Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

centers. In a State that is essentially agricultural there would be fewer of the industrial classes, to join in a movement back to the farm. May I make this additional observation, that in my opinion the large percentage of this drift from commercial and industrial centers is not to the large farms, but is largely to small suburban tracts. Many people in industrial centers out of employment have moved into the suburbs of the great cities. Mr. CRUMP. On synthetic farms. The CHAIRMAN. They have acquired, purchased, or rented little tracts of land near the cities, and are essentially farming in one sense of the term, but not to the extent that farming is carried on in the Dakotas. They have moved to little tracts in the suburbs of the cities, where they can have a garden, chickens, a cow, and a few pigs, to provide them with subsistence until there is a return to normal national life. For instance, take Kansas City and St. Louis. A great many persons hitherto engaged in industrial pursuits in those cities have moved to the suburbs, and while they have not undertaken farming operations on an extensive scale, they have little tracts which they are trying to tickle into yielding them a support until there is such a restoration of normal conditions as will permit their return to the cities. The next witness we will hear is Mr. Dedrick. Will you give your name to the reporter, state your occupation, and then make such statement in reference to the pending legislation as you desire?

STATEMENT OF C. L. DEDRICK, A MEMBER OF THE STAFF OF THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL STATISTICS

Mr. DEDRICK. Mr. Chairman, my name is C. L. Dedrick. At present I am a Fellow with the Social Science Research Council, for the time being attached to the staff of the committee on governmental statistics, working in cooperation with the Central Statistical Board and the Census Bureau on certain studies in population.

I am appearing, largely at my own request, to present the needs for this census, particularly for the basic population aspect of this census, in the local communities of the country.

From 1930 to 1933 I was a population research man with the University of Wisconsin, making studies of the situation faced by small areas within the State, and certain studies of Madison and of the State at large, both rural and urban districts.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we who have the local point of view realize that this census is primarily an emergency measure. It is also, primarily, for the meeting of certain governmental needs, by the Federal Government in particular. We understand also that only such basic population data will be gathered as will be absolutely essential to the recovery program.

I want to raise a question, and in so doing answer a question which has been raised in these hearings yesterday and the day before, as to the significance of this census to the local community, and the justification of its cost in terms of the local community, because, as I say, I have been the principal source of population information for certain local communities, and to a limited degree, I have acted as adviser to the State of Wisconsin.

One of the greatest of these local needs on the part of the 3,072 counties and the 16,598 incorporated places in this country is the sub...” of knowledge about population for a fear of what has hapened. We find that the communities do not know what has happened to themselves. One agency makes this estimate of population and another agency makes that. One agency calculates from local birth rates back to population; another agency calculates back from local death rates to population; others calculate from water meters, telephones, gas meters, and all the other associated factors which ordinarily are clues to population trend. But in this economic upheaval through which we have passed, all these indices which are economic in character—telephones, water meters, gas meters, and all the rest—have become absolutely unreliable as indications of total population. And i. I say that the greatest of these needs is for knowledge instead of ear. The investors in long-term bonds in communities throughout the country are somewhat hesitant lest these communities do go downhill. Others are hesitant because they just do not know. And so your local improvement programs cannot be rationally planned over a period of time. Local industry does not know what is happening either to their local labor supply or to their potential consumers. They are asking: Is this recovery really going to bring us actual purchasing power? What is the potential consuming power of the local area? Should we stay here, or, now that our factory has closed down, move to another community where the population has gone? I believe Dr. Lubin brought that out yesterday when he said that the contractors did not believe that they had a sufficient labor suply in San Francisco to introduce the 30-hour week. That same thing is true in many, many small communities throughout this country. Many industries have closed down. Some of them have been closed for a year, 2 years, or 3 years. Their labor has sought other jobs. Where they have gotten jobs no one knows. Many of the owners of factories fear that were they to open up at the present time under the codes they would not have a labor supply. There is more uncertainty at the present time for those of us who are trying to assist some of the local communities and sections of local communities than has ever existed before in the history of the country. All previous depressions which were serious in nature were in the premotor era, so to speak, when people stayed where they were; when things got bad, they just settled down and stuck. At the present time, with the motor era, as soon as things get bad people move out. Where they go and what they do, no one knows. May I call attention to what Director of the Census Austin and Mr. Rice have both included in their testimony—that the estimates of population for areas less than the United States as a whole have not been given by the Census Bureau for years since 1932. There is a very real demand at the present time from many quarters for estimates of population for 1933 and for July 1 of this year (1934). I will come back to that in a minute. There are certain public agencies which absolutely have to have these estimates, and if they cannot be furnished by the Census Bureau—which has always been our standby, and whose estimates

we have always found accurate—these various agencies, both public and private, will have to do their own estimating; and since, in many local communities the directors and statisticians in these several agencies are not in agreement on many points, there will be as many population estimates used for administrative purposes, and therefore as many errors as to the true facts, as there are organizations. I shall read a list that I have prepared of just a few of these local agencies, not anywhere near a complete list. You can, I am sure, think of many others. First of all, there are the school boards. What has happened to the school population? What will be the school population next year, the year which follows, and so on, in the local community? Then there are the engineer departments and the highway boards. They are concerned with the laying of water mains, the laying of highways and the making of other similar improvements. hen there are the city and State planning boards, who have to do with zoning in cities and long-range planning in other districts which is very much dependent upon population movement, and upon the movement of business, which follows population movements. Mr. C. W. Eliot, II, of the National Planning Board, appeared before you on Monday morning, I believe. . Then there are also the local treasurers and tax bodies. They have to have population information. It is one thing to make up your report in terms of the cost of government per thousand of assessed valuation; it is another thing to calculate it in terms of per-capita cost. In some of the communities which are increasing in population, and where service demands on the community are increasing, there may be a heavier tax load on the taxpayer concurrent with a decrease in the per-capita cost of these services, due to the increase in population and the falling off of values. Lacking population data you do not know what the costs in local government are. The health authorities, of course—and I shall come back to this— are very much in need of total population information, with certain additional break-downs in order to guide them in formulating their health programs from the available vital statistics. Mr. KINZER. On the subject of vital statistics, practically all of the States, through their health departments, keep a record up to the minute, do they not, of vital statistics, as to births and deaths and data on infectious diseases? Mr. DEDRICK. But those records are kept in round numbers. Here, for instance, is the national volume, for 1929, on births, still births, and infant mortality. Here is a provisional record, and about all that can be safely published by the Federal Government, for 1932. About all that is actually reliable here, as far as the local community is concerned, and the Nation, is the first table on States. When you start breaking up California, for instance, into the various urban areas, there has been so much of a shift in population that the livebirth rate per thousand of estimated population is off. Ordinarily, a movement of two tenths or three tenths in the live-births rate per thousand of population is significant for a large community. But your population base data is so inadequate that it is hard to say just how much of a change of rate is significant. You do not know what the rates are, and the value of these volumes absolutely depend upon the gross numbers of population to secure the rates.

It is almost as if you tried to run a bank and keep your reserves in terms of dollars of deposits, instead in terms of the ratio to your total deposits. The same thing is true of this volume of mortality statistics. The CHAIRMAN. The documents to which you have referred and which you have exhibited to the committee show that the State statistics and data are much more voluminous than those prepared by the Federal Government. Mr. DEDRICK. No; in each case these are prepared by the Government from State summaries, and the population data is estimated by the Government for these volumes and turned into rates. The Government provides the local communities with their estimates and with the means of calculating estimates themselves. But the Federal Government has, with very good cause, as has been brought out in the hearings, stopped making such estimates. The possibility of error is so great that the Census Bureau cannot run the risk of being so far off on estimates of population for these local communities. It seems impossible to get any accurate totals, even closely accurate totals, for the year after July 1, 1933, which was last year. That means that for cities like Milwaukee, Chicago, and Detroit the figures are not accurate; nor are they accurate for the smaller places of 50,000 population; and when you get down to the small communities of 10,000 population you are way off. You do not know where you are. Of course, one cannot make accurate estimates, and the Census Bureau is noted for the accuracy of its estimates. Now, to go on with the private agencies: You have chambers of commerce. They are constantly making estimates, largely in error, due to their optimism. The real-estate boards also are making estimates, usually even more in error, on account of their optimism. Then there are churches and other service institutions, such as the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., and so on, who will use this data in studying oir work load and in studying the possibility of service to the people. Then there are the public-utility companies, such as the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. which has its own commercial engineers, who make a very careful population estimate for each city and for each section of a city. It makes a great deal of difference, commercially, to them whether a certain section is growing, and at what rate. They must determine whether they are going to put in an eight-hole conduit under the street, for later telephone line development, or a two-hole conduit, a decision which may mean a difference of investment of millions of dollars. As long as there is any uncertainty with regard to population trend, these improvements by private concerns in local communities cannot be pushed forward. The CHAIRMAN. Is it not true that this information will be helpful in enabling capital to determine whether or not it should make an initial investment in any particular community? Mr. DEDRICK. Oh, yes; and how much to make. Newspapers are another agency concerned in this matter. The Cleveland Plain Dealer raised a large sum of money to get a breakdown of the population data for 1920 and 1930 by census tracts of the city in order that they, as a newspaper serving the public, and of course selling advertising, could analyze the growth of the local community. I believe there have been other like subsidies from utilities for a break-down of census data. Then, too, chain stores and other large retail concerns and wholesale concerns are particularly interested in trade-area data. And then, as I have indicated, there is the employer seeking a labor supply or a market. I shall not go further, Mr. Chairman, except to summarize what I have said, that there is a local emergency, a local need for population data as well as a national emergency and a national need. We must have certain basic factors, such as the total number, which is most important), the sex distribution and age distribution, the marital-condition distribution, and probably also a small amount of nationality distribution. And then there are certain family data which have recently come to the fore as a demand on the part of local agencies as well as national. It is absolutely essential that we have basic population data if the local programs are to be pushed forward, if we are to get local cooperation and local initiative, local security, and local knowledge instead of fear and unsecurity, and if we are to obviate the very bad condition which will arise if there are no local population estimates and figures. Mr. KINZER. I would like to know something about your backound, Mr. Dedrick. How long have you been with the Central tatistical Board? Mr. DEDRICK. I came down to Washington on the 16th of April this year. Before that I was with the Social Science Research Council under this fellowship which had given me the privilege of going to local communities, particularly to St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City, to study the uses and the limitations of uses made of various types of population data in the internal analysis of cities and metropolitan districts. That is my principal interest. Mr. KINZER. Were you doing that for the Statistical Board in connection with their work, or in connection with the University of Wisconsin? Mr. DEDRICK. I am doing that in connection with my fellowship, which is a social-science fellowship. Mr. KINZER. Prior to that you were associated with the University of Wisconsin? Mr. DEDRICK. Prior to that I was associated with the University of Wisconsin as a population-research man. Mr. BRowN. Do not most of the States have statutes requiring records to be kept of births and deaths? Mr. DEDRICK. Yes. Mr. BRowN. My State of Georgia has such a statute. . In rural sections they pay the justice of the peace a small fee for that. But that is not an accurate record; a lot of them are not reported, although the statute is very drastic. - Mr. AUSTIN. We are going to check up on the State of Georgia in the matter of birth and death registrations. Of course, they are not as complete as they should be, and we propose to make an investigation of the situation in that regard in the State of Georgia within the next 60 days. All the States of the Union are now in the registration area for births and deaths. The State of Texas was the last one to come in.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »