136 THE REVIEW
THE NEGROES OF PHILADELPHIA.
[Continued from July Number]
A large number of the Negroes working in unskilled
trades, are, therefore, largely on the verge of poverty. For
this reason a large proportion of women are at work to make
up the necessary family income, which the man is rarely able
to do because of low wages. The cost of living among these
people is, in proportion to what they get, extremely high.
The poor pay higher rent; they pay for fuel often 100 per
cent, more than the wealthy purchaser, for they buy by the
bucket. Other commodities bought in small quantities are
extremely high. It is therefore difficult for the majority to
escape underfeeding. They must pay their high rent, and
they would rather invest in good clothes than in good food.
It is not an exaggeration to say that one-third of the Negroes
of Philadelphia hover about the poverty line, while about 10
per cent, are continually below it and must receive aid or die
early because of lack of creature comforts. By the poverty
line I mean the place where income is barely sufficient to main-
tain normal physical life.
For example, we say the least that an average family in
Philadelphia can live upon and still do its portion as a part of
society is $450 a year. That allows, say for a family of five,