

193
4,694
127
2,094
431
3,097

97.0
77.3
36.4
82.3

1,377

79.9

451
69
780

17,427

14,918

85.6

2,509

86.2

666

6
222

2.2

1.7

3.0
22.7
63.6
17.8
13.8
20.1

14.4

i Date of publication of report.

From the figures shown in this table there seems little doubt that
"living at home” is, and has been for many years, the prevailing
custom among wage-earning women. In only two investigations, 28
and 45, were less than 40 per cent of the women reported as living at
home. The women included in these two investigations were chiefly
employees in hotels and restaurants; therefore this small proportion
of those living at home is representative of conditions among persons
employed in that one type of occupation rather than among the
general run of wage-earning women. In investigation (27) only 69
per cent of the women were reported as living at home, but here too
was a special condition, for in the District of Columbia where this
investigation was conducted there is, because of the large body of
Government employees, perhaps a greater proportion of women
workers away from home than in any other section of the country.
In the investigation of women employed in stores and factories in




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

135

New York State (32) 65 per cent of the women lived at home.
This is a comparatively small proportion for which the material
presented in the report offers ho explanation. With these exceptions,
the proportion of women living at home ranged from 74.6 to 98.3,
and the per cent of the total number, 79.6, seems to be a fairly
representative figure. It is particularly interesting to see the simi­
larity in the percentage of those living at home as found in the
early investigations and in the more recent ones. In 1888 it was
found that 85.6 per cent of the working women in large cities lived
at home; in 1906, 82.3 per cent of the women in industry in Illinois
lived at home; and in 1920, 84.3 per cent of the women in industry
in Kansas lived at home.
The progress of the years and woman’s much heralded "emancipa­
tion” and advancement in industry do not seem actually to have put
her on a different footing as a member of the family group. That
probably more than three-fourths of the wage-earning women live
at home seems to be as accurate a general statement of the situation
now as it was 20 or 30 years ago. As it is the woman who lives at
home who is found to contribute most generally and most extensively
to her family, it is important to remember that she is the prevailing
type among wage-earning women, and that it is her problems which
can be assumed to be most representative of the problems of the
majority of self-supporting women.
Living at home is generally supposed to be a more economical
arrangement for working women than boarding. It is surprising,
therefore, to find testimony in several investigations that the average
amount paid for board and room by the girl who lived at home was
nearly as large as or larger than that paid by the girl who lived
independently.
At what point the sum paid to the home stops being a board bill
and becomes a contribution it is difficult to determine. It is safe to
assume, however, that the actual cost of maintenance for a girl at
home is no greater than that of a girl who lives independently, and
it is also legitimate to estimate that a certain increase should be
allowed in cost of maintenance of the girl away from home to cover
some profit for the person who provides the board and lodging. Under
these circumstances, when the girl living at home pays to her family
the same amount that is paid for board and lodging by the girl who
lives independently, she contributes to the home not only the per­
centage which is charged for profit by the boarding or lodging house
keeper, but the value of any economy which may be effected under
a system of family living and buying.
In the investigation of woman and child wage earners (45) it was
found in 1907-1909 that, of the women who worked in stores and
387S3°—23---- 10



136

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EAKNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

factories, those who lived at home paid into the family fund a sum
averaging $1.71 more a week than the cost of board, lodging, heat,
light, and laundry for the women who were living adrift. In the
same investigation it was found that of the women who were wait­
resses in hotels and restaurants those who lived at home contributed
an average amount of $4.42 a week, while the cost of food, shelter,
heat, light, and laundry for those living adrift averaged only $2.52,
or 57.0 per cent of the sum contributed to the home by the women
who lived at home. In the investigation made in 1918 of women
employed in an electrical establishment in Lynn, Mass., (23) it was
found that the women who lived at home and'contributed all of their
average weekly earnings of $11.77 received back an average sum of
$5.18. This left an average amount of $6.59 turned over to the
family to cover food, shelter, and contribution. The contribution of
the women at home who gave to their families not their entire earn­
ings but only a fixed sum each week, amounted to $6.30 weekly.
The women who were living independently paid an average weekly
amount of $6 for their board and lodging, which was only 91 per
cent of the sum contributed to the family by the girls who contrib­
uted all their- earnings and 95 per cent of that contributed by the
girls who lived at home and contributed a fixed sum but not all of
their earnings.
*
In another investigation of conditions among a limited number
of women, made by the Consumers’ League of Eastern Pennsylvania in
1914 (29) it was found that the women who lived at home paid to
their families for board and lodging an average of $4.02 a week.
This sum was only $0.38 less than that paid for board and lodging
by the women adrift. An additional average sum of $1.73 a week
was contributed to the family by the women living at home.
The relation between earnings and contributions to the family.
Although it has been emphasized in many of the investigations
discussed that large proportions of wage-earning women are in the
habit of contributing their entire wage to their families, there remains
a considerable group who contributed only part of their earnings.
The extreme variations in the cost of living and in the prevailing
wages during the years covered by the investigations from which facts
have been taken for this discussion give no common ground for an
estimate of the value of the contribution of part or all earnings,
based on the actual sum contributed or on the amount of the wage
received. However, it is possible to judge the value of the contri• button from the standpoint of the contributor, in whatever period,
by its relation to her earnings. The actual earnings and the actual
amount contributed mean little unless they carry with them some
idea of their purchasing power, but the per cent contributions form




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARSIUG WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

137

of earnings is a constant figure which will give some idea of the
extent to which women are devoting their earnings to their families
and will afford a more clear comparative picture of the variable
material presented here. In presenting this aspect of the question
the material has been separated as accurately as possible to show
the difference in conditions for women who lived at home and for
those who lived independently.
Contributions of women who lived at home.—The most compre­
hensive figures given in any report on this subject are those in the
investigation of woman and child wage earners made by the Depart­
ment of Commerce and Labor in 1907—1909 (45). The following
table summarizes for four industries the average earnings and con­
tributions of the female children 16 years of age and over who were
at work in those industries.
Table 7

—Average yearly earnings and contribution to the family, offemale children 16
years of age and over at work. (45)

Industry.

Cotton textile.................................
Men’s ready-made clothing.........
Glass...............................................

Number
of female
Average
children Average amount
10 years
yearly contri­
of age earnings. buted to
and over
family.
at work.
1,488
1,352
929
1,048

8279
263
204
283

$261
245
177
272

Per cent
of earn­
ings con­
tributed
to family.

93.5
93.2
86.4
96.0

Average Average
number number
of mem­ of wage
bers per earners
per
family.
family.

5.4
6.3
5.5

2 9
3.0
3.0

According to this table the glass industry was the only one in which
the girls contributed less than 93 per cent of their earnings, and it is
significant to find that the average yearly earnings in the glass indus­
try were only 77.6 per cent of those in the next lowest paid industry,
the men’s ready-made clothing, and only 72.1 per cent of the highest
yearly earnings, which were found in the silk industry. Evidently
the women who earned the lower wage could not give so large a
proportion to their families and still retain something for their own
needs.
In another section of the same report (45) on the condition of
woman and child wage earners are considered the average weekly con­
tributions and earnings of women employed in stores and factories
in seven cities. Although the figures given are the average for a
week instead of for a year, the relationship between earnings and
contributions is comparable and not very different from that just
discussed for the women in four industries.




138 XHK SHARE OF

wage-earning women in family support.

Table 8.—Average weekly earnings and contribution to the family of women employed

in stores and factories who were living at home. (45)

Industry.

Average
Number Average amount
weekly
of
con­
women. earnings. tributed
to family.

Per cent
of earn­
ings con­
tributed
to family.

1,254
3,440

$6.88
6.45

$5.39
5.56

78.3
86.5

4,694

$6.56

$5. 51

84.0

The average contribution to the family made by the women for
whom figures were presented in this table, was 84 per cent of their
earnings.
A later investigation (33) made by the Consumers’ League of
Eastern Pennsylvania in 1913-14, of a far smaller number of women,
shows very much the same figures, although they are given for only
one group—those who lived at home and contributed only part of
their earnings. Only 13, or 7.2 per cent, of those living at home
contributed nothing at all. For 116 women it was found that their
average weekly wage was $7.91, of which they paid $4.02 to their
families for board and made an additional weekly contribution of
$1.73. This contribution is 21.9 per cent of the weekly earnings.1
Including the $4.02 paid for board with the additional $1.73 con­
tributed to the family, an average amount of 72.7 per cent of their
earnings was contributed by these women to their families. Allow­
ing for the fact that this is the proportion contributed only by those
women who lived at home but did not contribute all of their earn­
ings, and that the probably greater contributions of 28.7 per cent of
the group—those who lived at home and contributed all earnings—
were not considered, the figures on proportion of earnings con­
tributed seem to agree very closely with those presented in the more
comprehensive study of the condition of woman and child wage
earners (45).
In a study made at an even earlier date (1888) the United States
Bureau of Labor compiled somewhat similar information for wage­
earning women in 22 large cities (52). From 5,716 women infor­
mation was secured which showed that their average yearly earn­
ings were $295.54 and the average yearly cost of room and meals
$162.06. Dependents were reported by 563 (9.8 per cent) of the
women and the average cost of supporting these dependents was
$72.35. This cost of supporting dependents constitutes 24.5 per
cent of the average yearly earnings, and the combined average, post
of board and room and support of dependents was 79.3 per pent of
the average yearly earnings.




the shake of wage-earning women in family support.

139

A study of women munition workers made in 1916 by the Russell
Sage Foundation (26) shows that even among women who lived in
families where the income was not particularly low the women wage
earners contributed a good proportion of their earnings to their
families. The families of the 100 women studied had weekly in­
comes which ranged from $10 to as high as $60 and over. Only
five of these families lived on the wages of a single woman worker;
in over half of the families the income was supplied by three or
more contributors. Even in such homes as these, however, 50.5 per
cent of the women wage earners paid their entire wages into the
family fund.
Table 9 gives the per cent of their earnings contributed by the 97
women from whom such information was secured.
Table 9. Per cent of weekly earnings given to the home by women munition workers
interviewed who were living with their families. (26)

Per cent of earnings given to home.

Under 25.............
25 and under 50..
, 50 and under 75..
75 and under 100.

Number
of
women.
1

15

22
10

100..... t.............

49

Total........

97

*1 fe

'

7

Except for those who gave 100 per cent, the largest number of
women gave between 50 and 75 per cent of their earnings. Of 48
women who gave less than 100 per cent of their earnings, 32 (66.7
per cent) gave more than 50 per cent.
In another investigation (23) of a very similar type of woman
employed in an electrical establishment in Lynn, Massachusetts, in
1918, it was found that from average weekly earnings of $12.15, 31
women who lived at home but did not contribute all their earnings
contributed an average of $6.30 a week, which is 51.9 per cent of
their weekly earnings. In addition, 13 of these 31 women regularly
did certain other things for their families such as buying clothes for
their brothers and sisters, coal or wood for the house, or paying gas
bills. The 25 women who lived at home and contributed all their
earnings, which averaged $11.77 per week, received back for clothes,
car fare, and so forth an average sum of $5.18 weekly, leaving their
actual average contribution $6.59, which was almost 10 per cent
more than the amount paid for board and room by women who were
adrift and which constituted 56 per cent of their average weekly
earnings.
The investigation of women’s wages in Kansas made by the
Women’s Bureau in 1920 (11), while it does not present material



140

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

which is definitely comparable to that which has already been
printed, does give a few illuminating figures on the relationship
between earnings and contributions. The following Table 10 shows
these figures for a limited number of the women who were included
in this investigation:
«
Table 10.—Comparison between average weekly earnings and contributions to the family
of wage-earning women who lived at home but did not contribute all their earnings to
their families. (11)
Number and per cent of women con­
tributing each amount whose average
weekly earnings were—
Weekly contribution.

$6 and under $10.

$10 and under
$17.50.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.

$3 and under $5..................................................................................
$5 and under 18..................................................................................
$8 and under $10.......................................... -....................................
$10 or more but not all......................................................................

73
97
124
3
12

24.4
32.4
41.5
1.0
.7

01
86
317
34
32

16.3
15.4
56.6
6.1
5.7

Total.........................................................................................

299

100.0

560

100.0

1 Contributions exceeded earningsin this case because earnings represent the average for weeks worked
during the year, while contributions were recorded for only one week.
**

This table shows that of the women who lived at home and con­
tributed a definite part of their earnings, 299 earned $6 and under
$10 and 560 earned $10 and under $17.50 a week. Of those who were
earning the larger wage, 56.6 per cent contributed to their families
from $5 to $8, which was, roughly speaking, at least 50 per cent of
their earnings, and 11.8 per cent contributed more than 50 per cent.
These figures do not include those who contributed an irregular or
indefinite amount which may or may not have been a large proportion
of their earnings.
The proportionate contribution of the 299 women who earned $6
and under $10 was even greater; 32.4 per cent of these women con­
tributed from $3 to $5, which would constitute about 50 per cent of
their earnings, and 41.5 per cent contributed from $5 to $8, which in
many instances would represent considerably more than 50 per cent
of their earnings.
In general, the figures just quoted show a fairly extensive contri­
bution by those women who contributed only part of their earnings.
It has already been shown that the greater proportion of wage­
earning women live at home and that more than half of those living at
home contribute all their earnings to their families. The “part” of
their earnings contributed by the smaller proportion of those living
at home is not inconsiderable. The figures just presented show that




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

141

in two investigations an average of 93 and of 84 per cent of their
earnings was contributed by the women whose records were secured.
These percentages, however, are not comparable with other percent­
ages discussed here, as in arriving at the average the contributions of
women who turned over to their families all earnings were included
with those of the women who turned over only part. The figures
given in a third investigation (35) are more applicable, for they show
that for women who lived at home and contributed only part of their
earnings such contributions, including board and lodging, amounted
to 72.7 per cent of their earnings. The cost of board and lodging and
support of dependents for the women included in another investiga­
tion (52) was 79.3 per cent of their annual earnings, 24.5 per cent
going to the support of dependents. Of the women who lived at
home but did not contribute all their earnings, 66.7 per cent of the
women munitions workers studied (26) contributed more than 50
per cent. The average contribution of the women in an electrical
plant (23) was 51.9 per cent of their earnings. Of the women who
made a smaller wage—from $6 to $10—and did not contribute it all,
approximately 50 per cent was contributed by 32.4 per cent and
more than 50 per cent by about 42 per cent.
In other words, even the comparatively smaller number of women
who lived at home and did not contribute all their earnings were, as
a rule, turning over to their families a good half and often more of
their wages.
Contributions of women who lived independently.—There is very
little information available as to the share in the economic support
of the family which is taken by women who do not live at home, but
nevertheless contribute something to the family budget. The early
investigation of the condition of woman and child wage-earners (45)
gives a few significant figures in this particular.
Table 11.—Average weekly earnings, cost of living, and contributions to needy relatives
of women employed in stores and factories who loere living adrift. (45)

Industry.

Stores....................................................
Factories......................................................
Total.....................................................

Per cent
Average of women Average
Number Average weekly contribut­ amount
weekly
contrib­
of women earnings. cost of
ing to
uted to
living.1
needy relatives.
relatives.
444
933

$7.90
6.82

$4.43
3.51

20.5
23.2

$2.45
1.92

31.0
28.2

1,377

7.16

3.80'

22.4

2.08

29.1

1 Includes cost of food, shelter, heat, light, and laundry.




Per cent
of earn­
ings con­
tributed
to rela­
tives.

142

THE .SHARE 01’ WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

This table shows that of the women who lived independently
slightly more than one-fifth contributed some of their earnings to
needy relatives, and that the average contribution made by them
amounted to 29.1 per cent of their average weekly earnings.
That only 22.4 per cent of the women living independently were
contributing to the support of others does not seem a very low figure
when it is considered that the average weekly earnings, $7.16, were
only $3.36 greater than the average cost of the barest necessities—
food, shelter, heat, light, and laundry; and that this $3.36 weekly
must provide clothing, care of the health, recreation, education, and
all other incidental expenses which form so large a part of the indi­
vidual’s budget.
.
The importance of the married woman as a contributor to the family
income.
In a small number of the investigations included here, there is
given some very pertinent information regarding the importance of
the earnings of married women. In view of the double duty which
the wage-earning married woman must usually perform—the duty of
keeping house as well as that of giving a full day’s work in industry—
it seems hardly conceivable that there should be any doubt of the
reason which brings her into industry. And yet such doubt is suf­
ficiently widespread to justify the presentation of what figures are
available regarding the responsibilities of this type of woman. The
most recent material on the status of the married woman wage earner
is found in the investigation of the family status of breadwinning
women in Passaic, N. J., made by the Women’s Bureau in 1922.(2)
This report showed certain very striking facts about the make-up of the
families of married women who were reported on the schedules of
the census of 1920 as being breadwinners. Of 9,769 women from
whom census records were secured, 3,646 (37.3 per cent) were married
and their husbands were living with the family, 367 (3.8 per cent)
were married but their husbands were not living with the family,
making a total of 4,013 married women, with husbands, who were
gainfully employed. These figures do not include a small number of
women who were widowed or divorced.




*

Table 12.—Family

Num­
ber
report­
ing
as to
num­
ber of
bread- Num­
Num­
win­ ber.
ber Per ners,
in
re­ cent.
port­
family.
ing.

Total................................ 4,013 100.0

3,846

176

Women who were one of two breadwinners
ih family.

Per Average number
Per Having men Average number
Per Having men Average number
of children
cent
bread­
cent
of children
cent
bread­
of children
of
in family.
of
winners.
in family.
of
winners.
in family.
those
those
those
report
report­
Num­ report­
Num­ ing
ing
Per
Per
ber. ing
ber.
num­ Un­ 18
18
cent Un­
num­
cent of Un­
18
num­
ber of der years
ber of Num­ of two der years
ber of Num­ three der years
bread­ 18
and Total.
bread- ber. bread­ 18
and Total.
bread- ber. bread­ 18
and Total.
win­ years over.
win­
winner years. over.
win­
winner years over.
ners.
ners.
group.
ners.
group.
4.6

1.0

1.0 3,252

84.6 3,237

Married women with husbands breadwinners............. 3, 596

89.6

3,596

3,211

Maintaining home............. 3,281
Living with parents..........
51
Living with relatives........
56
Boarding or lodging.......... 202
Living with employer.......
6

81.8
1.3
1.4
5.0
.1

3,281
51
56
202
6

2,900
51
53
201
6

88.4
100.0
94.6
99. 5
(!)

1.2

50

28

99.5

50

Married women, husbands not
living at home.......................

367

9.1

200

Maintaining home..............
Living with parents..........
Living with relatives........
Boarding or lodging..........
Living with emplover.......
Living in institution.........

111
43
24
165
19
5

2.8
1.1
.6
4.1
.5
.1

.......

111
43

89.3 3,211

100.0

51

100.0
100. 0

56.0

1.0

1.0

11

22.0

6

P)

148

74.0

1.0

1.0

30

15.0

20

74
34
10
30

66.7
79.1

.9
.9
1.5
1.2

.9

21

18.9

14
1

w

31

0)

96.8

1.5
1.2

1

(l)

3.2

1.6

c>)

1.6
1.6

.6
.4

385

100.0

2.7

11.6

381

100.0

2.7

.8

3.5

1.0

5.0

2.0

2.0

4.0
3.0

414

99.0

2.6

0.9

3.5

———

3.5

.5

1.5

11

22.0

10

66.7

1.1

.5

1.6

22

11.0

19

P)

1.5

1.5

C1)

1.2

.6

1.8

16

14.4

14

(1)

1.4

1 4

1

p)

1

0)

2.0

4.0

1.0

1.0

1

P)

M

1

i

143




418

1.0

:

1 Not computed, owing to small number involved.

385
381

1.6

10.9
" ~
10.7

4.0

201
6

Married women, husbands
nonbreadwinners:
Maintaining home.............

Women who were one of three or more
breadwinners in family.

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EAENTNG WOMEN IN FAMILY SIJPPOBT.

Women who were sole bread­
winners in family.

Married
women
bread­
winners.

Family status.

status and family responsibilities of married women. (£)

144

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Almost 90 per cent of the 4,013 married breadwinners were women whose husbands
were employed. Nine per cent had husbands who were not living in the family, and
between 1 and 2 per cent (50 women) had husbands who were living in the family
but whose occupations were recorded by the Bureau of the Census as “none.”
As would be expected, by far the great majority of married Women maintained
homes with their husbands or by themselves. A few lived at home with their parents
or with other relatives. About 9 per cent were boarding or lodging.
Less than 5 per cent of the married women Were sole breadwinners. This group
consists of 28 women with nonbreadwinning husbands and 148 whose husbands
were not living in the family * * *.
Most of the married women, 85 per cent of those reporting, were in the group having
two breadwinners, and because, as has been said, the great majority were women with
breadwinning husbands, in nearly every instance the second breadwinner was a man
* * *
Between 10 and 11 per cent of the married women were in families with three
breadwinners. In these families the average number of children was more than
three, the women with nonbreadwinning husbands having the largest families.

Number of children of breadwinning mothers.—Of the 3,847 married
women who reported on the subject, 3,271 (85 per cent) had children,
and the details of the ages of these children, given in the following
table, throw a very clear light on the family problems of the average
wage-earning mother.
Table 13.—Number of children of breadwinning mothers, by marital status of mother, (g)

Marital status.

Total
Women having specified number of children.
wom­
en hav­
ing
chil­
dren. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nino. Ten.

Average
number
of chil­
dren per
mother.

1,073
32.8

926
28.3

590
18.0

370
11.3

176
5.4

82 ;
2.5

34
1.0

12
0.4

6
0.2

2
0.1

2.4

787

755
28.9

489
18. 8

306
11.7

157
6.0

68
2.6

31
1.2

9
0.3

4
0.2

2
0.1

2.5

100.0

13
37.1

7
20.0

7
20.0

4
11.4

1
2.9

2
5.7

151
100.0

84
55.6

41
27.2

16
10.6

6
4.0

1
.7

1
.7

1
.7

1
.7

456
Per cent............ 100.0
Divorced:
21
100.0

178
39.0

117
25.7

76
16.7

52
11.4

17
3.7

11
2.4

2
.4

2
.4

11

6
p)

0

2

2
«

Number . 3,271
Percent.. 100.0
Married, husband
breadwinner:
N umber............ 2,608
100.0
Married, husband
not a breadwinner:
Married, husband
not living with
family:
Widowed:

m

1 Not computed, owing to small number involved.

2.6

1
2.9

1.7
2.3

1
.2

...... ..........

1. 8

i

__

Although approximately three-fourths of the married or once-married women were
mothers of children, the prevailing families were not large. Over 60 per cent of the
women breadwinners had only one or two children. Only about 10 per cent of the
mothers had families ranging from five to ten children.




145

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Though the families of working mothers were not large, the children were young.
Approximately 60 per cent of the employed mothers had children under 5 years of
age; 20 per cent had children of 5 to 7 years of age. who had not yet entered school
* * *
* * * It was not the widowed mothers nor other women with disrupted marital
relations who were winning bread apparently at the expense of the care of young
children, hut the married women living with breadwinning husbands * * *.
Although children are permitted to enter school at the age of 5 in New Jersey,
attendance is compulsory only from 7 to 16 years of age. With the consent of parents
and upon securing a proper certificate, children may leave school at the age of 14 to go
to work. Apparently many working women find it necessary to take their children
from school as soon as permitted by law. Eleven per cent had children 14 to 17 years
of age at work. Eight per cent permitted children of these ages to continue their
school work. Less than 1 per cent had children at school who were as much as 18
years of age.

In school. J

At home.

At work.

187
5.7

261
8.0

41 376
1.3 11.5

21
0.6

51
1.6

476
14.6

1,767 345 575
67.8 13.2 22.0

1,172
44.9

153
5.9

194
7.4

29
1.1

238
9.1

16
0.6

29
1.1

232

2
5.7

1
2.9

14

1
.7

33
21. 9

20
4.4

192
42.1

At work.

1,445
44.2

At home.

1,934 393 642
59.1 12.0 19.6

At home.

In school.

2,608
100.0

At home.

Married, husband breadwinner:
Number..............................
Per cent..................
Married, husband not a breadwinner:
Number...............................
Per cent....................................
Married, husband not living with
family:
Number.........................
Per cent....................................
Widowed:
Number.............................
Per cent....................................
Divorced:
Number....................................
Per cent....................................

In school.

Total:
Number......................... 3,271
Per cent.......................... 100.0

Women
Women
having
having
Women having Women having
children
children children 14 and children 18
5 and 6 7 and under under 18 years
years of age
years of 14 years of
of age.
and over.
age.
age.

In school.

Total.

Marital status.

Women having children
under 5 years of age.

Table 14.—Breadwinning mothers having children of specified age groups in school, at
home, or at ivorh, by marital status of mother. (2)

35
100.0

6
17.1

3
8.6

2
5.7

14
40.0

7
2
5.7 20.0

1
9
2.9 25.7

151
100.0

57
37.7

11
7.3

14
9.3

55
36.4

6
4.0

7
4.6

2
27
1.3 17.9

456
100.0

99
21.7

32
50
7.0 11.0

195
42.8

26
50
5.7 11.0

7 100
1.5 21.9

21
100.0

5
23.8

2
9.5

9
42.9

3
14.3

1
4.8

9.5

9.5

3
.7

23.8

The fact that so many married women at work outside of the
home had young children who were left at home during their mother’s
working hours, was considered so striking that a further study was
made of 522 women breadwinners who were reported on census
schedules as having young children. The results of this study are
detailed in the following figures;




146

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Care of young children of mothers working away from home.

Mother kept store, cared for children at same time..................................................
Mother worked nights, cared for children in daytime............................................
Paid custodian to care for young children................................................................
Relative-........................................................................................................
2
Hired woman................................................................................................
4
Day nursery..................................................................................................
3
Neighbor............................................
16
Relative looked after children...................................................................................
Living in home............................................................................................. 66
Living near........................................
27
Landlady or hoarders looked after children..............................................................
Neighbors cared for children......................................................................................
Husband “kept eye on children”.............................................................................
Worked nights, home during day................................................................ 44
Worked at home or unable to work............................................................. 10
Children cared for each other.....................................................................................
All from 7 to 14 years................................................................................... 82
Some under 7, others from 7 to 14 years in same family........................... 34
All under 5 years...........................................................................................
2

22
107
25

Total..........................................................................................................

522

93
35
68
54
118

The care provided seems in great measure to have been casual and inadequate.
It is difficult to fix the line of demarcation between the conditions confronting women
who said they depended on neighbors to care for their children and those who frankly
stated that the children cared for themselves or that “God took care of them.’1 Many
of the families lived in three-story tenements, containing from 6 to 12 families. The
children therefore were not left in the isolation that would have obtained under other
living conditions. Undoubtedly, should any children of the absent mothers h$ve
been hurt, neighbors would have rendered assistance whether or not the children
were supposed “to care for themselves.”
Mothers working at night usually had a 10-hour shift five nights a week, that is,
from 7 p. m. to 5 a. m., or from 8 p. m. to 6 a. m. They were, therefore, at home in
time for breakfast in the morning. Sixteen night workets, however, worked on a
short shift, or from early evening to midnight, thus enabling them to get some sleep
before beginning the household duties of the day. At the time the investigator visited
Passaic many women who had been on nightwork in 1920, when the census was
taken, were out of work. As soon as the mills were busy enough to run the night
shifts, however, these women expected to return to work.
Except for the women storekeepers and those who were fortunate enough to have
relatives living in the family, or those who paid some one to care for the children, the
picture given above indicates very clearly that the children of many of these working
mothers had to depend upon themselves for most of their needs during the mothers’
absence.
Almost four-fifths of the women interviewed did the housework in addition to the
performance of their other labors, with no assistance except that rendered by the
husband or small children. Women who worked in the factories five nights a week
had, of course, Saturday in which to work at home. Twenty-one others said they
took off from one-half to two days weekly in order to look after household affairs.
Only 14 employed help for the housework, either regularly one or two days tUweek
or for an occasional day; 19 sent laundry out to be done. About 70 others stated that
a mother, daughter, boarder or neighbor helped with the laundry and cleaning. All
the other breadwinning mothers interviewed—that is, 419 of the 522 interviewed—




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

147

cooked, cleaned , and washed for their families in addition to caring for the children
and performing remunerative service outside the home.

Earnings of married women.—Such figures as those just quoted
give a good general idea of the extent of employment of married
women in a typical industrial community and of the problems which
face the married woman wage earner. They give no idea, however,
of the importance to the family of the earnings of married women—earnings gained at the expense of so much effort on the part of these
women who must perform the duties of housewife, mother, and wage
earner. This is a subject on which not much information is available,
but the most comprehensive material is presented in the investigation
of woman and child wage earners in 1907-1909 (45) where it is shown
that the earnings of the mothers play no insignificant part in the
budget of a good proportion of the families investigated.
Table 15.—Average yearly earnings of mothers and per rent their contributions form
of the net family income, by industry. [45)

Total
number
of
families.

Industry.
Ial

r,m'

. ,

Cotton textile.............................
Men’s ready-made clothing.......................
Glass..,..........................................................
Yih

Total........................................................

""

Families in which
mother contrib­
utes to support.

Average Per cent
earnings
of net
of
family
Per cent mothers. income.
Number.
of all
families.

2,421
2,274
2,137
1,909

415
948
291
263

17.1
41.7
13.6
13.8

8,741

1,917

21.9

$245
150
154
247

30.5
26.8
25.1
33.0

.

Table 15 shows that in about one-fifth of the families in the four
industries investigated, there were mothers who contributed to the
family support. The percentage (21.9) for the entire group is, how­
ever, possibly somewhat too high to be generally applicable. The
large number and proportion of families with contributing mothers
in the men’s ready-made clothing industry raised this percentage far
above the figure for the other three industries. The prevalence of
home work in the needle trades and the fact that a special effort was
made to get data relating to home finishing in the men’s ready-made
clothing industry, would make the number of families witfy employed
mothers unusually high in this group, and undoubtedly accounts for
the greater proportion of families in this industry that had mothers
at work. A percentage between 13 and 17 as shown in the other
industries is probably a more typical figure.
'-In these families where the mothers were at work, between onequarter and one-third of the family income was earned and con­
tributed to the family by the mothers, which is a very striking illus­
tration of the economic importance of those married women who are



148

THE SHARE OF WAG E-EMUS' I Is G WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

at work. That this proportion of the family income earned by wage­
earning mothers was a fairly typical one is borne out by figures which
were secured hi a smaller and more intensive investigation, the report
of which was published by the Russell Sage Foundation in New 1 ork
City in 1914 (33). This study of “mothers who must earn” showed
that where only the mother was working (101 families) 88.1 per cent
of the family income was derived from her earnings; because of the
limitation in this group to families with only the mother wage earn­
ing, this percentage is not comparable with those that have just been
quoted. In 106 families with mother and children at work the
mothers’ earnings constituted 38 per cent of the average yearly
family income; in the 96 families with mother and father at work the
average earnings of the mother were 31 per cent of the average yearly
family income; and in 67 families with mother, father, and children
at work the mothers’ earnings dropped to 18.8 per cent of the average
yearly family income. This last group is probably more comparable
with the families included hi the investigation of woman and child
wage earners.
In a few investigations, although actual figures on earnings were
not given, there were certain facts quoted as to the proportion of
married women who were “supporting dependents.” The most
comprehensive figures on this subject were given in a study made in
Minnesota in 1918 of a large number of women in the industries of
that State (22). There were included in that investigation 6,426
married women—not^ widowed, separated, or divorced, but mairied
women living with their husbands. Of these women 4,417 (68.7 per
cent) stated that they were contributing to the support of dependents,
although they did not say whether the dependency was total or
partial.
In a study of wage-earning women in Connecticut in 1915-16 (28),
of 2,997 married women 917 (30.6 per cent) reported that they were
entirely responsible for the support of others, and 1,558 (52 per cent)
reported that they were partially responsible for the support of others.
Only 522 (17.4 per cent) of the entire group reported that they were
not supporting others.
In an investigation made at a slightly earlier date, 1911—1913, in
Kansas City, Mo., by the State bureau of labor statistics (38), a much
smaller proportion was shown of married women with dependents.
Of 661 married women only 19.1 per cent reported that they had
dependents. These women were employed in laundries and factories
and there is no information given in the report of the investigation to
explain the comparative smallness of this group. It is likely that the
interpretation of the term “dependents” has something to do with
it, as for all other classifications of the women considered in this
report the proportions reporting dependents are unusually small.



THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

149

That an income insufficient for family needs is the force which
pushes married women into industry is the inevitable conclusion of
such figures as have just been quoted. Further figures giving infor­
mation about the husbands of these married women wage earners
add to the force of this conclusion. In four of the industries inves­
tigated by the United States Department of Commerce and Labor in
1907-1909, during the course of the study of woman and child wage
earners (45), it was found that in those families having married women
at work the greater proportion also had husbands at work. The fol­
lowing table summarizes the figures presented in this connection:
Table 16.—Married women at work, classified by condition as to husband. (4.5)
Number and per cent of married women at work whose
husbands were—
Industry.

Incapacitated.

Idle.

At work.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Cotton textile.................................................
Men’s ready-made clothing..........................
Glass..............................................................
Silk................................................................
Total...................................................

11
27
12
7

4.0
3.5
9.1
4.3

57

4.2

.

6
14
3
5

2.2
1.8
2.3
3.1

255
736
117
149

93. 8
94.7
88.6
92.5

28

2.1

1,257

93.7

It has already been shown that those married women at work were
contributing from one-quarter to one-third of the family income.
And yet 93.7 per cent of the married women shown in this table (a
group of 1,342 women not quite identical with the group of 1,917
mothers but included in that group) had husbands at work.
The conclusion of the report on mothers who must earn (33) so
aptly states the situation in regard to married women at work that
its findings might apply to any of the studies which have been quoted
here:
Why were these women wage earners? How many of them worked because they
must and how many for other reasons? There was one inevitable conclusion which
resulted from the analysis of economic conditions in their homes. It was that not
one of the mothers could afford not to earn. They had become wage earners in
obedience to the most primitive of maternal instincts. Their children would have
suffered seriously had they failed or refused to earn. Small as were the wages of their
unskilled occupations, the amount, as we have seen, played an important part in a
family budget correspondingly small. Moreover, they were found to be doing all
their own housework before and after their wage-earning hours, instead of paying
others to do it for them. By overworking themselves they had made their earnings
clear gain for their families.




150

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Importance of the single woman as a contributor to the family
income.
From the standpoint of the individual woman it has been quite
definitely established that she is making a large contribution—
usually as large a contribution as possible—to her family budget.
There still remains, however, the evaluation of this contribution from
the standpoint of the family itself. Of what actual value to the
family is this contribution of all or a large part of the earnings of the
average woman wage earner ? What significance have her existence
and her contributions to the family unit? These questions have
already been answered to a certain extent for the married woman.
But married women form only a small proportion of the women in
industry. It is the situation which confronts the single woman
which is the most far-reaching and significant for the wage-earning
woman of to-day. What is she in the family—an insignificant cog
or one of the main driving wheels? This is a question which is
answered more or less clearly in different sections of the investiga­
tions discussed here; and perhaps nowhere is it answered so definitely
as in the few investigations which gave details of the other wage
earners in the families of single wage-earning women.
The most extensive information on this subject is given in the
Women’s Bureau study of the family status of breadwinning women
in Passaic, N. J. (2) This report showed that of 4,945 single bread­
winning women 64.3 per cent were living with their parent or parents
20.1 per cent were boarding or lodging, 4 per cent Avere maintaining
their oato homes, 5.2 per cent were living Avith relatives.




Table ]7.—Family

Families in which
daughter was sole
breadwinner.

Single women
breadwinners
reporting.

Family status.

Families in which daughter was one of
two breadwinners.

Families in which daughter was one of
three breadwinners.

report­
ing as to
Having men
Having men
number
Per cent
Per cent breadwinners.
Per cent breadwinners.
of bread­
of those Average
of those
of those
Average
Average
winners
report­
report­
report­
Num­ ing num­ number Num­ ing num­
in
Number. Per cent
Per cent number Num­ ing num­
Per cent number
in
ber. ber of
in
ber.
in
family. ber. ber of
of
ber of Num­
of
bread­ family.
bread­ Num­ 2-bread­ family.
bread­
3-bread­ family.
winners.
winners. ber. winner
winners. ber. winner
group.
group.

Total..................................................

4,945

100.0

3,376

186

5.5

1.9

860

25.5

630

73.3

4.3

2,330

69.0

2,244

96.3

6.4

Living with parent or parents.................

3,179

64.3

3,179

98

3.1

2.6

790

24.9

602

76.2

4.5

2,291

72.1

2,217

96.8

6.4

Parents living, father breadwinner..
Parents living, mother breadwinner.
Parents living, both parents breadwinners.............................................
Parents living, neither parent breadwinner...............................................
Mother only living, mother bread-

2,008
' 16

40.6
.3

2,008
16

470
4

23.4
p)

470

100.0

5.2
3.3

1,538
12

76.7
p)

1,538
10

100.0
p)

6.9
7.0

283

5.7

283

283

100.0

283

100.0

6.0

67

1.4

67

16

0)

5.1

31

46.3

31

100.0

7.2

221

4.5

221

3.0

123

82

66.7

4.6

442

8.9

442

5.4

117

2.4

117

25

.5

25

6

24.0

Maintaining home......................................

197

4.0

197

88

Neither parent living..........................
Adult women living independently..

95
102

1.9
2.1

95
102

4
84

Living with relatives................................
Boarding or lodging...................................
Living with employer...............................
Living in institutions................................

256
992
206
115

5.2
20.1
4.2
2.3

Mother only living, mother not breadwinner...............................................
Father only living, father breadFather only living, father not breadwinner...............................................




1

17.9

3.2

24

35.8

98

44.3

80

18.1

2.5

147

33.3

73

40

34.2

40

2.0

7

28.0

3

44.7

1.0

70

35.5

28

4.2
82.4

2.0
1.0

55
15

57.9
14.7

19
9

49.7

3.7

215

48.6

189

87.9

100.0

3.0

77

65.8

77

100.0

5.0

P)

3.6

12

48.0

7

p)

3.3

40.0

2.3

39

19.8

27

69.2

4.2

34.5

2.2
2.5

36
3

37.9
2.9

24
3

66.7
p)

4.2
3.3

1

151

1 Not computed, owing to small number involved.

12

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

38783

S3

status and family responsibilities of single women. (2)

152

THE SHARE OF WAGE-BARKING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Of the women living with their parents, the largest and most sig­
nificant group of single women for whom details are given, 3.1 per
cent were the sole breadwinners in their families, 24.9 per cent were
one of two breadwinners, and 72.1 per cent were one of three bread­
winners. “ Only 63.2 per cent were living in homes where there were
breadwinning fathers with mothers at home. The others showed
marked deviations from the normal standard of family life.”
For the single women who were the sole breadwinners in their
families the problem of dependency was always that of caring for
parents. Of the 98 women who were sole breadwinners 12 had both
parents living and not working, 80 had the mother living and not
working, and 6 had the father living and not working.
In the families of 73.3 per cent of the women who were one of two
breadwinners there was a male breadwinner. In these families where
two persons shared the responsibility for the family support 24 had
both parents living but neither working, 147 had only the mother
living but not working, and 7 had only the father living but not
working.
These figures do not show so extensive a dependence upon the
earnings of single women as are indicated by some other investiga­
tions made at different periods.
In the Connecticut investigation made in 1915-16 of wage-earning
women and girls (28) the following figures give a very striking state­
ment of the extent of responsibility of single women.
Table 18.—Number and per cent of single women living at home who were the only

members of their families at work.

Place of occupation.

(28)

Women who were
Per cent
only members of
women
family working.
Total
number living at
home
of single
form
Per cent
women
of all
of single
living at
women Number. women
home.
in each
living at
industry.
home.
864
1,077
330

Total-------------------------------------- ----------------------------

52.1
36.7
29.2

236
447
76

27.3
41.5
23.0

2,271

39.7

759

33.4

Of the single women living at home this table shows that 33.4 per
cent were the sole wage earners in their families. In other words,
one-third of these single women living at home were to all intents and
purposes the heads of their families.
In an investigation of wage-earning women in Louisiana made in
1918-19 (21) somewhat similar figures are presented. In this report




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

153

the women, excluding those who were boarding, are classified accord­
ing to the chief wage earner in the family as follows:
Number
°f
women.

Per cent
of
women.

Self......................................................................................................... 2,357
Mother...................................................................................................
251
Sister......................................................................................................
221
Father.................................................................................................... 1,538
Brother..................................................................................................
310
Husband........................
228
Other relatives......................................................................................
172
Others...................................................................................................
8

46.4
4.9
4.3
30.2
6.1
4.5
3.4
.2

Total............................................................................................ 5,085

100.0

Chief breadwinner.

These 5,085 women were not all single. The report does not give
general figures on conjugal condition, so it can not be said exactly
what proportion of single women the foregoing figures include. It is
safe to consider, however, that the majority of the women were
single, for another section of the report lists as working mothers only
769 women, 15.1 per cent of the total number.
In the families of 46.4 per cent of the women interviewed the chief
breadwinner was the woman herself. In addition, either the mother
or sister of the woman interviewed was the chief breadwinner in the
families of 9.3 per cent of the women, making a total of 55.7 per cent
of the women in whose families the chief dependence was placed on
a woman.
Eliminating the 769 women who were reported as working mothers,
and the 251 mothers who were reported as the chief breadwinners
in the families of the women investigated, there is left a total of 1,809
women (35.4 per cent) who were chief breadwinners and most of
whom were single.
These figures seem to show a surprisingly small proportion of men
as chief wage earners in the families of the women interviewed. It is
not possible from the details given in the report to explain this situa­
tion. Perhaps as the investigation was made in 1918-19 many men
who otherwise might have been considered chief wage earners were
in the Army, leaving an unusual proportion of women responsible
for the family maintenance. It is also possible that by some chance
of selection, locality, or industrial conditions the women interviewed
may have had fewer male relatives than is usually the case. The
report gives no information about the composition of the families of
these women, so it is impossible to discover whether or not the small
percentage of male chief breadwinners is the result of a small number
of males who were members of the various family units. Neverthe­
less, whatever may be the qualifications of the materia under dis­
cussion, it seems to represent an accurate picture of the situation
among a very large group of women in industry in Louisiana. As
the information was secured through personal interviews, it can be



154

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

considered to be accurate and representative of conditions among
those investigated.
The Women’s Bureau investigation of women’s wages in Kansas
(11) made in 1920, although it gives no information as to who is the
chief breadwinner in the families of the women studied, does give
some information as to the proportion of married and single women
in whose families there was a husband or father at work. In this
connection the report shows that in the families of the 1,203 married
women, not including widows or divorced and separated women,
there were 1,133 husbands who were wage earners. In the families
of 2,696 worldng daughters, however, there were only 1,811 working
fathers. In the families of the total number of women interviewed,
4,748, there were 2,944 fathers or husbands at work, so that in the fam­
ilies of 62 per cent of these women the husband or father might have
been the chief breadwinner., a much larger proportion than that shown
in the Louisiana report, but still not so very different when deduction
is made for what must undoubtedly have been a noticeable percentage
of cases in Kansas where the potential chief breadwinner was not one
actually, and when allowance is made in the Louisiana figures for
the abnormal conditions of the war period during which the investi­
gation was made.
Proportion of family income contributed by single women.—When a
woman, single or married, is the chief wage earner in her family she
naturally contributes a large proportion of the family income. But
in the even greater number of cases where she is not the chief wage
earner, but is instead only a minor contributor to the family budget,
her contribution constitutes an important item in that budget.
The investigation of woman and child wage earners (45) shows in
the following figures the significance to the family of the contribu­
tions of the single women at work in the families investigated in that
study.
Table 19.—Average yearly contributions of female children 16 years of age and over

at work, and per cent such contributions form of the netfamily income, by industry. (45)

Female children 16 years of age and over
at work.

Industry.

Total
number
of fam­
ilies.

Families having.

Average yearly con­
tribution to fam­
ily fund by.

Number. Per cent. Amount.

Men’s ready-made clothing............................................




2,421
2,274
2,137
1,909

1,488
1,352
929
1,048

61.5
59.4
43.5
54.9

8,741

4,817

$424
371
242
387

Per cent
of net
family
income.
39.6
39.7
26.7
35.1

55.1

■

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

155

According to these figures more than one-half of the families had
female children 16 years of age and over at work, and these girls
and women contributed on an average from 26.7 to 39.7 per cent of
the net family income.
In a study of women employed in stores in Boston in 1913-14 made
by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (36) some very signifi­
cant figures are brought out, which add force to those just quoted
from the earlier survey. Of 1,156 women included in that investiga­
tion only 50 (4.3 per cent) were married, 90.1 per cent were single, 4.2
per cent widowed, and 1.4 per cent separated or divorced. Figures
given, therefore, can be considered to be chiefly applicable to single
women. The importance to their families of the contributions of
these women is brought out in the following table:
Table 20.—Degree nf dependency of family on earnings of women employed as regulars

only. (36)
Women eporting.
Degree of family dependency on women’s earnings.
Number. Per cent.
Totally dependent..............................
Dependent on regular contribution of at least one-fourth of famiiy income
Standard of living would be lowered if woman did not contribute.
Not dependent for necessaries.......................
No family......................................
Total..............................................
-

29
433
521
146
27

2.5
37.5
45.1
12.6
2.3

1,156

100.0

-

The families of 40 per cent of the women were dependent on their
contributions for not less than one-fourth of the family income.
Of these women, 429 reported on the number of persons in their
families, and it is important to note that 185 of them (43.1 per cent)
had families with four or more members besides themselves. Under
these circumstances it is safe to assume that, since they contributed
at least one-fourth and often more of the family income, these women
were certainly fully self-supporting and were probably also assisting
others. The contributions of 45.1 per cent of the women definitely
raised the family standard of living. For only 14.9 per cent of the
women was there no definite need for their contributions.
These facts become more striking when it is realized that 77.1 per
cent of the women were under 30 years of age and 63.1 per cent were
under 25 years of age.
The size of the group of women without whose contributions the
family standard of living would have been lowered (45.1 per cent)
indicates a situation which was found in another investigation (38)
and of 'which it was reported: “Everywhere in our visits, however,
we were met by the same story; that the father could not earn
enough the year round to support the family; * * * that the



156

the share of ware-earning women in family support.

family could not live without the wages of the daughters; and in a
large number of cases that the mothers must also contribute to the
income.”
Contributions of girls under 16.—In one study special attention
was given to the contributions made to their families by girls under
16 (29).
Of the 302 girls included in the investigation 79.1 per cent turned
over all of their earnings to their families. From this group records
were secured for 160 girls,, showing the effect of their contribution
on the per capita family earnings. The following table gives the
figures which were obtained from these girls:
Table

21.—Effect on weekly per capita family earnings of exclusion of earnings of girls
under 16. (29)
Number and per cent of girls whose
family per capita earnings were of
each specified amount—
Weekly per capita family earnings.

With rent de­
ducted and girls'
wages included.

With both rent and
girls’ wages de­
ducted.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
0.6
4.4
14.4
10.6
18.1
10.6
10.0
9.4
21.9

160

$4 and over.........................................................................................

1
7
23
17
29
17
16
15
35

100.0

12. 60

11
15
18
30
22
15
18
10
21
160
$2.15

6.9
9.4
11.3
18.8
13.8
9.4
11.3
6.3
13.1
100.0

In connection with this study it was estimated that a family
income of $2 per capita per week after the rent was paid raised the
average family above the poverty line. The most striking thing
shown by the foregoing table is that, if this estimate was correct,
in many instances the girls’ earnings lifted the family out of the
poverty group. Taking $2 as the dividing line, 46.4 per cent of
the families were below the poverty line when the girls’ wages were
not included, and 30 per cent were below the line when the girls’
wages were included.
That the earnings of girls under 16 should be important enough
to raise the median of per capita family earnings from $2.15 to $2.60,
shows that even at an early age and with a probably low wage the
wage-earning woman starts out as a producing unit well worthy of
consideration.
Single women supporting dependents.—In addition to the figures
already quoted on the importance of the contributions of single




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

157

women in relation to tlie family group there were, in a few investi­
gations, separate classifications of the number of single women who
were supporting dependents or contributing to their support.
The investigation made in 1918 of wage-earning women in Min­
nesota (22) stated that of 41,271 single women 22,011 (53.3 per­
cent) were contributing to the support of others. An investigation
made in 1911-1913 of the women working in factories, laundries,
and stores in Kansas City (30) showed that of 2,004 single women,
265 (13.2 per cent) were supporting dependents.
An investigation made in 1911-1913 of Italian women wage
earners who were living at home (39) showed that of 933 females
over 14, exclusive of women who were mothers, 852, or 91.3 per
cent, were contributors to the family.
Contributions of single women not living at home.—Most of the
figures which have been quoted here have applied to single women
who lived at home. But the home responsibilities of single women
are not confined to those women who live at home. The women who
lived independently also had some responsibility, although to a less
extent than if they were living as members of a family unit.
In the study made in 1915-16 of wage-earning women and girls
in Connecticut (28) it was found that of the single women living
adrift 19.1 per cent—-almost one-fifth—were helping relatives.
Only 7.8 per cent of the women included were receiving help from
relatives. By inference, therefore, the remaining 92.2 per cent must
have been self-supporting. In addition to the burden of self-support,
19.1 per cent were helping others and 13.1 per cent were saving money.
Regularity of contributions.
One phase of women’s contributions which has not yet been touched
on is brought out by a few figures in an intensive study made by the
Russell Sage Foundation in 1911-1913, of 48 Italian families (39).
This report states: “In regularity of their contributions the girls
also led all the rest. In 38 of the 48 families a single source of
income could be picked out as the most regular throughout the year,
regardless of its size. In 13, or over a third of the cases, this source
was the earnings of one of the daughters. In 9 it was the son’s
contribution, in 8 the father’s, in 5 the income from lodgers or a
boarder, and in 3 the earnings of the mother. Of course, in the
question of the size of the contribution, the ranking is somewhat
different. It was possible to single out for each of the 48 families
the largest source of income. The fathers led with 19 families in
which their quota was largest. However, the daughters came next
with 13 families in which they were the mainstay, and after them
came the sons with 11 families.”




158

THE STIAEE OP WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

Contributions in the form of housework.
A definite monetary contribution to the family was not the entire
measure of assistance rendered by the average woman wage earner.
A few investigations bear testimony to what is generally known to
be the case; that in addition to her financial assistance, a large share
of women’s contribution to the home is in the form of housework,
sewing, cooking, etc., done after the day’s work in industry is over.
One of the earliest reports included in this discussion, published in
1894, of the homo responsibilities of wage-earning women in Indian,
apolis (48), recognized the importance of this part of women’s exist­
ence and reported on the number of women who did housework in
addition to their wage-earning activities. The average working day
in industry of the 500 women included in the survey was 9.9 hours,
yet 119 of them (23.8 per cent) did housework, 90 (18 per cent) did
sevung at home, and 91 (18.2 per cent) did both housework and sew­
ing, making a total of 60 per cent who did some sort of work at home.
Two hundred women (40 per cent) did not work outside of the hours
they were gainfully employed. It must be remembered in connec­
tion with this last figure, however, that 69 of the 500 women were
boarding away from home, where presumably they did no housework.
An even earlier investigation, made in 1888 by the U. S. Bureau of
Labor of working women in large cities (52), showed very similar
conditions as to the proportion of women who helped with the house­
work. Of 14,918 women who lived at home, 9,813 (65.8 per cent)
helped with the housework. This is a somewhat higher percentage
than that quoted in the Indianapolis investigation, but is explained
by the fact that it includes only the women who lived at home,
while the Indianapolis figures included also those who boarded.
An interesting development of this type of information is made in
the Wisconsin investigation of the cost of living of wage-earning
women in 1921 (3). In this investigation it was found that a num­
ber of women who were, technically speaking, “adrift” were boarding
with relatives, from whom they frequently secured accommodations
at less than the prevailing rate. Of 113 women adrift, 40 (35.4 per
cent) paid for room and board $7 and over. But among 43 of the
adrift who lived with relatives, only 3 (7 per cent) paid $7 or over.
However, the payment for board and lodging for these women did
not stop with a cash contribution. “Helping with the housework”
was another quite generally practiced method of partial payment
and the women who lived with relatives paid more heavily in this
regard than did those who were boarding with strangers. Of the
women living with relatives 56 per cent helped in some regular way
with the work, while only 18.5 per cent of those who lived with
strangers had this extra duty to perform.




THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EASKING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

159

Unfortunately, recent figures on the amount of time devoted to
housework by wage-earning women are not available. However,
those who are conversant with the living conditions of the average
wage-earning woman to-day will probably agree that the figures for
1888 and 1894 are not overstating the case when they show that not
far from two-thirds of the women living at home help with the work
of the household.
COMPARISON OF RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF MEN
AND WOMEN.

In the final analysis no statement of the contributions and respon­
sibilities of one group or type of persons can present a convincing
portrayal of the situation unless comparative material is available
lor other groups as well. Although there has been a mass of informa­
tion gathered at different times to show the contributions to the
home and the responsibilities of women, there id only a very meager
amount of information regarding similar facts for comparable groups
of men. The story is only half told when it is stated that “80 per
cent of single women contributed all their earnings” or that “60 per
cent of them support dependents.” Such figures may fall into
insignificance when compared with similar ones for men, or, on the
contrary, they may become still more striking. In all these matters
there is a relative as well as an actual standard which must be estab­
lished.
From a very few of the investigations discussed here, it has been
possible to get some such comparative material for men and women.
The figures presented are by no means conclusive, but they afford
a certain background against which stand out more clearly the some­
what general figures which have already been presented for women.
It must be remembered, however, in studying the facts given in the
following pages, that they were secured mainly from investigations
whose interest was focused on conditions of employment for women.
The conditions shown, therefore, are representative of the families
of wage-earning women but can not be construed to be applicable to
all of industry.
Proportion of men and of women who are wage earners.
The first question which arises in considering comparative figures
for men and women wage earners is the extent of the custom of wage
earning among the two groups. If in the average family of the typical
wage-earning woman, when compared with men, the women who work,
form a small proportion of the women who might work, the figures
showing women’s responsibilities would become very much less
significant, and vice versa.
The following table taken from the report on the condition of
woman and child wage earners in 1907 (45) gives a very clear picture



160

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

of the difference between actual and potential wage earners in the
two sexes.
Table 22.—Number

and per cent of fathers and of mothers contributing to the family
support, and of children 16 years of age and over at work, by industry. (45)
Fathers
Mothers
contributing contributing
to the fam­ to the fam­
ily support. ily support.

Industry.

Cotton textile............
Men's ready-made
clothing..................
Glass...........................
Silk.............................

To­
tal
num­
ber
of
fam­
ilies. Num­
ber.

Children 16 years of age and over at work.
Males.

Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
cent Num­ of all
of
of
fa­
moth­ ber fam­
of ilies
thers Num­ ers fam­ with
liv­ ber. liv­ ilies males
ing
ing hav­
with ing— 16
with
years
fam­
fam­
and
ilies.
ilies.
over.

Num­
ber
of
such
chil­
dren.

Females.

Per
cent
of all
male
chil­
dren
16
years
and
over.

Num­
ber
of
fam­
ilies
hav­
ing—

Per
cent
of all
fam­
ilies
with
fe­
males
16
years
and
over.

Num­
ber
of
such
chil­
dren.

Per
cent
of all
fe­
male
chil­
dren
16
years
and
over.

2,421 1,741

91.2

415

17.9 1,030

95.6 1,430

96.8 1,488

95.9 2,358

94.5

2,274 1,694
2,137 1,634
1,909- 1,457

91.7
94. £
95.3

948
291
263

43.0
13.9
14.3

96.8 1,055
97.9 1,384
97.5 1,066

94.6 1,352
96.4
929
96.1 1,048

97.1 2,052
82.3 1,270
94.3 1,492

93.9
80.2
88.8

796
984
783

This table shows that practically all of the fathers, but—except for
the women engaged in the manufacture of men’s ready-made cloth­
ing—a very small proportion of the mothers, were at work and con­
tributing to the family support. For the sons and daughters 16
years of age and over no very striking difference is found in the pro­
portion of the two sexes at work, except in the glass industry, where
a period of unemployment at the time of the investigation seemed to
have affected the jobs available for women more than those available
for men. Generally speaking, practically all married and single men
and all single women were working. The figures in the table just
quoted show a larger number of families having female than male
children over 16 years of age at work, but this would be the natural
result of the type of the investigation, which was (specially con­
cerned with the conditions of woman and child wage earners.
It was also the opinion of the investigators that the fewer sons in
these families were accounted for by the fact that so many young
men feel free to leave home and branch out for themselves, either
establishing other families or living quite independently, while their
unmarried sisters stay at home.
Only one other investigation gave figures which bore in any way
on this question of comparative contributions among men and
women. That was a study of Italian women in industry (39) made
in 1911-1913 by the Russell Sage Foundation. This study showed the
following facts regarding the numbers and per cents of persons of
each relationship and sex who were contributors to the family.



THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.
Table

161

23.—Contributors to the family income of 544 families of Italian women workers
by age and by sex. (39)

Age and sex.

Fathers..........................................
Other males 14 years of age and over................
Mothers....................
Other females 14 years of age and over.............
Children less than 14 years of age....................

Contributors.
All
members
of fami­
Per cent
lies.
Number. of mem­
bers.
439
528
515
933
943

452
852
117

9L3

Total...................................

This table shows not quite so large a proportion of fathers and
other males contributing, but a much larger proportion of mothers.
Again this variation is probably due to the type of person included
in the investigation. However, the variation is not so great as to
invalidate the general trend shown in the two tables.
Single men and women as heads of families.
It is, of course, between the single men and single women that the
most interesting comparisons can be made, although in some investi­
gations the married men and the single women show striking simi­
larity in respect to the extent of their responsibilities and contribu­
tions.
It has been shown that many single women are in the position of
chief breadwinner as “head of family.” The question naturally
arises whether this condition is particularly unusual for single per­
sons, or whether it is a general situation which faces both men and
women. The investigations detailed here do not give any informa­
tion on this subject, but some rather significant figures have been
secured from the records of the Federal income tax.
The statistics of income of the United States Commissioner of
Internal Revenue for 1919 show the number of single men and single
women who paid income taxes and who were or were not heads of
families. The total number of single men who paid income taxes,
1,965,074, was much greater than the total number of single women
paying income taxes, 450,555. The number of single men reporting
that they were heads of families was 362,797, or 18.5 per cent of
all the single men who paid an income tax. The number of single
women who reported that they were heads of families was much
smaller, 88,595, but they formed 19.7 per cent of all the single women
who paid an income tax, so that there was a slightly larger percentage
of single women paying income taxes as heads of families than there
was of single men. Of course among the persons who pay income
taxes a very large proportion of the single women who are wage



162

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

earners do not appear, for the yearly earnings of women are not apt
to be sufficiently large to bring a great proportion of them within the
scope of the income-tax law. It is interesting to find, however,
that even among this type of the more well to do single men and
women, the women hold a relatively equal place with the men in
regard to their position as heads of families.
Contributions of men and women.
We have seen that in the families of wage-earning women single
men and women show little difference in the proportion who are at
work, and that as heads of families they are—at least a certain group
of them—in a very similar position. It remains to be seen what pro­
portion of the family income their contributions constitute.
The following Table 24 gives figures on this subject from the
report on the condition of woman and child wage earners (45):
Table

24.—Contributions to the famihj fund by male and female children 16 years of age
and over at work. (45)
Female.

Male.
Industry.

Silk

........................................................

Average
Per cent Average Amount Per cent
net in­
net in­ Amount of net
of net
come per contri­
family
family come per contri­
buted. income.
buted. income. family
family
having—
having—
SI, 169
1,055
1,017
1,192

$346
385
384
441

29.6
36.5
37.8
37.0

*1,072
935
905
1,101

*424
371
242
387

39.6
39.7
26.7
35.1

This table shows the aggregate, not the individual, contributions
of the male and female children in each family. Apparently the
proportion of the family income contributed is not very different for
the two sexes, but it must be emphasized that as the contributions
detailed here are not individual, they are naturally affected by the
number of persons in the different classifications. In the cotton
textile industry, where the contribution of the males formed 10 per
cent less of the family income than did that of the females, Table 22
shows that there were very many fewer male than female children
in the families in that industry. In the glass industry the contribu­
tion of the males formed 11 per cent more of the family income than
did that of the females, but there was a slightly larger number of
male than of female children in this industry. Generally speaking,
not far from one-third of the family income was derived from the
earnings of either male or female children.




THE SHARE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

j

*

163

Per cent of earnings contributed to family by men and women.
It is obvious from the foregoing figures that while in the aggregate
the women’s contributions were very much the same as the men’s
it took more women than it did men to contribute a similar proportion
of the family income. This was probably the result of the women’s
lower earnings, for the following Table 25 from the same report (45)
shows that women contributed, on an average, a much larger proportion of their earnings than did men.
Table 25.—Average individual earnings of children of each sex 16 years of age and over
at work, average contributions of such children to family income, and per cent of their
earnings so contributed. (45)

Number of families
with—
Industry.

Cotton textile.................................
Men’s ready-made clothing...........
Glass...............................................
Silk..........................................

Male
children
16 years
of age
and over
at work.
1,030
796
984
783

Per cent of
Average earn­ Average amount earnings contri­
contributed to
ings of—
buted to family
family by—
by—

Female
children
16 years Males.
Fe­
Fe­
Fe­
of age
males. Males. males. Males. males.
and over
at work.
1,488
1,352
929
1,048

$316
366
366
383

$279
263
204
283

$247
291
273
324

$261
245
177
272

78.2
79.5
74.6
84.6

93.5
93.2
86.4
96.0

According to this table, in each industry the contributions of the
women were a larger proportion of their earnings than was the case
with the men, the difference in proportion ranging from 11.4 to 15.3
per cent. Moreover, the contributions of the women very nearly
equaled their earnings, in only one industry falling below 90 per cent
and in the silk industry amounting to 96 per cent of their earnings.
The men’s contributions, however, were approximately four-fifths of
their earnings, in only one case exceeding that proportion.
These figures illustrate a condition similar to that brought out in
other sections of this report, and show that in respect to actual
amounts contributed the women—because of their lower earnings—
ranked beneath the men. But, so far as extent of earnings con­
tributed is concerned, single women were making greater sacrifices
and to a far greater extent were ceding their financial independence
and sinking their economic individuality in the larger interests of
the family group.







i

*

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women’s home responsibilities, and for that reason are listed here.




165

166

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

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.

»

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

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j

T

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(10)--------------- -------------------

'

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(8).-----;------------ ---------

*

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Female employees: p. 107-116.
■12
38783°—23-




168

THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

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THE SHAKE OF WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT.

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170

THE SHARE OF WAGE-EABXTKG WOMEN IN FAMILY SUPPORT,

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-

United States.

(2)-------------------------------

'

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(23)----------------.
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(46) Wisconsin. Bureau of labor and industrial statistics.
Thirteenth biennial report, 1907-1908. Madison, 1909. p. 1075-1105.
Cost of living of wage earning women in Wisconsin. 1916. 29 p.
(3) ---------------...
.
Cost of living of wage earning women in Wisconsin. 1921. Unpublished.
(4) Women in a Government Arsenal. 1921.
Confidential statement made to the Women’s bureau, U. S. Department of labor.

(6) Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, Boston. Department of research.
Old-age support of women teachers, provisions for old age made by women
teachers in the public schools of Massachusetts. Boston, 1921. 122 p.
(Its Studies in economic relations of women, v. 11.)

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V

PUBLICATIONS OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU.
-

. BULLETINS.

_

No. 1. Proposed Employment of Women During the War in the Industries of Niagara
Palls, N. Y. 16 pp. 1918.
No. 2. Labor Laws for Women in Industry in Indiana. 29 pp. 1918.
No. 3. Standards for the Employment of Women in Industry. 7 pp. 1919.
No. 4. Wages of Candy Makers in Philadelphia in 1919. 46 pp. 1919.
No. 6. The Eight-Hour Day in Federal and State Legislation. 19 pp. 1919.
No. 6. The Employment of Women in Hazardous Industries in the United States.
8 pp. 1919.
No. 7. Night-Work Laws in the United States. 4 pp. 1919.
No. 8. Women in the Government Service. 37 pp. 1920.
No. 9. Home Work in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 35 pp. 1920.
No. 10. Hours and Conditions of Work for Women in Industry in Virginia. 32 pp.
1920.
,
,
'
.
No. 11. Women Street Car Conductors and Ticket Agents. 90 pp. 1920.
No. 12. The New Position of Women in American Industry. 158 pp. 1920.
No. 13. Industrial Opportunities and Training for Women and Girls. 48 pp. 1920.
No. 14. A Physiological Basis for the Shorter Working Day for Women. 20 pp. 1921.
No. 15. Some Effects of Legislation Limiting Hours of Work for Women. 26pp. 1931.
No. 16. State Laws Affecting Working Women. (Illustrated by colored maps.) 51
^
pp. 1921.
No. 17. Women’s Wages in Kansas. 104 pp. 1921.
No. 18. Health Problems of Women in Industry. (Reprint of paper published in the
Nation’s Health, May, 1921.) 11 pp. 1921.
No. 19. Iowa Women in Industry. 73 pp. 1922.
No. 20. Negro Women in Industry. 65 pp. 1922.
No. 21. Women in Rhode Island Industries. 73 pp. 1922.
No. 22. Women in Georgia Industries. 89 pp. 1922.
No. 23. The Family Status of Breadwinning Women. 43 pp. 1922.
No. 24. Women in Maryland Industries. 96 pp. 1922.
No. 25. Women in the Candy Industry in Chicago and St. Louis. 72 pp. 1922.
No. 26. Women in Arkansas Industries. 86 pp. 1922.
No. 27. The Occupational Progress of Women. 37 pp. 1922.
No. 28. Women’s Contribution in the Field of Invention. 1923.
No. 29. Women in Kentucky Industries. 1923.
No. 30. The Share of Wage-Earning Women in Family Support. 170 pp. 1923.
No. 31. What Industry Means to Women Workers. 10 pp. 1923.
First Annual Report of the Director. (Out of print.)
Second Annual Report of the Director. 1920.
Third Annual Report of the Director. 1921.
Fourth Annual Report of the Director. 1922.