Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 64.djvu/70

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
66
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
THE BRIGHT SIDE OF RUSSIAN IMMIGRATION.
By Dr. ALLAN MCLAUGHLIN,
U. S. PUBLIC HEALTH AND MARINE-HOSPITAL SERVICE.

A LARGE proportion of the immigrants giving Russia as their birthplace crowd into the tenements of the east side of New York City and furnish operatives for the sweat shops and material for all the charitable organizations in the city.

These immigrants are so prominently in the public eye that we hear a great deal about the alarming and deplorable increase in Russian immigration. The casual newspaper reader does not find out that from Russia we receive five distinct racial elements and that only one of the five races tends to congregate in New York City, the other four being distributed among the mines, farms and factories in nearly every state in the union. So much is published about the sweat shop and the tenement that the reader is apt to lose sight of the fact that we receive a great many very desirable immigrants from Russia.

Fifty years ago the question of what constituted a desirable immigrant was a vexed one and many claimed that no such thing as a desirable immigrant existed. Time has modified the views of the extremist and proved that an immigrant with a good physique, willing to work and obey the law, has a definite economic value. This is especially true if he is between the ages of fifteen and forty-five years and is an unskilled laborer. Three races stand out preeminently among the races of Russia as furnishing a very large proportion of desirable immigrants. They are the Russian-German, Lithuanian and Finn.

The following table shows the immigration from Russia during 1902, arranged by races, and shows the relative standing of these races in some of the essential factors of desirability:

 
Race. Number Landed. Per Cent. Between
Ages of
14 and 45.
Per Cent. Un-
skilled Laborers.
Per Cent. Re-
maining
in New York.
Russian-German 8,542 75 90 5
Finn 13,854 90 86 15
Lithuanian 9,975 91 86 15
Pole 33,859 88 82 20
Hebrew 37,846 67 13 68
 

Russian-Germans.

The term 'Russian-German' sounds paradoxical, but it in reality describes the racial status of this people more accurately than any other designation.

Germans have been landlords in the Russian Baltic provinces since the days of the old German order of crusaders. The Sword Brothers