Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 81
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 81
in tenements where “all the conditions which surround childhood, youth, and womanhood make for unrighteousness.” 1 This still, after forty years of battling, during which we have gone on piling layer upon layer of human beings and calling that home! The 15,309 tenements the Council of Hygiene found in 1864 have become 47,000, and their population of 495,592 has swelled into nearly a million and three-quarters. 2 There were four flights of stairs at most in the old days. Now they build tenements six and seven stories high, and the street has become a mere runway. It cannot take up the crowds for which it was never meant. Go look at those East Side streets on a summer evening or on any fair Sunday when, at all events, some of the workers are at home, and see what they are like. In 1880 the average number of persons to each dwelling in New York, counting them all in, the rich and the poor, was 16.37; in 1890 it was 18.52; in 1900, according to the United States census, the average in the old city was 20.4. It all means that there are so many more and so much bigger tenements, and four families to the floor where there were two before. Statistics
Note 1. Report of Tenement House Commission, 1900. [ back ]
Note 2. Tenement house census of 1900: Manhattan and the Bronx boroughs (the old city), 46,993 tenements, with a population of 1,701,643. The United States census of the two boroughs gave them a population of 2,050,600. In the Greater New York there are 82,000 tenements, and two-thirds of our nearly four millions of people live in them. [ back ]



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