ancestryink fisherman

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Statistics of a Long-Ago Boston

The Boston Herald-Traveler Corporation (newspaper) published market research books, hard-bound, for its advertisers.  The following pages were taken from the "Fifth Market" book (from my parent's library) which was compiled according to data of the 1940 U.S. Census. I just thought this was an fun, alternative way of viewing the nature of the Boston area, besides browsing data from the 1940 Census records.  I particularly like the "autos owned" statistics.

It is a fascinating snippet of how Boston, greater Boston, and each city and town within a 15 mile radius of Boston, breaks down in a number of categories: population, heating fuel, autos, how many families had radio, (no mention of TV yet!) refrigeration....   I chose just a few of the towns.  Click on each image for a larger, readable image.  (please excuse the rather bad scans from my Magic Wand)

First, Downtown Boston.  (At the top of each page, you will see what this encompasses)

The total population is not huge: 2,100.  Of these 1,570 are Native White.  And the largest ethnic group is the Italians:  42.3% or 214 persons.  Far and away the greater group of
foreign-born Whites in the city.

Today, probably a great many of this population would be college kids from schools such as Emerson, Suffolk, Boston University, etc.

Heating Fuel is broken up into those "with" central heating, and those "without."  I don't think we would see this delineation today.  Coal / Coke takes the lead for most commonly used fuel.

Refrigeration Equipment:  Yes.  "Ice" is still listed, and is in fact a close second to "Mechanical."

Autos:  Ford takes the lead by a landslide.  And you will see this is the same in each of the following pages I've included.  The U.S. had a love affair with Ford.

Roxbury Crossing:

By far, predominantly White - however, the largest foreign group is "Irish Free State" at 2,168.


Notice the difference in ethnic population to Roxbury Crossing.  Just next door, we now have Canadians as the ruling ethnic population, followed closely by the Irish.  Italians and Russians follow.

And last,
North End:

Population:  11,000 or 64.% Native Whites.   And...6,335 or 36% Foreign.  Of those foreign folks, 93.8% were Italian.  That should come as no surprise at all, as the North End to this day is still considered, delightfully,  Boston's "Little Italy."


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