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Title: Social Problems in Porto Rico
Author: Fleagle, Fred K.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  COPYRIGHT, 1917,
  BY D. C. HEATH & CO.
  1 E 7


IT would seem presumptuous, even after ten years of residence in Porto
Rico, to attempt to classify the social problems of the Island and offer
suggestions as to their solution, were it not for the fact that this
work does not claim to be a complete and final analysis of the
situation, but is designed merely to gather up the material available,
and present it in such form that it may be made the basis of class-room
study. The absence of such a collection of data was a handicap to the
author in his work in rural sociology in the University of Porto Rico,
and this book represents, in a somewhat abbreviated form, the material
covered. The fundamental principles of sociology are touched on but
lightly, since there are already available many excellent books
presenting this phase of the subject. It is expected that the instructor
will supplement by references and discussions, using the facts presented
here to bring out the general principles of theoretical sociology.

It is to be understood that the facts and data presented here are not to
be taken as a criticism of Porto Rico or of the Porto Ricans. They are
merely an exposition of the social situation as it exists, and do not
differ greatly, either in quantity or character, from similar facts
which could be gathered relating to any country. It is necessary,
however, to know our troubles if they are to be corrected, and we
deceive no one if we claim a state of human perfection which does not
exist. Neither do we relieve ourselves of responsibility for our own
mistakes by calling attention to the fact that other people have made
greater ones than we have. A frank facing of the situation, the
acknowledgment of whatever there may be that is unpleasant in a social
situation, and a sincere desire and attempt to make corrections, is the
only honest thing to do.

I have always been optimistic for the future of Porto Rico. It is an
island endowed by Nature with more than the usual amount of beauty and
brightness. My relations with the people of Porto Rico have been such as
to convince me that they have absorbed much of the natural atmosphere of
brightness and sunshine which is their heritage, and I believe them sons
and daughters worthy of such a beautiful and pleasant island home as
Porto Rico.

It will be noted that the emphasis in the following pages has been
placed on rural problems. This does not mean that there are more social
problems in the country than in the towns, but so little has been done
regarding country problems, and the course for which this material was
used as a basis being devoted to rural social problems, no attempt was
made to take up a discussion of the many topics which might be found in
the urban situations.

Special acknowledgment is made for the material used from the reports of
Drs. Ashford and Gutierrez, and for the data from the reports of the
Insular Bureau of Labor while under the direction of Mr. J. Clark Bills,
Jr. Some of this material is quoted verbatim from the reports, and the
author does not wish to claim it as his own.

   _University of Porto Rico_


  POPULATION                                       1

  THE JÍBARO                                       6

  OVERPOPULATION                                  19

  THE FAMILY                                      28

  RURAL HOUSING CONDITIONS                        37

  WOMAN AND CHILD LABOR                           50

  INDUSTRIES                                      56


  POVERTY                                         68

  SICKNESS AND DISEASE                            76

  CRIME                                           84

  INTEMPERANCE                                    93

  JUVENILE DELINQUENTS                            97

  RURAL SCHOOLS                                  105

  THE SCHOOL AND THE COMMUNITY                   112






THE Island of Porto Rico, covering an area of about 3,500 square miles,
had in 1910 a total population of 1,118,012. The population was divided
between the towns and country as follows: Urban population 224,620, or
20.1 per cent of the total number, and rural population 893,392, or 79.9
per cent of the total number. From these figures it is evident that the
greatest problems of Porto Rico--those which affect nearly 80 per cent
of the population--are problems connected with rural life. Of course,
many of the people classified as rural inhabitants do not fall strictly
within this class, as by urban centers we mean towns with a population
of 2,500 inhabitants or more, and thus many of the smaller towns, which
really have the advantages of town life, are classified officially as
rural centers.

The population of Porto Rico is 65.5 per cent, or nearly two thirds,
white, 30 per cent mulatto, and 4.5 per cent black. It is 98.9 per cent
native and 1.1 per cent foreign born. During the period from 1899 to
1910 there was an increase in the total population of the Island of 17.3
per cent, which covered an increase of 25 per cent for the native
whites, a decrease of 14.5 per cent for the foreign born whites, a
decrease of 15.4 per cent for the blacks, and an increase of 10.1 per
cent for the mulattoes. The decrease in the number of foreign born
whites is due to the fact that in the census of 1899 this group included
persons born in the United States, while in 1910 these were classified
as natives. The decrease in the number of blacks is doubtless due to
intermarriage with other classes, and as a result we have the children
of such marriages classified as mulattoes. If the number of such
marriages were sufficiently great, the births of blacks would be
insufficient to offset the deaths, and the number of blacks would, in
that case, necessarily decrease. On this assumption we might very well
prophesy that within a few generations the black population in Porto
Rico will absolutely disappear, and that we shall have an increased
number of mulattoes who, in their turn, will tend to disappear, as they
mingle in marriage with people of less colored blood, and in time the
black race will be practically absorbed by the whites.

Of the foreign countries represented, Spain, with 56.3 per cent of the
total foreign born, leads the list. Cuba and the other West Indies have
20.5 per cent to their credit, France 5.8 per cent, Italy 3.1 per cent,
England 2.9 per cent, Germany 1.9 per cent, Denmark 1.6 per cent, while
no other single country contributes so much as one per cent to the
foreign born population.

The total number of foreign born in 1910 was 11,766. The rural
population of 893,392 was divided among the races as follows: Whites
604,541, blacks 32,918, mulattoes 255,923. Thus we see that the great
majority of the rural population is of the white race, due no doubt, to
the fact that the colder climate of the highlands of the interior does
not agree with the hereditary love which the colored race has for a warm

The population of Porto Rico comprises a mixture of bloods and races
that complicates the social problems of the Island. The French, Italian,
and Spanish elements have tended to mix with the descendants of the
Indians originally found here, and to this has been added in many cases
a mixture of the blood of the colored race, introduced as slaves into
the Island. In some cases the races from the north of Europe have also
mingled, so that to-day it is inaccurate to speak of the Porto Ricans as
a people of one blood, and the characteristics of the people might be
called a composite of the various race elements which have entered into
the formation of the native population.

The geographical and geological formation of the Island renders it
chiefly agricultural. Little is found in the way of mineral deposits,
and manufacturing on a large scale will never be carried on, due to the
lack of fuel supply and water power. The climate is agreeable and has no
doubt tended to render the people less active than would have been the
case in a colder climate. The prevalence of anemia and malaria
throughout the Island has also weakened the productive ability of the
people and has caused the casual observer to classify the Porto Rican
countryman as unambitious and lazy. The loss of vitality caused by the
diseases just mentioned, together with others which have visited the
Island from time to time, is almost impossible to determine, but there
is no doubt but that the laziness with which the Porto Rican countryman
is credited, disappears with great rapidity when his system has been
freed from the effects of disease.

The Island imports a great part of its food supply, although food stuffs
of a vegetable nature are easily produced and might be raised in
sufficient quantity to maintain our present population. The Island is
too small to provide grazing areas for large numbers of cattle.

The problems of the rural population have been practically untouched up
to the present time, as the dominating element in the social and
political life of Porto Rico has come from the towns. The rural people
have consequently lacked stimulus for self-improvement, inasmuch as
there was nothing done to make them dissatisfied with their condition
and lead them to try to better it. A system of rural schools has been
established by the Department of Education, but not in sufficient number
to accommodate all of the children of the country. The solution of the
rural situation depends upon proper schooling, a system of instruction
which will fit the children for living better rural lives and which
shall not be simply the graded system of the towns transplanted to the
country. The special problems of the country should be taken into
consideration in working out the course of study for the schools, and
specially trained teachers should be provided,--teachers who will look
upon their work in the rural school as their profession in life, and who
will make every effort to adapt themselves to the needs of the community
in which they may be located. A continuation of the work which the
Government has already started to improve the sanitary and hygienic
conditions under which the country people live, the abolishing of anemia
and malaria through continuous effort, and instruction as to proper diet
and care of the body, together with instruction as to how to secure the
necessary kinds of food seems to be the only solution to the rural
situation. Certain other problems which relate to the rural family will
solve themselves as the educational and economic situation is bettered.


THE rural population of Porto Rico may be roughly divided into the
landowners, or planters, and the wage-earning countrymen. The planters
are usually people who in many ways closely resemble the country
gentleman or squire of England. They are people of considerable
importance in their communities, frequently well educated and widely
traveled, men who do not hesitate to spend their money freely for their
comfort and that of their families when the crops are plentiful and the
prices good. They exercise a sort of patronage over the country people
who work for them, many of whom live in houses on land provided by the
landlord. The laborers look to the landlord for guidance and for advice
in practically all matters pertaining to their economic life, and the
planter usually reciprocates by caring for the welfare of the countryman
to the best of his ability.

Many of the planters, especially such as are located in the coffee
districts, have been badly handicapped by the partial destruction of
their coffee plantations through cyclones, and by the low price for
their product, since they have had to compete with South American coffee
in the European and American markets. In addition to this economic
disadvantage, the planters are also handicapped by the infirmity of
their laborers, most of whom are sufferers from anemia, and few of whom
are able to work without the immediate direction of a foreman. The
economic and social condition of the planters is not a matter of
particular interest to us in this connection, inasmuch as they are so
situated that they enjoy all of the advantages of an advanced stage of
civilization. The problem that confronts the progress of Porto Rico is
to be found in the day laborer of the country districts. The following
is taken from the book on _Uncinariasis in Porto Rico_, by Doctors
Ashford and Gutierrez:

"Our patient has been in times past the _jíbaro_ and will be in time to
come. As we have seen already, while all country districts furnish an
incredible number of sick, the great breeding places of _necator
americanus_ are the coffee plantations, and this is the home of _el
palido_ (the pale man) of Porto Rico.

"The _jíbaro_ is a type to be well studied before we essay to interest
him in bettering his own condition. Many have written of his virtues,
many of his defects, but few, even in Porto Rico, have seen through the
mist of a pandemic the real man beyond.

"Coll y Toste says that the origin of the word _jíbaro_ proceeds from a
port in Cuba (Jibara), and that it is composed of two words of Indian
origin, _jiba_, meaning mountain, and _ero_, man. We cannot see the
necessity of invoking this port of Cuba with the excellently applicable
philology he gives us.

"Brau says that the term is applied to-day to a laborer, but that its
true significance is 'a mountain dweller.'

"Our understanding of the term, as it is applied to-day, is a peasant,
a tiller of the soil, a man whose life is not that of the town, and who
lacks its culture. And when we say that a man is a _jíbaro_, we put him
in a separate and distinct class, a class of country laborers. These
people 'live now as they lived 100 or 200 years ago, close to the soil.'
The _jíbaro_ is a squatter and does not own the land upon which he
builds his modest house, nor does that house cost him anything save the
trouble of building it. It is a framework of poles, with walls of the
bark of the royal palm (the _yagua_), with roof of the same material or
of a tough grass which is used for thatching, and with a floor of palm
boards. Generally the floor is well raised from the ground on posts, and
the family is truly a poor and miserable one which is content to have an
earthen floor. As a rule, there is but one room for a family, which
rarely goes below five, and whose upper limit is measured by the
accommodation afforded for sleeping. The cooking is done under a shed on
a pile of stones. Weyl says that the house should be valued at about

"The food of the _jíbaro_ is poor in fats and the proteids are of
difficult assimilation, being of vegetable origin, as a rule.

"He arises at dawn and takes a cocoanut dipperful of _café puya_ (coffee
without sugar). Naturally, he never uses milk. With this black coffee he
works till about twelve o'clock, when his wife brings him his breakfast,
corresponding to our lunch. This is composed of boiled salt codfish,
with oil, and has one of the following vegetables of the island to
furnish the carbohydrate element: banana, platano, ñame, batata or

"At three in the afternoon he takes another dipperful of coffee, as he
began the day. At dusk he returns to his house and has one single dish,
a sort of stew, made of the current vegetables of the island, with rice
and codfish. At rare intervals he treats himself to pork, of which he is
inordinately fond, and on still rarer occasions he visits the town and
eats quantities of bread, without butter, of course.

"Of all this list of country food there are only three elements that are
bought--rice, codfish, and condiments. Rice is imported from the United
States and codfish from Nova Scotia. The bread he eats on his visits to
town is made of American flour.

"This is a normal _jíbaro_ diet. With the wage paid him he can get no
better, but aside from this he is wedded to cheap bulky foods, chiefly
for reasons to be stated, and is completely ignorant of the importance
of certain foods which any hygienist would like to add to his bill of
fare. If the normal food of the _jíbaro_, as stated, were his usual
food, it would not be so serious a matter, nor would the _jíbaro_
complain so bitterly of his wretched ration, but the fact is he does not
get the menu detailed above save when he can be said to be prosperous.
Only a few cents difference in wages will cut out the small proportion
of animal proteids he obtains, the codfish, and a cyclone will drive him
in sheer desperation to the town.

"Aside from all this, if wages were better, it is said, he would leave
his ration as it now is and spend his surplus otherwise. This has not
been given, however, a very earnest trial. He takes also more rum than
he is given credit for by those who have accepted the formula that the
_jíbaro_ does not drink, but it is true that he is not usually
intemperate in this sense. One of his vices is _la mascaura_ (the wad of
tobacco), and he believes the juice of the tobacco to be beneficial in
warding off tetanus.

"The _jíbaro_, mountain bred, avoids the town whenever possible, avoids
the genteel life of a civilization higher than that of his own. He
instinctively tucks his little hut away in the most inaccessible spots;
he shrinks from the stranger and lapses into stolid silence when brought
face to face with things that are foreign to his life. He does this
because he has been made to feel that he must do all that he is told to
do by established authority, and he knows that this authority never
takes the trouble to look for him unless it expects to get something out
of him; because he is suspicious of outsiders, having been too often led
astray by false prophets and disappointed by broken promises; because he
realizes that he is not a free agent anywhere save in the mountain
fastnesses. In other words, he seeks liberty in his home, freedom from
the constant repression of those he recognizes as his superiors, and
exemption from a repetition of deceptions that have been so often
practiced upon him. He has always been made to stay strictly in his
class, in the _jíbaro_ class. Frequently when he tries to express
himself he is laughed down, frowned down, or growled down. '_Tu eres un
jíbaro_' is not a term of reproach exactly, but it means 'You are not
in a position to express yourself, for you are only a mountaineer. You
know nothing of our world; you are still a child. Your place is under
the shade of the coffee tree; the mark you bear is clear to everyone;
you are a _jíbaro_.' Thus there is a great difference between the
_jíbaro_ and those who are not _jíbaros_, _i.e._, those who live in
towns or those who command in the country. This distinction is neither
made unkindly nor roughly. All the Porto Rican people are kindly and
they love their _jíbaros_, but nevertheless they treat them as though
they were children. And the _jíbaro_ loyally follows his educated,
emancipated fellow citizen, perfectly satisfied to be guided as the
latter sees fit.

"Much of this guidance is excellent, and it is not our mission to seek
to break down barriers which to-day, may be needful. The _jíbaro_ is
respectful and obedient, fearful of the law and never defiant of his
superiors; he is generous to a fault, sharing with any wayfarer his last
plantain; he is devoted to his family and to his friends. Had he been
ill treated by the educated and controlling class in the island he would
be sullen and savage, but this has not been the case. If it is true that
the _jíbaro_ is in many ways differentiated from the upper classes, it
is equally true that there is no masonry so strong as that existing
among the _jíbaros_ of Porto Rico. Bound to each other by the most
intricate ties of relationship and by a still more potent one, the
eternal bond conferred by the title _compadre_ or godfather, they share
their troubles and shield each other as though they belonged to one
great family. It is really wonderful to see how quickly and with what
complete self-abnegation an orphaned child or widowed mother is gathered
into some poor neighbor's hut and there cared for. For these very same
reasons search for a miscreant in the mountains is a formidable
undertaking. On inquiry no one knows him, never saw him, never even
heard of him, and the closest scrutiny of their faces will not detect
the faintest trace of interest or even of intelligence.

"Care must be taken in deducing facts from questioning a group of
_jíbaros_ even in the most unimportant matters. They are tremendously
suspicious and generally let someone among them who is _leido_ (one who
has established a local reputation for worldly wisdom) speak for them.
One can be pretty sure that the rest will say 'amen' to all of his
remarks. It is said that this deep suspicion of a strange investigator
proceeds from the methods employed by the Spanish _guardia civil_ or
rural guard, to run down those suspected of unfaithfulness to the
administration, petty infringement of the law, etc.

"The _jíbaro_ is equally superstitious and very quickly impressed by a
supernatural explanation of any phenomena he cannot understand. The more
outlandish the explanation of a disease the better he likes it, and for
this reason the _curandero_ or local charlatan is so popular and
powerful in the mountains. We very much fear that our abrupt tumbling in
the dust of an ancient explanation of his for anemia, our assertion that
it was due to 'worms' and our administration of 'strong medicine' which
practically put him _hors de combat_ for the day, accounts for part
of our early success. In spite of this lack of knowledge of the world
above him he has one quality which is his ever ready defense, his
astuteness. There is one phrase much used in describing the _jíbaro's_
acuteness of observation. Referring to a trade it is said: '_Para un
jíbaro, otro, y para los dos, el demonio_,' which means, 'To get the
best of a jíbaro, employ another, and to catch both, Satan himself must
take charge of them.'

"This astuteness, despite all of the great obstacles in the path of our
work among them, was what chiefly led to success in bringing these
people under treatment. They soon saw that we got results, and with a
fact capable of sensational proof in our hands, the _jíbaro_ accepted us
and we joined the 'order' to which we have made reference. From that
time he has been our friend, and better friends no man ever had, for his
entire support is given us; he preaches our 'new medicine' and wherever
we have expounded these things to him by word of mouth and by virtue of
proof he takes pride in explaining, better than any representative of
the upper classes, how the disease is acquired and how it may be

"The prime fact, however, is that he has, until recently, been much
neglected, neglected by those who are not of his class, neglected by the
authorities. There are municipalities whose town forms but a tenth of
the population of the outlying country, whose taxes are collected to
support it, yet which seem to forget the submerged mass in the
mountains. This being so for the towns which are surrounded by these
people, how attenuated the interest becomes in the capital and larger
cities of the island, and how extremely diluted that of the continental
American who neither knows his needs nor even what _jíbaro_ means.

"Education will transform this _jíbaro_ into something much better or
much worse, for he will not remain content as he is when he can read,
write, and see the world with his own eyes. In this education the
respect he bears his more fortunate compatriots, the power for good they
have over him, and the confidence he reposes in them must be preserved.
The labor he must perform to enrich the island must be dignified by his
employer and by himself, or else the hills will be deserted and the
_jíbaro_ will become a vicious hanger-on of towns. Better homes, better
means of communication with towns, now becoming an accomplished fact,
better food, education, in which remarkable progress is being made at
this day, better habits of life, especially in the modern prevention of
disease, must form a part of any plan adopted to improve his condition.
The planter who to-day sees the laborer must see in him the man whose
bodily, mental, and moral development will make the plantation a
success. The planter is the man of all men in Porto Rico who must begin
to help the _jíbaro_ upward in order to emerge from his own present
industrial depression. This lack of mental contact, of a common ground
of interest between the _jíbaro_ and the better class of Porto Ricans
drives the former to charlatans for his medical advice, to the wild
fruits and vegetables of the interior for his food, and to weird creeds
for his religious comfort.

"His dependency causes him to look for protection, for direction and for
ideas from the planter, from the municipality, and from the Insular
Government. He considers himself a ward of his employer and of those
placed in authority over him. He does not care to accept any
responsibility for the simple reason that he has always been made to
feel that he is not a responsible person. Therefore, how can we blame
him when we find him without shoes, knowing that by wearing them he will
protect himself against a dangerous infirmity; without bacon and corn,
without household furniture, with but one room for his entire family.

"It is a specious excuse, nothing more nor less, which avers that the
_jíbaro_ is born the way he is and cannot be changed at this late day,
that we must await a new generation, etc. On that principle we could
expect very little from the antituberculosis crusades in New York. The
truth is that to change the _jíbaro_, we must convince him that he will
be bettered by the change, and he is sharp enough to change then, but
the gist of all is that these changes must be begun by the men to whom
the _jíbaro_ has always looked for light, and this means good hard work
and much perseverance, tact, and genuine personal interest. From our
acquaintance with the men to whom this burden will fall we should say
that they are not only sufficiently good business men to realize the
benefit they would get out of a healthy laboring class, but that the
innate patriotism of the Porto Rican agriculturist and the deeper
underlying sympathy for his _jíbaro_ will some day bring about reforms
that they alone can make possible.

"Agricultural laborers, in spite of the small wages they receive, are
nearly if not quite as expensive as those in the United States, for with
50 per cent less of efficiency from disease and wasteful methods of
work, the difference in wage is of small advantage. Weyl states:

     'The small equity which the planter holds in the estate which he
     cultivates does not permit him to pay any higher wages, and the
     poverty of the planter prevents him from making the outlay
     necessary for the proper cultivation of his land.'

"Few coffee planters have anywhere near a reasonable amount of their
land under cultivation for the reason that with the poor help and
methods now existent they are unable to extend their plant. The regular
labor, employed all the year round, the peons--who form a relatively
small percentage of the entire number available for work--are paid for a
full day's work, and their degree of anemia is such as to prevent their
doing but about 50 per cent of what they are paid for doing. Our
estimate of the relative efficiency of labor was made from what the
planter himself told us and by a simple experiment which we tried upon
about 500 adult workers in different parts of the interior. We
questioned each one as to the amount of coffee he could pick in a day
and found that from two to three _almudes_ was the utmost the majority
could do, and that one _almud_ was too much for many. Some stated that
after picking a sack full in a remote part of the plantation they were
unable to get it in to the mill without a mule, on account of the fact
that their limbs refused to bear them up. When these people were working
at light work, and at a time when the more they picked, the greater the
profit to themselves, is it reasonable to suppose that when working for
a wage without this incentive this 50 or 60 per cent labor would be any
more efficient? This reduction in laboring capacity demonstrates what a
heavy toll is paid by both employer and employee to uncinariasis in
Porto Rico.

"As to absentee landlords, Weyl says:

     'Many of the absentee owners of Porto Rican properties and many of
     their agents in Porto Rico consider the island and its population
     as equally fit for the crassest exploitation, and are as
     contemptuous of the people as they are enthusiastic about the
     island. The current use by many Americans of an opprobrious epithet
     for Porto Ricans bespeaks an attitude which takes no account of the
     human phase of the problem, but considers the population as
     composed merely of so many laborers willing to work for such and
     such a price.'

"Thus the poor laborer, his earning capacity cut down by his disease,
with employment which is at best very irregular, with his sick wife and
children for whom he has to buy 'iron tonics' that cost all that he can
rake and scrape together, without money for clothes, much less for
shoes, with a palm-bark hut not too well protected against the damp cold
of the grove in which he lives, with not a scrap of furniture save,
perhaps, a hammock, and, worst of all, with a miserable diet lacking in
proteids and fats, lives from day to day, saving nothing, knowing
nothing of the world beyond his plantation, working mechanically simply
because he is not the drone he has been too frequently painted outside
of Porto Rico, but without any object save to keep on living as
generations have done before him. It has been our experience that when
he is asked 'Why have you sought our dispensary?' the answer has almost
invariably been, 'Because I can no longer work.' The _jíbaro_,
nevertheless, has ever been the lever which has raised the bank account
of Porto Rico, and with an average of 40 per cent of hemoglobin and two
and a half millions of red corpuscles per cubic millimeter he has
labored from sun to sun in the coffee plantation of the mountains, in
the sugar estate of the coast land, and in the tobacco field of the
foothills, in addition to his personal coöperation in other industries
and commercial enterprises. He is a sick man and deserves our highest
respect, and merits our most careful attention as a vital element in the
economic life of the island. The American people should take seriously
into account his future, which is at present anything but promising."


WHEN we say that a country is overpopulated we speak in relative terms,
inasmuch as the overpopulation of a country does not depend upon the
density of the population alone, but also upon the ability of that
country to produce a sufficient amount of foodstuffs to maintain its
population. Thus a country which has a relatively small population and a
still smaller ability to produce foodstuffs would be more overpopulated
than a country of similar size with a larger population and a still
greater production of foodstuffs.

In considering the case of Porto Rico, we find that the Island contains
8,317 square kilometers of land. The estimated population at the present
time is 1,200,000. This gives about 140 persons to the square kilometer
as compared with 72 persons in France, 237 persons in Belgium, and 252
in Saxony. If the productive ability of the soil of Porto Rico is as
great as that of Belgium and Saxony, we must conclude that Porto Rico is
not overpopulated. If for any reason it is less, then the extent of
overpopulation increases directly as the soil grows less in productive

Porto Rico has about ten times as many inhabitants per square acre as
the average throughout the United States; but the conditions of climate
do a great deal to equalize this difference. In the first place, the
soil is available in Porto Rico for the production of crops throughout
the twelve months of the year, whereas in parts of the United States and
in northern Europe the soil is usable for only a portion of the year on
account of its unproductive condition during the winter months. Another
matter that must be taken into consideration in the question of
overpopulation, is the severity of the climate. Where the climate is
severe, the country will maintain in comfort a much smaller population
than where the climate is as friendly to the human race as we find it in
Porto Rico.

Of the population of Porto Rico in 1910, about 75 per cent lived in
communities that had less than 500 inhabitants, showing conclusively
that the great majority of the people of Porto Rico should be classified
as rural inhabitants and that the problems which affect the rural people
of Porto Rico are the problems which would affect, to a great extent,
the entire Island. Only two cities in the Island have a population of
more than 25,000, while only 30 would fall under the head of urban
territory, that is, towns which have a population of 2,500 or more.

The rate of increase of population in Porto Rico is far in excess of the
rate of increase in the United States, and this is one of the things
that must be taken into consideration in considering the question of
overpopulation. In the United States the rate of increase among the
class of people whose salaries range from $700 to $2,500 is from ten to
twelve per thousand. In Porto Rico, the rate of increase is about twenty
per thousand.

The following table shows a comparison between the birth rate, death
rate, and rate of increase in the United States and Porto Rico, the
figures given representing the birth and death rate for every thousand
of the population in each country.

                                      UNITED STATES
                           Birth rate     Death rate     Increase

  _Poor Class_:             35 to 40       25 to 35       5 to 10
  _Intermediate class_:     25 to 30       15 to 18      10 to 12
  _Well-to-do class_:       12 to 18       12 to 15       4 to 6

                                     PORTO RICO (1914-15)
                           Birth rate      Death rate     Increase
                             39.12           19.72        19 to 20

In order to maintain the population of a country, there must be about
400 children between the ages of one and five years for every thousand
women between the ages of fifteen and forty-five. The following table
shows how Porto Rico compares in this respect with other countries.

  United States 492 children per thousand women
  France        409    "      "     "       "
  Germany       535    "      "     "       "
  England       429    "      "     "       "
  Sweden        522    "      "     "       "
  Porto Rico    725    "      "     "       "

Thus we see that the rate of increase of the population of Porto Rico is
much greater than that of the United States. When we take into
consideration the advancement being made in sanitary science in Porto
Rico and in the elimination of disease, as well as the increased
facilities for caring for sickness, we may expect that the rate of
increase here will be augmented each year.

The general opinion is that Porto Rico is so thickly populated that a
crisis is inevitable, unless some means is found for remedying the
present situation. It does not seem, however, that we are justified in
coming to such a conclusion when we consider the much more densely
populated countries of Belgium and Saxony. Increased production of the
soil due to intensive agriculture, and modern methods of farming, as
well as the breaking up of the land into small farms, have been the
means of taking care of the vast populations of European countries where
climatic conditions are not as favorable as they are in Porto Rico. Of
the total acreage of Porto Rico about 94 per cent is in farms, and we
find that only 30,000 people are directly dependent upon these farms for
their support. Of the total number of acres included in farm land, about
75 per cent is improved and under cultivation, so that there is still
about one quarter of the land that can be devoted to agriculture when it
has been connected with markets, or by other means rendered available
for this purpose. There are in Porto Rico more than 58,000 farms, 46,779
of which are operated by their owners. These, in the great majority of
cases, are small farms and are of the kind which bring the greatest
amount of benefit to the Island. Some 10,000 farms are operated by
tenants, and these farms also are usually small.

The following table shows the number of farms of various sizes in the
Island to-day:

  Farms under 5 acres              20,650
  Farms from 5 to 9 acres          11,309
  Farms from 10 to 19 acres        10,045
  Farms from 20 to 49 acres         8,872
  Farms from 50 to 99 acres         3,728
  Farms from 100 to 174 acres       1,726
  Farms from 175 to 499 acres       1,502
  Farms from 500 to 999 acres         332
  Farms of 1000 acres or more         207

Of the owners and tenants of these farms 44,521 are white and 13,850 are
colored. About 95 per cent of all the owned farms are free from
mortgage. The average size of the farms in Porto Rico is about 35¾

The experience of European countries has been that large farms, in a
densely populated country are detrimental to the community welfare,
because the holding of such farms by a few condemns a large percentage
of the population to a dependent condition. As the number of farms
decreases, the number of salaried laborers must increase, and as this
floating population increases, there is also a tendency for crime to
increase, as the man who has no responsibilities as a proprietor of land
often lacks the fundamental stimulus to make him observe the laws of his
country. The landowner, having obtained even a small parcel of land, has
an incentive for hard work, wishing to better his financial condition,
while the dependent salaried man, with no visible stimulus for saving,
tends to spend his money as fast as it is earned and seldom accumulates
any property. To such an extent is the possession of land regarded as a
benefit to the individual and an incentive toward good citizenship, that
in some European countries the government has made arrangements to loan
money to worthy young men for the purchase of small farms on the ground
that the government gains a desirable citizen every time that it creates
a landholder. The Government of Porto Rico might well take some steps to
encourage dependent laborers to accumulate property, either by means of
loans to those who desire to purchase property, or by opening up
government land for settlement under the Homestead Act.

The rise in the price of land and the fact that the greater part of the
land of Porto Rico is devoted to industries which are most productive
when conducted on a fairly large scale, has tended to the accumulation
of large tracts of land, and legal measures should be enacted against
the accumulation of tracts of land of more than 100 or 200 acres, and
providing for the distribution of any large tracts in case of the death
of the present owner:

At the present time a good deal of the foodstuffs of Porto Rico is
imported into the Island while if there were more widely extended
division of the land into a large number of small farms, the production
of these foodstuffs could be greatly increased, although, of course,
this would tend to decrease the production of certain other crops which
at present claim the chief attention of the people of Porto Rico.

According to the Report of the Governor of Porto Rico for 1914-15, the
division of land among the various industries, as well as the average
value per acre of land for each of the industries, is shown by the
following table:

                                Average value
     Crop           Acreage       per acre

  Cane              211,110       $106.95
  Coffee            165,170         61.60
  Tobacco            18,040         80.81
  Pineapples          3,761        105.24
  Citrus fruits       5,274        121.78
  Coconuts            6,088        118.33
  Minor fruits      102,274         27.53

From this table we see that certain industries, such as the cultivation
of pineapples or citrus fruits, which can be carried on successfully on
relatively small farms, bring practically as high a return per acre as
does the production of sugar cane, which is essentially a large farm
product. This argument would not necessarily do away with the
cultivation of sugar cane, but would tend to increase the cultivation of
other crops wherever and whenever the soil and climatic conditions would

An increase in the number of owned farms and a consequent decrease in
the number of dependent wage earners, together with the increased
production of foodstuffs which such a system of land management would
necessarily bring as a result, providing the management of the farms was
carried on under modern scientific methods, would, to a great extent,
relieve the situation of overpopulation which we now face. Porto Rico
can support twice the population which she now has with comparative
ease, providing some means is found to relieve the economic situation of
the greater part of the people and to prevent the accumulation of wealth
in the hands of a comparatively small number. It is estimated at the
present time that the wealth of Porto Rico is in the hands of less than
15 per cent of the population, and the remaining 85 per cent are
dependent for their living upon daily or monthly wages. Such a situation
must be changed or else the question of overpopulation will become
indeed serious. There is no particular reason to fear that the
population will increase to such an extent that we shall be unable to
support ourselves on what the Island may produce; but with the increase
of population under present conditions, trouble between capital and
labor and between workmen and their employers cannot be avoided.

Emigration as a means of relief to the overpopulation of Porto Rico will
not solve the question. In the first place, the Porto Rican people are
essentially a home-loving people, clinging closely to family ties and
not at all disposed to migrate to other countries. A few cases of Porto
Rican families who have moved to other countries have shown that in the
majority of instances the migration was not successful. In the second
place, in order to relieve the situation at all it would be necessary to
provide for the emigration of a large number of families. The removal of
100 or 500 families from Porto Rico would not make any appreciable
difference in the economic situation that we find to-day. The average
family consists of five people, and the removal of 5,000 unskilled
laborers from the Island would not tend to relieve the situation.

The only means of meeting the situation of overpopulation is through
increasing the food production of the Island by means of division into
small farms, intensive cultivation, and modern methods of farming. The
school must do its share in the teaching of small-farm and garden
farming, and the Government should assume the responsibility for
fostering the increase of the number of small farms as well as for
assisting in the educational work to improve the methods of


THE family is the simplest combination of individuals that we find in
organized society and is the basis of social group forms. It ranks in
importance as a social institution with the church, the state, and the
school, coming into existence before any of these three institutions. It
existed in a complete form, consisting of father, mother, and children
long before there was such an institution as civil or religious
marriage. In the history of mankind, the family and marriage grew up
together, the importance of the family requiring certain marriage
customs by which the members of the family could be held together to
protect the interests of the children.

In Porto Rico we find the average family consisting of five people, and
according to the census of 1910, in the total population 15 years of age
and over, 43.7 per cent of the males and 38 per cent of the females were
single; 36.2 per cent of the males of the total population and 35.4 per
cent of the females were married, while 16 per cent of the males (or a
total of 50,113), and 15.7 per cent of the females (or a total of
51,073), were consensually married, that is, living together by mutual
consent, but without the benefit of a civil or ecclesiastical
marriage.[1] This proportion is somewhat lower than it was in 1899, as
the percentage of consensual marriages in comparison with the population
at that time was 16.3 per cent for the males and 15.2 per cent for the
females. The difference, however, does not exceed one half of one per
cent, and there were actually 17,046 more people living together
consensually in 1910 than in 1899. The seriousness of the situation may
be seen when we consider that of the total population of the Island over
15 years of age, 31.7 per cent, nearly one third, representing 101,186
people, are living together without any form of marriage ceremony.

     [1] The difference in numbers between men and women living together
     consensually is doubtless due to the fact that many men who have
     legitimate wives also have consensual wives or mistresses.

Many reasons have been given for the prevalence of the consensual
marriage in Porto Rico, among which are to be found the necessity of the
ecclesiastical marriage with its complicated forms and the relatively
costly ceremonies which prevailed before the institution of civil
marriage under the American Government. It seems quite probable,
however, that this custom is a relic of the consensual marriage form,
which was established by the early colonizers of Porto Rico, many of
whom came to the Island, leaving their families behind, and entered into
consensual marriage relations with the native women of the Island. In
this way the custom was established, and there was a lack of public
opinion against it which has existed down to the present time, and
until, through the influence of the schools, public opinion against this
form of union can be roused, very little progress will be made in
changing conditions.

There is no doubt but that many of the consensual marriages are
considered by the parties concerned just as permanent as those
performed by civil or ecclesiastical authorities, and the question of
immorality does not enter into their view of the situation. It is a
question of mutual consent, and especially in the country districts, the
knowledge of the law in regard to these matters is very vague. The
greatest harm in cases of marriage of this sort lies in the tendency to
prevent the spread of public opinion against the custom and in the ease
with which the family relations can be broken at the will of either
member of the family, with the resulting unprotected condition of the
children which may have been born into the family.

The number of persons of illegitimate birth in the Island of Porto Rico,
as given by the census of 1899 and that of 1910, is as follows:

  White illegitimates 1899      66,855
  White illegitimates 1910      76,695
  Colored illegitimates 1899    81,750
  Colored illegitimates 1910    78,554

Thus we see that there was an actual increase of nearly 10,000 white
illegitimate children from the year 1899 to 1910, or an increase of 14.7
per cent; but during the same time the white population had increased
24.7 per cent, so that there was an actual decrease in the percentage,
according to population, of nearly 10 per cent. During the same period
the colored population had increased 5.9 per cent, but the number of
colored illegitimate children had decreased 3.9 per cent, there being
actually a less number of colored illegitimate children in 1910 than in
1899, although the population had increased. It seems very probable that
this is due to the fact that the great majority of the colored
population in Porto Rico is to be found in the towns, where the school
system is more efficient than in the country districts and where customs
change more easily, due to wider associations and to more frequent and
continued intercourse with people of other points of view.

In the country the custom has remained, with little change, due to the
fact that the isolation of the country people and the comparatively
small number of children in the rural schools has given little
opportunity to work against the existing situation. Of the children from
the ages of one to ten years there was only an increase of 1,397 white
illegitimate children between 1899 and 1910, which was not anywhere near
the rate of increase of the white population as a whole. During the same
period there was an actual decrease in the number of colored
illegitimate children between the ages of one and ten years, amounting
to 7,717, or a total decrease of illegitimate children under 10 years of
age of 6,320, which would lead us to believe that within the last ten
years the births of consensual marriage and the number of illegitimate
children have decreased much more rapidly than the total census figures
would indicate.

In addition to the question of consensual marriages, we find that under
the Spanish administration, when ecclesiastical marriage was the only
form recognized, there were no divorces registered in the Island of
Porto Rico. With the introduction of the civil marriage after the
American occupation, and the institution of divorce laws and the
recognition of divorce by the civil authorities, the question of divorce
began to demand attention, and in 1910 we find a total of 1,246 divorces
among the people in the Island of Porto Rico. About two thirds of these
were women,[2] and the divorce question will undoubtedly in time bring
as many problems in Porto Rico as it has in the United States.

     [2] This would indicate that many of the divorced men had remarried
     and were listed in the census as married instead of divorced.

According to the last report of the Insular Chief of Police, it is
estimated that there are in the Island of Porto Rico at the present time
about 10,000 homeless children under 12 years of age who live by
whatever means they are able, many of them begging or stealing, and most
of them having no permanent lodging place, sleeping at night in boxes or
on doorsteps, or wherever they happen to find a lodging place secure
from the rain. These children are, for the most part, deserted and
abandoned children of illegitimate parentage, or orphan children whose
parents have left no provision for their care and education, and they
constitute a fertile soil for the implanting of criminal tendencies and
are ready material for older people of criminal habits. They constitute
a danger to the security of the community, and if it were not for the
relatively high death rate that is found among people of this class, the
Island would soon be overrun by citizens brought up under these
criminal-forming conditions. The Insular Government should take
measures to reduce this danger by means of the compulsory industrial
education of this class of boys and girls. There is enough Government
land available to colonize them in different parts of the Island under
the care of people trained in reformatory and industrial methods, and
this should be done in order that they may become self-supporting
individuals who will contribute to the comfort of the community, rather
than parasites who live on the charity of others. There are any number
of small industries in which they might be trained, as well as along
agricultural lines, and the trades which lack skilled workmen in Porto
Rico would be much benefited by adding to their number graduates of
industrial trade schools, taken from children of this class; these
schools should be operated by the Government, at Government expense, but
could be made largely self-supporting by means of the sale of the
services of the boys, or through the sale of the products turned out.

The living accommodations of the average rural family are very
unsatisfactory, consisting, as they do, of a dwelling house of one room,
or at the most, two. This reduced house space makes it necessary to eat
and live and sleep in the same room, rendering impossible any degree of
privacy on the part of any of the family. This condition in the case of
growing boys and girls is very undesirable, particularly since it is a
custom to take in as members of the family relatives, sometimes of a
rather remote degree of relationship, in case they are left unprotected.
Another feature of family life which tends toward degeneration and
which is found to a great extent in Porto Rico, is the intermarriage
between relatives within comparatively close degrees of consanguinity.
The civil laws of Porto Rico prohibit the marriage of persons of closer
degrees of relationship than first cousins, and the ecclesiastical laws
of the Roman Church prohibit marriage within eight degrees of
consanguinity. In the record of one family which produced 25 cases of
insanity in two generations, it was found that there had been a
considerable amount of intermarriage between relatives, one of the
grandparents marrying a person who was prohibited by the ecclesiastical
law on four different grounds on account of consanguinity.
Ecclesiastical permission had been obtained to overcome these
difficulties and the marriage took place. There is no doubt that close
intermarriage and the failure to introduce new stock into the family
tends to both mental and physical degeneration. And where families
intermarry for generations, as we find to be the custom in a great many
instances in Porto Rico, there can be no doubt of the ultimate
disastrous outcome from this custom.

The average Porto Rican family lives very happily and contentedly, the
parents displaying great affection for the children and for relatives
even of a remote degree of relationship. In the case of the death of
parents, relatives usually adopt or take charge of the children which
may be left and bring them up as carefully as they would children of
their own. The family group is naturally closer among Latin peoples
than among Anglo-Saxon races, and this has tended to do away with some
of the vices of family life which are found among Anglo-Saxon peoples,
while the same circumstances have tended to increase other
unsatisfactory conditions of family life peculiar to Latin races.

One of the features which, from the standpoint of society, may have an
unfortunate result is the mixture of races in the family life. While
this has not taken place to such an extent in the country districts as
it has in the towns, nevertheless, a great many families in Porto Rico
are composed of mixed races. The biological tendency in cases of mixed
races, according to most authorities, is a decrease in the number of
children in the family as generation succeeds generation, unless there
is an addition of new blood to a considerable extent. This may possibly
be one of the means which Nature has provided for solving the problem of
overpopulation in Porto Rico, but there is the added fact that usually
as the succeeding generations become fewer in regard to numbers, they
also become less capable mentally and physically. The race question in
Porto Rico will undoubtedly come to be one of the problems that has to
be solved, and it will be more difficult of solution than the race
problem in the United States, where the races are becoming more widely
separated every year and where it is very infrequent to find persons of
the two races in the same family. In Porto Rico the problem will be
intensified because it is not merely a problem between races, but a race
problem which involves the family organization in many cases. The
government of Brazil has predicted that in a hundred years there will
be no black inhabitants in the Brazilian republic, that they will be
entirely assimilated by the white race or carried off by disease. The
census report for Porto Rico shows a falling off in the black race of
about 9,000 in the last ten years, and an increase of about 30,000 in
the mixed or mulatto population. Thus the assimilation of the black
population is gradually taking place, and whether this will in time lead
to a complete assimilation, or whether the mixed race will become
weakened through this racial intermarriage to such an extent that it
will eventually refuse to propagate, is a question which only time can
answer. There is no doubt, however, that this is one of the problems
that must be confronted in Porto Rico.


THE housing of a people is always a matter of prime importance in their
social life and development. There is little progress until the housing
conditions are comfortable and hygienic, and the development of the home
and the family life depends to a great extent on the conditions under
which a people lives. The housing conditions in Porto Rico, especially
for the poorer classes, are far from satisfactory. The dwellings of the
country people are described as follows, in the Report on the Housing
Conditions in Porto Rico, published by the Insular Bureau of Labor in

"There are five general problems which the laborer or employer in
tropical countries, who is anxious to build cheap but proper houses, has
to meet. The first is to provide adequate protection against the heat.
As in northern countries it is necessary to shut out the cold winds and
generate and conserve artificial heat within the house, so in tropical
countries it is equally important to let in the breezes and to clear out
any artificial heat that may arise.

"The second problem is to provide protection against the frequent
tropical rains. This is especially important in tropical countries that
have a protracted rainy season, as it is often difficult to shut out the
rain without also shutting out the fresh air.

"The third problem is the provision of adequate sanitary facilities. Due
to the heat in southern countries and to the humidity that prevails
during certain seasons of the year, this problem is more difficult of
solution and likewise more important than in countries farther north.

"The fourth problem is that of securing cheap and durable building
materials. In a land like Porto Rico where tropical shrubs and the palm
are practically the only woods that the laborers are able to obtain, we
must not expect the same solid, commodious habitations which are found
in northern countries where the pine and hemlock abound.

"The fifth problem, perhaps as important as any of the preceding and
certainly as difficult to remedy, arises partly from the generosity of
nature herself. People can live in tropical countries in almost any form
of habitation. Cold winters have not obliged the poorer classes to be
adepts in house construction. Poverty has forced them to live as cheaply
as possible. Naturally, the laboring classes engaged in tilling the soil
still make their homes in the cheapest forms of huts. This problem has,
therefore, three aspects--an over-indulgent climate, poverty, and a lack
of opportunity by the poorer classes to learn better methods of house

"In Porto Rico we have, in addition to the problems mentioned above, two
special conditions which have influenced the form and quality of our
laborers' houses. The first is that the seasonal character of many of
our agricultural industries forces the laborers to migrate from one
section to another in order to find work and, naturally, they are not
inclined to go to the expense and exertion of building substantial
homes. The second, and more important, arises from the fact that the
greater part of our laborers do not own the land their houses are placed
upon and, being subject to ejection at the will of their landlords, they
have no incentive to beautify or improve their homes.

"According to the census of 1910, the urban territory of Porto
Rico--that is, the places of 2,500 inhabitants or more--contained
224,620 inhabitants, or 20.1 per cent of the total population, while
893,392 inhabitants, or 79.9 per cent, lived in places of less than
2,500 inhabitants, and of these, 837,725 lived in strictly rural
territory. Needless to state, the greater part of the rural inhabitants
belong to the laboring classes and live in the types of rural homes
described in this section.

"We have divided the habitations of rural laborers, according to their
construction, into the following types: (1) Single houses of thatch, (2)
single houses of wood and zinc, (3) tenements of wood and zinc.

"Most of the thatched huts in the rural sections have been built by the
laborers who live in them. The land upon which these houses are built
is, however, usually the property of some plantation or landowner. Only
in the more inaccessible sections inland do the laborers who have built
these thatched houses also own the land they are placed upon. It is the
custom among the landowners to allow laborers who work for them to take
the necessary materials--grass, sticks, palm-bark, etc.--from the land
and build their huts. This is done, of course, with the consent of the
landowner, and the huts so built are legally attached to the land and
become the property of the landowner. As a matter of fact, the laborers
who have built these huts claim them as their property and are allowed
to live in them without charge or molestation so long as they work for
the landowner when their services are needed. When a laborer who has
built a hut leaves it and moves to another's land, the hut is claimed by
the landowner and some other laborer is allowed to move into it. There
are also some of these huts that have been built by the landowners at
their own expense, but the plantation owners and other landowners who
have gone into the business of building houses for their workmen usually
construct a better type of house. The thatched hut, therefore, while it
is legally a plantation house, is not usually so considered, either by
the landowner or the laborer.

"If we judge the importance of a type of house from the number of people
who live in it, this thatched hut is far more important than any other
rural or urban type. The great mass of the rural laborers live in houses
of this type and, as has been shown, fully three-fourths of the total
laborers of the Island live in rural sections.

"The homes of the wealthy in all parts of the world are constructed to
conform to the standards of the age and place in which they are erected,
and to the personal desires of the occupants, regard being taken only of
the absolutely necessary conditions of environment. The houses of the
poor, on the other hand, are the direct product of local environment.
The hut of the inland laborer of Porto Rico, the _jíbaro_, is a striking
illustration of the effect of environment upon the type of house in
which the poor live.

"The problem of obtaining cheap and durable building materials is a very
difficult one for the poor laborers of Porto Rico. Hard woods are
extremely scarce, and the poor inland laborer cannot afford to buy
imported lumber, and, therefore, he has been obliged to utilize the
coarse grasses and the products of the palm trees that are accessible at
little or no expense except the labor necessary in their preparation.
Furthermore, many of these people have not the skill nor the necessary
tools to use materials such as stone and clay which they might be able
to obtain. Also, the migratory character of many of these inland
laborers, and the fact that they do not own the land their houses are
built upon, have been fundamental influences in preventing the
development of better house types. The principal agricultural
industries, _i.e._, coffee, sugar, and tobacco, have a busy and a dull
season, and many of the inland laborers are obliged to migrate from one
section to another in order to find work. For this reason hundreds of
laborers pass annually from the inland hills where coffee is grown down
to the sugar plantations on the coast, and then back again to the hills,
the busy seasons of sugar and coffee being at different times of the
year. Of course, these laborers cannot move their houses with them about
the Island, and they naturally tend to build the cheapest kind of
temporary structures. Also very few of them own the land their houses
are placed upon. They are mere squatters, or tenants at will, and the
land owner may eject them at any time for little or no cause, so that
there is no incentive to build substantial structures, and there is no
chance of developing that pride in the home which is so essential to the
building of good houses.

"The inland laborers who live in these huts have been their own
architects and builders, and they model their homes after the old type
that has prevailed among the hills for centuries. The framework of these
huts is of poles and small sticks cut from shrub trees and nailed or
tied together at the corners with native fiber ropes. The roofs are
generally thatched with a long, tough grass, and the walls are
constructed by binding leaves of the royal palm (_yaguas_) with sticks
and fiber. The floor is of boards or slabs and is raised from one to two
feet above the ground. In some sections _yaguas_ are also used for the
roofs, and in the inland there are many huts with walls of slabs from
the trunk of the palm trees. These huts are usually divided into two
rooms by a flimsy partition of _yaguas_, one room being used as a
bedroom and the other as a combined living and dining room. The kitchen
is a separate room or shed at the rear, and, probably because of the
danger of fire, is usually without floor. The furniture consists of
hammocks, boxes for chairs, a rough table, and a few dishes, all made
from gourds, except the iron pot used in cooking. The value of such
furniture is usually from $4 to $6, and the value of such a house from
$10 to $20.

"This hut of the inland laborer with its thatched roof and open
construction is, in many respects, a much better house than the casual
observer is likely to believe. A well-constructed thatch roof, when it
is new, offers sufficient protection against rain and excellent
protection from the heat of the tropic sun. New palm bark walls are also
adequate to keep out the rains. Furthermore, almost without exception,
the floors are raised above the ground, so that the surface waters after
a shower run freely under the hut and wash away any refuse that may have
accumulated, and then the sunlight and winds quickly dry the remaining
dampness. In other words, a new well-built hut of this type is a
properly ventilated, cool, and reasonably sanitary habitation, and
represents the best effort of the laborers to adapt themselves, in their
poverty-stricken condition, to the circumstances of their environment.
On the other hand, these huts deteriorate very rapidly. Within six
months or a year, a dozen varieties of insects have made their nests in
the thatched roof, the palm-leaves have cracked, and the floor sags.

"One who stands on some projecting point high up on a mountain side in
the interior of the Island and carefully scans the hillsides about and
the valley beneath, will be amazed at the number of small huts of this
type that lie within his view. There are hundreds of them. Every knoll
is crowned by its hut; every hillside is dotted by them. No two are ever
placed together; each family seeks its own free life. It is practically
true that one cannot shout in any part of our Island and not be heard
by the occupants of one or more of these huts.

"To say that these people are contented and prefer to live as they do,
is not true. Customs clinch themselves upon a people so that they appear
contented, and these inland laborers have lived under the same
conditions for three centuries. Their standards of living are modest,
and their desires are few. In this sense they are contented. Yet there
is a deep and powerful change coming over them. They are going to the
cities in greater number than ever before; their children are attending
the little schools in the hills. New ambitions are awakening. When the
dull season comes, they cannot find work. There are times when many of
them are hungry. They are not contented.

"That the Porto Rican laborer is of cheerful disposition is especially
true of the so-called _jíbaro_. He has been obliged to find his joy in
simple things. He greets you with a smile; he welcomes you to his house
and cheerfully divides his cup of coffee with you; he dances with a show
of gayety on a Sunday afternoon. He is ever cheerful, but not happy.
There may be some customs and prejudices of minor importance that he is
loath to change, but in the main he prefers to live as he does because
he is obliged so to live. Those who adhere to the _laissez faire_ policy
and believe that conditions are good enough as they are, do not know the
real heart of these people. They need and deserve and must ultimately
receive the opportunity to improve their living and working conditions.

"There are two important causes for the erection of plantation houses:
(1) For the employer, the practical advantage of having a resident
supply of labor on his land; (2) for the laborer, the necessity of
living near his work. Laborers who live in plantation houses are more
largely dependent upon the plantation than are laborers who live in
their own homes. One of the conditions of occupying a plantation house
is that the occupants will work for the plantation whenever their
services are required. Laborers living in plantation houses, can,
therefore, be depended upon by their employers, and this is a great
advantage to the plantation owner. Furthermore, such houses are usually
much better than the laborers who live in them could afford to build for
themselves. Frequently, also, the holdings of the plantation are so
extensive that it would not be possible for the laborers, even if they
had the money, to buy land upon which to build their houses within
walking distance of their work.

"There are great differences between the single houses of wood and zinc
erected by the various plantations. The better types have been built by
employers who wished to provide healthful and comfortable
quarters--increase the efficiency of their laborers as well as to hold
their labor supply. Unfortunately, at present, such houses are not being
erected by the plantations in all parts of the Island. The majority of
these houses have been built with the sole purpose of holding as large a
labor supply as possible at the least expense.

"The houses of this type are usually roofed with large strips of zinc,
nailed directly upon the rafters. These roofs are low, unceiled and, as
a result, the houses are extremely hot. The walls are of imported
lumber, sometimes the boards being matched and in other cases
clapboarded. The better houses are painted to diminish the depreciation
and to awaken the pride of the occupants in their homes. The walls are
six or seven feet high. The floors are of boards and raised from one to
two feet above the ground. The houses are set upon posts so that there
is a clear space under them that can be easily cleaned. On the interior
they are divided by half partitions into two or three rooms and are
usually provided with separate kitchens, frequently one kitchen serving
for from one to four houses. These houses cost from $70 to $150, the
average being about $80, according to their size and construction. This
description refers to the better houses of this type and, unfortunately,
the majority of the single plantation houses are not so well

"These tenements represent the older type of plantation houses and
fortunately very few of them are being built at the present time. Their
construction has been prompted by the same reason that has induced
employers to build the single type of plantation house--the desire to
hold a resident supply of labor on the plantation. They are, however,
far inferior to the single houses.

"The better rural tenements are built with zinc roofs, board walls and
floors, and are raised from one to two feet above the ground. They are
unceiled and have no windows. In the inland many of them have zinc
walls. The poorer ones are located on low, swampy land and are built of
oil cans, pieces of boxes, and other odds and ends. Some of them have
separate kitchens and sanitary facilities, but many have nothing except
such temporary and inadequate structures as the occupants have
themselves built. The first reason for building tenements of this type
has been, of course, to house the greatest number of laborers at the
least expense. They are long structures, one or two rooms wide, each
room an apartment, and crowded with people. Although these rural
tenements are not usually being built at present, there are still
hundreds of them in use.

"The worst housing conditions upon the plantations prevail in the
buildings, usually tenements of this type, set aside as sleeping
quarters for unmarried laborers. This type of labor is transient, coming
for a few months during the busy season and then passing on to another
section of the Island. Consequently, they are crowded into whatever
quarters may be available at the time. The leaky rooms of the old sugar
mills, the worst rooms in the tenements, single houses that have been
unused for six months and are out of repair and filthy, are usually used
for the emergency--an emergency that lasts from three to six months.
Six, eight, or ten hammocks are hung up between bare walls in a room 10
feet by 15 feet and are all filled each night. Conditions of ventilation
and general sanitation are frightful.

"There is one notable exception. One of the largest centrals of our
Island has constructed a large, well-ventilated, and comfortable men's
apartment. The floor is of matched boards, solid and clean. The walls
are also of matched boards, but there is an open space two feet wide at
the top of the walls extending around the building. Overhanging eaves
prevent the rain from beating in through this opening. The roof is of
heavy paper nailed to a thick wooden ceiling. Frames are arranged in the
interior of the building for hanging hammocks, and around the walls are
large individual lockers for the use of those sleeping there. Finally,
the building is cleaned thoroughly every day.

"No description of the housing conditions of rural laborers would be
complete without mention of the gardens cultivated by the occupants of
the houses. It is safe to say that nine out of every ten laborers in the
rural sections, with the exception of those who live in plantation
houses where there is no land that they are permitted to cultivate, have
planted some sort of garden. It is also true that these gardens are, in
most cases, of very little practical use. Well cultivated and productive
gardens belonging to rural laborers are hard to find.

"The average garden consists of two or three plantain or banana trees, a
few tubers, and some medicinal plants. Frequently, there are many and
beautiful flowers. Whatever vegetables there may be are poorly cared for
and do not produce more than a third of a proper yield.

"This subject is of tremendous importance. The soil and climate of Porto
Rico are such that it should be able, even with its dense population, to
produce most of its food. There are unused plots of ground around
practically every hut in the interior of the Island. The decrease in the
production of sugar is going to throw many laborers out of work and they
will be obliged to raise most of their own food or suffer. Many reasons
have been advanced to explain the absence of good small gardens. The
laborers themselves say that they do not plant and cultivate gardens
because they do not own the land and they are allowed to plant only on
condition that they give the greater part of their produce to the
landowners. They claim also that it does not pay to break up the ground
for one crop and that after they have got plantains, etc., growing they
may be obliged to move. It is also true that in most cases they have not
money enough to buy the seed or hire the oxen and implements needed for
breaking up the ground.

"Also, in some parts of the south coast, it is too dry for profitable
gardening. On the other hand, landowners frequently say that the reasons
why laborers in the rural sections do not plant gardens are lack of
knowledge of gardening methods, lack of realization of the benefits that
they could derive from good gardens, and custom. Without discussing the
relative merits of these reasons, there are two things that must be
faced--such laborers must be educated, so far as possible by example,
and they must be offered the opportunity to hold land with some fixity
of tenure, either by purchasing it on the installment plan or by
obtaining leases from the present landowners."


FORTUNATELY, the factory system has not been introduced to any great
extent into Porto Rico, nor in all probability will woman and child
labor in factory employment ever constitute a serious problem. The
census of 1910 gives only a total of 1912 woman wage earners in various
industries of the Island. This, of course, does not include the woman
who works throughout the rural districts, and whose condition
constitutes the problem which must be studied and remedied in the

The average unskilled laborer in the country districts of Porto Rico
does not earn a sufficient sum to enable him to maintain his family in
comfort. As a result, the wife, and frequently the children, must
contribute to the support of the family as much as they can. In some
parts of the Island, the tasks of the country women are largely limited
to their housework and the cultivation of whatever garden products they
may raise, because such crops as sugar cane do not call to any great
extent for the use of woman labor. In other sections of the Island,
however, particularly those parts where coffee growing is the chief
industry, the gathering and caring for the coffee crop is left, to a
great extent, to the women and children. This, of course, results in a
financial saving to the coffee grower, as the wages for woman and child
labor are much less than for the services of men. The unhealthful
results, however, more than offset the advantages gained by adding the
mother's wages to the family income.

The harmful results from woman labor may be classified as direct and
indirect. Under the directly harmful results are the weakened physical
condition of the mother, the increased susceptibility to diseases which
are especially common in the coffee districts, particularly anemia, and
such diseases as are the results of exposure. The larva of the hookworm
lives and finds a fertile field for action in the damp and shady regions
devoted to the production of coffee, and as the majority of the women
laborers are not accustomed to wear shoes, they easily permit contact
and contagion from this disease.

The strength of children and their ability to withstand disease depends
to a great extent upon whether or not they are physically strong at the
period of their birth and during the time they are under the direct care
of the mother. A mother whose system has been weakened by the
debilitating effects of anemia, cannot nourish her child and provide him
with the necessary amount of food, and as a result, the child is either
anemic, or a victim to malnutrition as a result of introducing solid
food into his system before the digestive organs are prepared to take
care of such food.

Among the indirectly harmful results of woman labor is the necessary
separation of the mothers from the children of the family. The mother on
going to work, either leaves her children in the care of a neighbor, or
leaves them at home where the older children take care of the younger.
This deprives the children of the mother's influence and allows them
liberty to associate with children who may be undesirable companions,
which would be avoided to a great extent if the mother were present to
take care of them. The Juvenile Court records in the United States show
that 85 per cent of the delinquent children brought before the court
have been led into bad habits through the failure of one or both of the
parents to take care of their supervision during play hours. Divorce in
the United States has been strongly attacked for the reason that it
deprives the child of one of his legal protectors. From the same point
of view, woman and child labor, which deprives the child of the care of
his mother, must inevitably produce bad results in the growing

The use of child labor in Porto Rico is not particularly preferred
except in coffee districts and in certain agricultural sections where
boys are used at certain times of the year to help drive the oxen, or to
help in planting the crop. As this is outdoor work it does not have the
devitalizing effect upon the child's body which factory work would have,
and as it does not require concentrated attention, it is relieved from
the monotony which would tend to lower the child's mental ability. The
evil results which must be guarded against are those arising from
overwork and from association with undesirable characters while the
child is not under the supervision of his parents. In addition to this,
the child who is engaged at work must lose the benefits which he should
be receiving from attendance at school. During the last year, the
Department of Education has attempted to solve this problem by changing
the vacation period, so that the long vacation of three months will fall
at the coffee-picking season in such sections of the Island as are
devoted to the production of this crop, and where previously there was a
great decrease in school attendance at the time when the harvesting of
the coffee was in progress. This, undoubtedly, will greatly help to do
away with the harmful results which formerly were the consequences of
irregular attendance or non-attendance at school on the part of a great
many of the children in the coffee-growing districts.

An increase in the number of rural schools so that all of the children
of the rural districts can be accommodated, is also necessary before
this problem is entirely solved. At the present time, a large number of
the children in the country cannot attend school, either because the
school in the neighborhood is overcrowded, or because the nearest school
is at too great a distance for them to attend with regularity. The
removal of these conditions unfortunately depends upon an added
appropriation for the maintenance of the Department of Education, and it
is doubtful whether the income of the Island will be sufficient to
supply the needed increase for years to come. With the gradual
improvement of roads, consolidated schools may help to solve the
problem, and a half-day enrollment for each group will tend to increase
the number of children that can be taken care of. Children who find that
they cannot obtain a place in the school will naturally be made use of
by their parents for wage-earning purposes whenever possible, but the
great majority of parents would not put their children at work if the
children were enrolled in school and if irregularity of attendance were
to lead to dismissal from the school.

Another thing that would help to relieve the situation, as far as woman
and child labor is concerned, would be the establishment of a minimum
wage for unskilled farm labor, such wage to be sufficient to enable the
laborer to maintain his family without the help of money earned by the
wife or children. The time of the wife could be occupied in poultry
raising and in caring for the family garden, which would also tend to
reduce the cost of living for the family and could easily be
established, if the landowner were to provide sufficient garden space
with each house in addition to the regular wages paid his laborers. Of
course, methods of gardening would have to be included in the rural
school programs, and the rural teacher should act as a supervisor of
these gardens and advisor to the people of the community in which he is

The important things to guard against in the life of the family, from
the standpoint of the welfare of both the family and the community, are
that the mother need not be obliged to dissipate the strength, through
outside labor, which she needs in the raising and caring for her
family. The lack of proper supervision of the children through the
absence of the mother from the home must also be guarded against. In
case it can be proved that a father is unable through his own efforts to
earn sufficient to maintain his family, a system of mothers' pensions
carried on by the government should be established in order that the
mother may be safeguarded from want in case of the death of her husband,
and that she may not be obliged to help him in the maintenance of the
family through the performance of such labor as would interfere with her
regular family obligations.


THE principal industries of Porto Rico are necessarily of an
agricultural character, and their importance to the Island financially
is shown by the fact that during the year 1914-15 exports to the value
of $49,356,907 left for the United States and foreign countries. The
imports for the same period reached the amount of $33,884,296, thus
giving a good surplus to the Island after the total imports had been
paid for. The principal classes of imports are the foodstuffs which
might be produced in sufficient quantities to maintain the population of
Porto Rico. This is a situation which should receive attention, inasmuch
as the Island is capable of producing all of the foodstuffs which it
needs for its own consumption. The principal article of export from
Porto Rico is sugar and other products of the sugar cane. The article of
export second in value is tobacco in its various forms. Third comes
coffee; and these three products make up the chief source of wealth.

The chief criticism in regard to the agricultural situation of Porto
Rico at the present time, is that there has been very little development
of small farm products which would tend to make it possible and
profitable for the landholder who is in possession of only a few acres
to earn a comfortable living. The climate and soil of Porto Rico would,
undoubtedly, lend themselves to the production of many fruits and
vegetables which could be raised with profit on farms limited in size,
and which would enable the small farmer to maintain his family.

In addition to the introduction of agricultural products fitted for
small farm production, an opportunity should be given and efforts
encouraged for the establishment and improvement of such lines of work
as can be carried on in the homes or by a small group of people working
independently. Among these kinds of work are several, such as the
hat-making and basket-making industries, the production of handmade lace
and embroidery, and other forms of needlework, which might be carried on
by women working independently during the time they have free from the
occupations of their household work. These handmade articles of Porto
Rico are much sought after by tourists, and there is no doubt but that a
large and profitable market could be opened for them in the United
States, if efforts were made to establish the production on a commercial
basis. The individual living in a small town who devotes himself to hat
making is handicapped because he has no steady market for his goods and
is obliged to sell them or trade them for whatever he can obtain from
retail dealers, who themselves attempt to secure only the limited trade
which enters their stores. In order to make industries of this sort
profitable to the producers, it will be necessary to secure a new and
permanent market for the goods, and either the government or some group
of individuals who will not exploit the workers, should act as
middlemen to see that the work is uniform in character, and to attend to
the handling of the finished products and the supplying of a market for
it in the United States. Working as individuals, the countrymen or
dwellers in small towns have turned out products which differ in quality
and in design, and very frequently the lack of resources has obliged
them to construct their products from unsuitable or cheap materials.

They have been accustomed to ask for their products as high a price as
they thought they could obtain, and often this price is too high for the
quality of the article, while sometimes it does not pay for the labor
and time which has been expended in the production of the article. By
systematizing the work and putting it under the direction of competent
supervisors who would specify the quality of material to be used in the
production of the articles, and who would fix a price which would fairly
represent the time and labor expended by the producer, and who would be
able to reject work that did not meet the standard set, the value of the
goods would be increased. An equally necessary step in this matter would
be the providing of a regular market for the goods and the supervision
of production, so that the market would not be overloaded with certain
articles and lacking in others. Experiments already carried out have
proved the existence of a market for Porto Rican goods in the United
States, and the matter should be taken up under the supervision of the
Insular Government.

In order to produce trained workers for the production of these
articles, it would be necessary to establish schools for their
instruction which might well be under the direction of the Department of
Education. These schools would not necessarily last throughout the year,
nor would they require any great expenditure of money for their
maintenance. The character of the school should depend upon the locality
in which it was established and should be designed only for the training
of skilled workmen, either child or adult, in particular lines of work.
Short courses of two or three months in these industrial schools should
be offered, and the people who attend them should be assured of a market
for their goods when they have arrived at a point where they can produce
goods of the proper standard. The money expended in the establishment
and maintenance of these schools would more than double the earning
capacity of the unskilled worker, and the general welfare of the
community would be increased by the changing of unskilled and
unproductive citizens into trained, productive laborers.

It is a well established fact that the trained workman is the most
desirable kind of citizen. The unskilled laborer has no steady market
for his labor and is the first victim in the wage system whenever a
financial crisis causes the employer to lessen his expenses. The
unskilled laborer has for sale a product which the average employer is
not anxious to obtain, whereas the skilled worker can find a much more
steady and regular market for his labor. The lawless, irresponsible
class of citizens in any community is always composed to a great extent
of the unskilled laborers, and any country which has an overwhelming
proportion of its population composed of this class of people is in
constant danger of labor disturbances and conflicts between employers
and employees. The great majority of the men in penal institutions are
unskilled laborers, and if the proportion of this type of citizens is
sufficiently large, it may constitute a real danger to the community.
With increased ability to earn wages comes the desire to improve living
conditions and to rise higher in the social scale. This demands added
education, more hygienic surroundings, and better food and clothing. The
man who earns fifty cents a day, and that at irregular periods, is an
early victim to dissatisfaction and is easily made to believe that life
has not much for him in the future, and that he has not been fairly
treated by his employer. The skilled laborer who earns double this
amount or more, begins to take a new interest in life, as he can see the
results which have come from his directed efforts, and values the
benefit to his family; he educates his children, sees to it that they
are well clothed and fed, and he himself becomes interested in the life
and problems of the community as he becomes gradually a person of some
importance in its economic and social life. A dependent wage-earning
population usually lacks ideals of self-improvement, but the
steady-working, independent producer of marketable goods is constantly
striving to improve the amount and quality of his products.


ONE of the most difficult problems to solve in the case of a small
country such as Porto Rico, and one which has a definite bearing on both
the economic and the social life of the people, is the land situation.
This is especially true when the chief industries are such as lend
themselves more readily to large plantation farming rather than to small
industries or crops which can be raised profitably on small areas. The
most important products of Porto Rico to-day are large-farm products,
and they naturally tend to develop a small number of large landowners
and a large number of landless citizens. There were in 1910, 46,799
farms operated by their owners, and it was estimated that 600,000 people
or 117,647 families in rural sections belonged to the landless class. An
equally large proportion of landless citizens is found in urban centers.
Of the 10,936 people in Puerta de Tierra in 1913, only 178 or about 30
families owned the land on which their houses were located. It is
estimated that there are at least 800,000 people or 156,860 landless
families in Porto Rico.

In addition to the tendency toward lawlessness that is always found
where there is an overproportion of landless citizens, the systems of
land rental in Porto Rico have certain unfortunate economic aspects
which call for consideration. Part of the renters live in houses which
are owned by the proprietor of the land upon which their houses are
located, and here the case resolves itself simply into the ordinary
relations of renters and householders. This system does not differ to
any great extent from the ordinary rent system in the States and has the
same disadvantages, both economical and social, which are to be found
wherever the rental system is in operation.

A second system which has been known as the "Land Rent System" is
somewhat different. Under this system a man rents a lot from the owner
of the property and proceeds to erect his own house upon the land. He
then owns the house but not the land upon which it is located. Usually
he rents from the proprietor from month to month or from year to year
and has no definite lease of the land, and there is nothing to prevent
the owner from raising the rental price or from demanding the house of
the renter whenever he feels so inclined. As a matter of fact, it
frequently happens that the land is rented to householders at fifty
cents or a dollar monthly for the purpose of building houses, and within
a short time after the completion of the house the owner of the land
advances the price of rent, so that the house owner finds himself unable
to meet the increased cost. He then has no choice except to move out and
leave his house, together with the amount of work and invested money
which it represents, or to sell the house to another person. Usually the
house is sold to the owner of the land himself, who thus comes into
possession, at a very reduced price, of a house which he, in turn,
rents to another individual. This system is extremely unfortunate for
the renter and should be abolished by the passing of legislation which
would require the granting of a lease for a certain definite period to
every person who builds upon land owned by another.

A modification of this system is frequently found in the cases where
employees build their houses upon the land which belongs to the
plantation. In many cases the employer does his utmost to make the life
of his tenants as pleasant as possible, granting them garden plots and
trying to make them permanent employees by offering them certain
advantages. In many cases, however, the employer maintains a company
store and requires his employees to purchase all their provisions from
the store, thus making a double profit from them, and frequently
charging them higher prices than they would have to pay elsewhere. In
other cases the employer guarantees the credit of his workmen at a given
local store, and on pay day he turns over to the local storekeeper the
amount due the workmen and the storekeeper deducts from this the amount
which is owing him for provisions and hands over to the workmen what may
be left. As the average countryman has little idea of business and is
lacking in knowledge of how to keep accurate accounts, and, moreover,
since a credit system always tends to extravagance, it frequently
happens that the workman is never entirely out of debt. There is a law
approved in 1908 which makes it unlawful "for any corporation, company,
firm or person engaged in any trade or business, whether directly or
indirectly, to issue, sell, give or deliver to any person employed by
such corporation, company, firm or person, payments of wages to such
laborers, or as an advance for labor not due, in any script, token,
draft, check or other evidence of indebtedness payable or redeemable
otherwise than in lawful money." Section 2 of the same law provides that
"if any corporation, company, firm or person shall coerce or compel or
attempt to coerce or compel an employee to purchase goods or supplies in
payment of wages due him from any corporation, company, firm or person,
such said named corporation, company, firm or person shall be guilty of
a misdemeanor." In this way attempts have been made to protect the
laborer from exploitation, but violations of the law are not uncommon.

There is need for legislation to provide opportunity for the man of
small means to purchase sufficient land to establish a home. In Porto
Rico there are about 121,346 acres of government lands located in
various parts of the Island which might well be opened to settlement at
a nominal price. Legislation should also be passed which would provide
that private land which is not used for produce for a given term of
years might be opened to settlement and sold to people who would occupy
it and use it for production. There are many acres of private land in
Porto Rico which are not used at all and have not been used for years.
The accumulation of land by an individual or a corporation for purposes
of speculation or for purposes other than cultivation and use for the
production of crops should be discouraged, because the limited amount of
land in the Island does not permit such accumulation except at the
expense of the poorer class of people. There is at present a law
preventing the accumulation of more than 500 acres of land by any
company or corporation, but no penalty has been provided for the
violation of this law, and it is practically useless as it stands at

In addition to providing means by which people would be encouraged to
own and manage small farms, coöperative organizations for providing a
market for the products of these farms should be established.
Undoubtedly, the government should start such a movement. The spirit of
coöperation is not strong in Porto Rico at the present time, and the
small farm holder finds himself at a disadvantage when he has to compete
with the larger producer and when he is obliged to find a market for his
goods. Some such system as exists in Denmark, where the farmers of a
community have joined themselves into coöperative associations for
selling their products and the purchase of necessary supplies, might
very well be introduced into Porto Rico. This would tend not only to
improve the economic situation by bringing better prices and a steady
market for the farm products, and by making possible the purchase of
necessary supplies in larger quantities, but it would also help to
encourage a sense of unity and mutual confidence among the people of a
given community, which would be of immense value in raising the standard
of citizenship. Community pride and a definite desire for improvement
would necessarily follow such a movement.

Farming is one of the few occupations which is not influenced by
seasons, so far as unemployment is concerned. Practically all of the
trades have their busy seasons and their idle seasons, and any movement
which would tend to make employment more permanent by providing small
farms for a larger number of people, would be of immense benefit to the
Island as a whole. The Bureau of Labor of Porto Rico in an investigation
which covered the last five months of the year 1913, found that of the
total number of union men reported, 27 per cent were unemployed during
the month of August, 26 per cent during September, 38 per cent during
October, 34 per cent during November, and 46 per cent during December.
The men reporting were engaged in various occupations. It was estimated
that 28 per cent of all the laborers who reported were unemployed on
account of lack of work and not on account of not desiring work. The
different trades represented are as follows: among the dock laborers 62
per cent were unemployed, 56 per cent of the carpenters, 47 per cent of
the agricultural laborers, 23 per cent of the cigar makers, and 10 per
cent of the typesetters reported that they could not find employment.
Thus it will be seen that when the individual workman is at the mercy of
the employer, he has no independent status such as he would have were he
the owner of even a very modest piece of property, and it is inevitable
that he will find employment only part of the year. Part time
employment tends to low standards of living, because during the period
of reduced financial income the standards of living are lowered, and
when it is found that the family can exist on the reduced income there
is little inducement for seeking work since the desire for economy and
saving is not greatly developed among the working classes of Porto Rico.

We find a gradual lowering of the moral standard as the necessary
accompaniment of low standards of living, and if continued long enough,
this low moral standard gradually leads to moral and social
degeneration. The necessary steps should be taken by the legislature to
provide for the relief of the landless and unemployed classes, as
otherwise these people will constitute a serious handicap for the
economic and social development of a competent body of citizens.


THE meaning of the word poverty is relative and depends upon the class
of people to whom the word is applied. Poverty, technically, is the lack
of an income sufficient to maintain the individual as the society in
which he lives demands that he should live. Thus a wealthy man may live
in relative poverty if he is in a circle of acquaintances who are much
more wealthy than he is. The amount of income necessary to keep one from
being classed in the poverty-stricken group decreases with the
simplicity of individual, family, and community life. The amount of
property necessary to keep one from poverty in the country is not as
great as the amount of property necessary to keep one from poverty in
the cities, due to the fact that the standards of living in the country
are much simpler and require less expenditure of money to conform to the
social standards. Pauperism is not the same as poverty. Poverty may be
only temporary, depending upon unfavorable conditions which have reduced
the income of the family, such as sickness, accident, lack of
employment, or other factors beyond the control of the individual.
Poverty does not necessarily involve any moral degeneration, while the
pauper is entirely dependent on society and is a moral degenerate.
Poverty, in general, however, is a dangerous condition, because it
generally leads to pauperism. Poverty perpetuates itself if not taken
care of; and if the poor man should give up the struggle against
poverty, the general effect on society would be injurious, because,
through contact, standards of living, social disease, and bad morals are

The competition between capital and labor, which often leads to poverty,
is not fair if it is limited to the individual members of society. As
the individual capitalist has more influence than the individual
laborer, labor must be organized in order to equalize the situation. The
competitive process between capital and labor, and between industrial
organizations, should be controlled so that people should not be
compelled to compete on an unfair basis.

The existing conditions in any community are largely responsible for
poverty and often for pauperism. They are especially responsible for the
attitude of the individual in regard to poverty as to whether he will
make a fight to gain a place in society above the poverty-stricken
class, or whether he simply resigns himself to his fate and continues to
live in a poverty-stricken condition. In this situation, the well-to-do
class is more responsible for poverty than any other class, because they
have the most power, both legislative and moral, and they must assume
for this reason a greater share of responsibility regarding the
conditions in any given community. Poverty can be alleviated, but
probably not entirely eliminated, and some of the means of combating
poverty are the following:

First.--Education. By this means the efficiency of the individual in
adjusting himself to trade environment is increased.

Second.--The self-support of weaker classes through voluntary
associations among themselves, such as labor movements.

Third.--The proper kind of legal protection, such as factory, and woman
and child labor laws, safeguards in factory work, the minimum wage, and
accident laws.

Fourth.--Rational charity, by which cases of unusual necessity can be
cared for. This charity should act as a temporary agency and should not
become permanent, as in that case it tends to pauperism.

Fifth.--Eugenics, by which the physically and mentally unfit, who
contribute largely to the pauper class, may be eliminated from society
and prevented from propagating a second generation.

Modern charity is more democratic than older charity, and in its
workings material aid is made subordinate to moral aid. It is optimistic
and believes that radical improvements in social conditions are
possible. It believes that the family should always be a self-supporting
group, that charity should try to make the poverty-stricken family
self-supporting, and that the family should be kept together.

One of the improvements in modern charity is what is known as organized
charity, which is a sort of clearing house for the charities of a
community. Organized charity does not extend material aid so much as it
attempts to find work for needy individuals and thus do away with
poverty by putting the family on a self-supporting basis. Organized
charity would do away with the begging pauper and require him to
present his case at the headquarters of the society, where an
investigation of the necessities of his particular case could be made
and an effort to find suitable employment for him undertaken. The
individual who wished to contribute to charity would contribute to the
central organization instead of to the wandering beggar. This would have
two distinct benefits to society, as it would prevent the disagreeable
sights often encountered where begging is allowed in public, and it
would prevent the individual member of society from being imposed upon
by a beggar who might be in sufficiently good physical condition to
undertake work which would bring in enough to maintain himself and his

The question of organized charity in Porto Rico has been suggested at
different times, but it has never met with any great popular response,
due to the customs and traditions of a charity-giving people. The Island
to-day has a large number of paupers who are entirely dependent upon the
charity which they receive through begging, and the custom of giving in
response to the requests of these beggars is so widespread, that at the
present time organized charity would have a most difficult field of work
to undertake.

The Island of Porto Rico is prosperous. In the last fiscal year there
was a surplus of about $15,000,000 of exports over the imports into the
Island; but the distribution of wealth in Porto Rico is not equalized.
It has been estimated that the wealth of the Island is in the hands of
about 15 per cent of the population, and that the remaining 85 per cent
are practically dependent upon uncertain labor and wage conditions for
their maintenance. The per capita wealth of a country determines to a
great degree the financial situation as far as the average individual is
concerned. From the following list of per capita wealth in some of the
leading countries, it will be possible to estimate how the average Porto
Rican compares with the average citizen of other countries in this
regard. The following list is based on statistics of 1909:

  Great Britain      per capita wealth    $1,442
  France              "    "      "        1,257
  Australia           "    "      "        1,228
  United States       "    "      "        1,123
  Denmark             "    "      "        1,104
  Canada              "    "      "          949
  Belgium             "    "      "          734
  Germany             "    "      "          707
  Spain               "    "      "          548
  Austria Hungary     "    "      "          499
  Greece              "    "      "          485
  Italy               "    "      "          485
  Portugal            "    "      "          417
  Russia              "    "      "          296
  Porto Rico          "    "      "          182

From the above table it will be seen that the average individual in
Porto Rico is comparatively poor.

The economic situation in Porto Rico is giving rise to the formation of
classes based on wealth. With the introduction of available markets and
modern methods of commerce and industry which followed the American
occupation, the land values rapidly increased. The small landholder,
seeing the increase in price which came about and believing that it was
to his best advantage to sell his land, disposed of it to the
representatives of large landholding concerns for what, to him, was a
fabulous price. As soon as the money from this sale was expended, the
original landholder found himself absolutely dependent upon the mercy of
a wage-paying employer. In this way a great part of small landholdings
passed into the hands of representatives of large landholdings and
caused the formation of the two groups, the capitalistic group, which is
limited to a comparatively small number of people, and the wage-earning
group, which comprises probably 90 per cent of the population of Porto
Rico. As a result we lack in Porto Rico the great middle class of
financially independent farmers which constitutes the strength of the
United States and the more prosperous European countries. A serious and
systematic effort to build up a prosperous and independent middle class,
either by encouraging small-farm or other industries, is necessary if
the majority of the people are to attain the advantages which they
should enjoy, and if the social and economic status of the Island is to
be made equitable and stable.

The reduced wage system and the absolute dependence of the wage-earning
group has given rise to a great many labor disturbances within the last
few years. These labor disturbances have included both city and country
groups and have in nearly all cases been caused by an effort to better
the working conditions and to secure an increase of wages. In the great
majority of the cases there is no doubt but that the laborers were
justified in asking for better conditions than those which actually
existed. That the disturbances sometimes ended in riots and led to the
destruction of property is the fault of the educational condition of the
people, who are easily excited and led to believe that only by the use
of violence can they secure the things which they demand.

The relation between poverty and health and poverty and morals is very
close. The poverty-stricken family cannot be led to take any great
amount of interest in society or health betterment until means have been
produced by which the economic situation of the family group can be
bettered. The expense of living uses up the daily wage of the ordinary
unskilled laborer in Porto Rico, who averages fifty or sixty cents per
day for the time that the weather and his physical condition permit him
to work. There is also a close relation between sickness and poverty,
the average countryman of Porto Rico being only partly as efficient a
worker as he should be, due to physical weakness caused by anemia or
malaria. Poverty is closely related to degeneration and crime,
especially when it descends into pauperism and absolute dependence upon

The climate and geographical conditions of Porto Rico have never
provided the laborer with any incentive to economize, inasmuch as he has
no need for providing against a period of cold, and Nature produces some
form of plant or vegetable food throughout the entire year. Clothing and
lodging may be of the simplest and still prevent much suffering under
such conditions, and with physical weakness caused by disease, the
tendency is to live for the present, and to take little care for the
future through a system of saving and economy. The average manual
laborer saves nothing and makes little effort to accumulate property.
Incentive must be provided through education which will accustom the
countryman to the idea of accumulation of property in a small way, so
that dependence upon charity will not be necessary in the case of a
financial or economic crisis. That there is a movement toward saving is
evident from the fact that on June 30, 1915, there were savings accounts
to the amount of $1,909,969.34 in the various banks in the Island. This,
however, is a comparatively small amount, and the younger generation
should be given definite instruction and incentives along the line of
savings. The introduction of the Postal Savings Bank has been of great
value in this respect, and the school savings banks have also done their
share in inculcating the principles of economy.


THE Island of Porto Rico is more free from disease than the average
tropical or semi-tropical country, due to the active efforts of the
medical profession and of the special commissions and departments
created for the elimination of disease within the last few years.
Nevertheless, a great deal of sickness which might be avoided, part of
which is responsible for death, and part of which merely incapacitates
the sufferers or renders them less useful citizens, is to be found. The
elimination of such diseases as smallpox and yellow fever, which
formerly were responsible for a great number of deaths and which
descended upon the Island as epidemics with considerable regularity, has
been accomplished, and if similar care were taken in the case of less
dreaded diseases, there is reason to believe that they could also be
wiped out of existence in the Island.

For the year 1915-16 there was a total of 26,572 deaths in Porto Rico.
Most of these deaths were from diseases classified as transmissible,
and, consequently, from diseases which could be prevented by complete
quarantine. Following is a list of the number of deaths from the
diseases which took the heaviest toll in the Island:

  Rickets                                      1,271
  Tuberculosis (lungs)                         2,125
  Malaria                                      1,290
  Typhoid fever                                   94
  Whooping cough                                 167
  Tetanus                                        109
  Cancer                                         365
  Meningitis                                     344
  Epilepsy                                        57
  Acute bronchitis                             1,015
  Chronic bronchitis                             309
  Bronco-pneumonia                               822
  Pneumonia                                      569
  Diarrhea and enteritis under two years       3,485
  Diarrhea and enteritis two years and over      870
  Infantile tetanus                              729
  Lack of care in infancy                        117
  Congenital debility in children              1,145
  Uncinariasis                                   479
  Smallpox                                         9
  Diphtheria                                      26

The two diseases which are of most vital importance to the people of
Porto Rico at present are undoubtedly tuberculosis and anemia. The
ravages of tuberculosis are more noticeable in the cities, and it has
been stated that in 1912, on one street in San Juan, 12 out of every 100
residents died of this disease. Anemia is prevalent throughout the
Island, but is more noticeable in the country districts than in the
cities, and while the death rate for anemia is not so high as the death
rate of some other diseases, yet by reason of weakening the vitality of
the sufferers it tends to offer a fertile spot for the incubation of
germs of other diseases, and the working and producing power of the
individual is lessened with the acuteness of the disease.

It has been claimed that anemia was introduced into Porto Rico by the
negroes who were brought here as slaves in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, and the identity of the disease with the anemia existing in
about 20 per cent of all the negroes of the Gold Coast has been
determined. The disease was for a long time limited to the coast land
and was propagated on the sugar plantations, but after the introduction
of coffee, which has come to be the chief product of the mountain
regions, the disease was propagated throughout the entire Island.

This disease has left its trace among the country people and they have
been accused of laziness and idleness when it is probable that the cause
of the apparent disinclination for work is due to the weakened physical
condition which is a result of the anemia. In this connection, Drs.
Gutierrez and Ashford in their work on _Uncinariasis in Porto Rico_
quote Col. George D. Flinter, an Englishman in the service of Spain, who
published in 1834 "An account of Porto Rico," as follows:

"The common white people, or lowest class (called _jíbaros_), swing in
their hammocks all day long, smoking cigars and scraping their native
guitars.... Most of these colonists are inconceivably lazy and
indifferent. Lying back in their hammocks, the entire day is passed
praying or smoking. Their children, isolated from the cities, without
education, live in social equality with the young negroes of both sexes,
acquiring perverted customs, only to later become cruel with their

Commenting on this statement, Drs. Gutierrez and Ashford speak as

"What if these people were merely innocent victims of a disease, modern
only in name? What if the brand placed by the Spaniard, the Englishman,
and the Frenchman in olden times upon the _jíbaro_ of Porto Rico were a
bitter injustice? The early reports savor strongly of those touristic
impressions of the Island which from time to time crop out in the press
of modern America, in which 'laziness and worthlessness' of the
'natives' are to be inferred, if, indeed, these very words are not
employed to describe a sick workingman, with only half of the blood he
should have in his body."

"True, Col. Flinter, Field Marshall Count O'Reilly, and the rest of the
long list of early 'observers' did not know what uncinariasis was. But
is it necessary that we have a record of microscopic examinations of the
feces of the people they describe to realize what can be read between
the lines? Convicts, adventurers, and gypsies may have formed part of
the element that colonized Porto Rico, but we cannot believe that these
were all, nor that their descendants were 'lazy' and 'worthless.'

"We cannot believe that vicious idleness comes natural to the Spanish
colonist, even in the Tropics, for the very reason that we have seen
these descendants at their very worst, after the neglect of four
centuries by their mother country, and after the laborious increase of
an anemic population in the face of a deadly disease, whose nature was
neither known nor studied, work from sunrise to sunset and seek medical
attention, not because they felt sick, but because they could no longer

"We strongly feel that these writers have unconsciously described
uncinariasis. Are the Spanish people considered 'lazy' by those who know
them? Were those Spaniards who conquered Mexico, Peru, and all South
America, who formed so formidable a power in the Middle Ages, a lazy

"Is it 'laziness' or disease that is this very day attracting the
attention of the United States to the descendant of the pure-blooded
English stock in the Southern Appalachian Range, in the mountains of
Carolina and Tennessee, the section of our country where the greatest
predominance of 'pure American blood' occurs, despised by the negro who
calls him 'poor white trash'?"

During the year 1914-15 there were 6,644 deaths of children under two
years of age, which constituted 28.8 per cent of the total mortality of
the Island. Approximately 14 out of every 100 children born, died in
infancy, and the death rate for the total population was 5.55 per cent
for children under one year of age, and 7.71 per cent for children under
two years of age. Diarrhea and enteritis were responsible for 33.8 per
cent of infant mortality; congenital debility for 13.14 per cent;
infantile tetanus for 10.32; while disease of the respiratory organs
caused 16.17 per cent of the infant mortality.

It has never been definitely determined just what losses, from the point
of view of days of labor, or from the point of view of vitality of the
laborer, have been caused by malaria. Mr. D. L. Van Dine, in an article
in the _Southern Medical Journal_ for March, 1915, gives the result of
some of his investigations among the laboring class in Louisiana. In
this study, which was made on one of the large plantations and which
covered 74 tenant families with a total of 299 individuals, he shows the
losses which occurred from May to October 15, 1914. There were 970 days
of actual illness of such a nature that the illness was reported to the
physician. Forty-eight out of the seventy-four families were reported to
the doctor for malaria. According to Mr. Van Dine, this does not take
into consideration mild attacks of malaria which were not reported to
the physician, especially in the cases of children. He has estimated
that there were at least 487 days lost in cases which were not reported
to the doctor. He also estimates that there was a loss of 385 days on
the part of the adults who assisted in caring for the malaria patients.
It is estimated that there was a loss in days of labor equal to nearly
six days and a half for each case of malaria. It will easily be seen
that this may be a serious loss of time as far as the production of
crops is concerned, and even thus it does not fairly represent the loss,
as it does not take into consideration the weakened energy of the man
just before or just after the malarial attack.

Undoubtedly, there is as great a loss in Porto Rico from malaria as is
indicated in the statements just made. It has been reported that in some
sections of the Island, 85 per cent of the people were found to have
malaria germs in their blood. Between the two diseases of malaria and
anemia, there is no doubt that the physical condition of the Porto Rican
countrymen is gradually debilitated.

Since the American occupation, stress has been laid upon the attempts to
eliminate anemia, and this work has received special attention since
1906. During the year 1914-15 there were 32,278 new cases of anemia
treated in different parts of the Island, and 15,497 cases were
discharged as cured.

Undoubtedly a great deal of the illness in Porto Rico is the result of
improper food, or food prepared in an improper manner. Malnutrition
among children is frequent and leads to such diseases as rickets, which
we find has an exceptionally high death rate. In the recent measurements
given at the University among university students, it has been found
that there was an average depth of chest of nearly half an inch more
than is found in the American boy or girl of the same age, and this has
been considered as an indication of malnutrition and general softening
of the bones in early childhood.

A hemoglobin test which was given to the students of the University this
year showed that the average among the men was 80.04 per cent, and only
77.6 per cent among the women. The average for Porto Rico should not
fall below 85 per cent, and the anemic conditions indicated by the low
average is an indication that the disease is to be found not only among
the country people, but also among people of the best conditions of

It will be impossible to settle the economic and social problems of
Porto Rico until the question of personal health has been more nearly
solved than it is to-day. With a large proportion of the country people
sick from anemia and malaria, and with tuberculosis as prevalent as it
is at the present time, the weakened vitality will not permit strenuous
or continued work sufficient to improve economic conditions to any great
extent. Social conditions, depending as they do upon the economic
situation, must also be slow of improvement, and the most important work
facing the Government of Porto Rico at present is the elimination of
such diseases as impair the physical condition of the people and thus
interfere with economic and social progress.


GENERALLY speaking, criminals may be divided into three classes: first,
those who direct crime but who take no active part in the commission of
the crime themselves; second, those who commit crimes which require a
considerable amount of personal courage; third, those who commit crimes
which do not necessarily involve any great amount of personal courage.
There might be added a fourth class, which would consist of those who
commit crime through ignorance of the law or carelessness in informing
themselves of exact legal measures and in heeding this knowledge when
once obtained. During the year 1915-16 there was a total of 53,006
arrests in the Island of Porto Rico. Of this number, nearly 47,000 were
men and the rest were women. On the basis of a population of 1,200,000,
this would give one arrest for every 22 persons in the Island. Of this
total number of arrests, however, only 438 were cases of felony. There
were a great many arrests for the infraction of municipal
ordinances,--something over 11,000 in all,--and more than 8,000 arrests
for disturbance of the peace. Over 9,000 were for gambling, and over
2,000 for petty larceny; about 5,000 arrests were for infraction of the
sanitary laws, and nearly 2,000 arrests were for infraction of road
laws. This shows that the greater number of arrests was for
comparatively unimportant crimes; by unimportant meaning, of course,
those crimes which do not directly involve the loss of life or of any
great amount of property. The felonies committed during the year were as

  Murders                                           41
  Homicides                                         26
  Attempt at murder                                 30
  Robbery                                            5
  Rape                                              15
  Seduction                                         24
  Crime against nature                               3
  Arson                                              5
  Burglary                                         148
  Forgery                                            6
  Counterfeiting                                     1
  Grand larceny                                     10
  Cattle stealing                                   25
  Smuggling                                          5
  Extortion                                          2
  Crime against the public health and security      55
  Mayhem                                            11
  Violation of postal laws                           5
  Violation of graves                                1
  Conspiracy                                         8
  Falsification                                      7

giving a total of 438, which includes not only those sentenced but also
those indicted and acquitted. From this table it will be seen that a
relatively small number of the actual felonies committed are felonies
involving loss of life or an attempt against life. In support of this
table, and in proof of the fact that crimes of violence are relatively
few in Porto Rico, the following table is given, which is a record of
the convictions of the district courts of the Island of Porto Rico in
criminal cases, for the years 1913-14 and 1914-15, and of the convicts
in the penitentiary June 30, 1915:

                       Number of      Percentage   In peni-   Per cent
                      convictions     of crimes    tentiary   in prison

                      1913-  1914-   1913-  1914-
                       14     15      14     15
  Violation of laws
    enacted in
    exercise of
    police powers      220    842    .23    .45      142        .10
  Against persons      286    432    .30    .23      371        .25
  Against property     329    312    .34    .17      779        .53
  Against the
    administration of
    public justice      29    142    .03    .08       21        .01
  Against decency       40     51    .04    .03       97        .06
  Against good morals   36     35    .04    .02       20        .01
  Against reputation     9     16    .01    .01      ...        ...
  Unclassified          10      7    .01    .01       38        .03
                       ---  -----                   -----
      Totals           959  1,837                   1,468

From the above table it will be seen that crimes against persons
constitute 23 to 30 per cent of the crimes committed. Of the total
number of convicts in the penitentiary for the commission of crime, 25
per cent, during the year 1914-15, were there for crimes against
persons. Thus we may definitely state that about 25 per cent of the
crimes carried to the district courts of Porto Rico are those which
involve attempts against the life or well-being of another person. It
will be noticed from the above table that with few exceptions the
percentages of crimes for the two years are very nearly equal. In
1913-14, 34 per cent of the crimes were against property, which was not
strange when we consider that this was a year of financial crisis, due
to the sugar situation. In the same year 23 per cent of the crimes were
in violation of laws enacted in exercise of police powers. These crimes
included breach of the peace.

In the following year, 1914-15, when we had about 17,000 laborers
engaged in strikes throughout the Island, and when in addition to this
there was a general Insular election, we find that the number of crimes
against property dropped to 17 per cent, whereas the number of crimes in
violation of laws enacted in exercise of police powers rose from 23 per
cent to 45 per cent. This would tend to prove that the average
lawbreaker in Porto Rico is easily influenced by economic circumstances
and by social surroundings, and that at such a period as that of strikes
or elections criminal tendencies take the direction of breach of the
peace and violation of municipal ordinances, rather than such crimes as
arson, burglary, embezzlement, or forgery.

The influence of the election year is also noticeable in the group of
crimes prejudicial to the administration of public justice, which
includes contempt of court, bribery, and perjury. During the year
1913-14, 3 per cent of the convictions fell under this head, while
during the year 1914-15, the amount was 8 per cent. It will be noticed
that of the prisoners in the penitentiary the percentage of those
convicted for violation of laws enacted in exercise of police power is
only 10 per cent, much less than the percentage of those convicted in
the district courts. This, of course, is accounted for by the fact that
the great majority of violations of these laws are punishable by fines
rather than by imprisonment. In the same way, the percentage of
prisoners for crimes against property is much larger than the percentage
of convictions in the district courts for this crime, due, of course, to
the fact that these crimes are more frequently punished by a prison
sentence than by a fine, thus giving an accumulation from year to year
of convicts, which overbalances the per cent of the court convictions
for any single year.

According to the report of the Insular Chief of Police, the town which
had the greatest number of arrests, in proportion to its population, for
the year 1915-16, was Arroyo, where there was one arrest for every 8.47
persons. This was followed by Salinas, with one arrest for every 8.82
persons. The town with the best record was Las Marías, where there was
one arrest for every 162.03 persons. On the basis of the records of the
municipal courts for the three years of 1912-13, 1913-14, and 1914-15,
the judicial districts stand in the following relation as far as the
number of criminal cases presented during that time is concerned. The
table given shows one criminal case presented every three years for the
number of inhabitants indicated in each judicial district.

  San Juan,      one case for every 17.79 persons
  Rio Piedras     "    "   "    "   18.42    "
  Patillas        "    "   "    "   19.94    "
  Vieques         "    "   "    "   19.98    "
  Salinas         "    "   "    "   23.34    "
  Guayama         "    "   "    "   24.62    "
  Yauco           "    "   "    "   24.14    "
  Mayaguez        "    "   "    "   27.50    "
  Vega Baja       "    "   "    "   28.74    "
  Humacao         "    "   "    "   27.31    "
  San Lorenzo     "    "   "    "   30.66    "
  Ciales          "    "   "    "   31.07    "
  Fajardo         "    "   "    "   31.40    "
  Juana Diaz      "    "   "    "   33.00    "
  Cáguas          "    "   "    "   33.01    "
  Yabucoa         "    "   "    "   33.24    "
  Añasco          "    "   "    "   36.29    "
  Ponce           "    "   "    "   36.92    "
  Manatí          "    "   "    "   37.89    "
  Arecibo         "    "   "    "   38.23    "
  Cayey           "    "   "    "   38.29    "
  Lares           "    "   "    "   40.83    "
  Rio Grande      "    "   "    "   40.90    "
  Barros          "    "   "    "   41.09    "
  Bayamón         "    "   "    "   43.87    "
  San Germán      "    "   "    "   44.70    "
  Adjuntas        "    "   "    "   44.97    "
  Coamo           "    "   "    "   45.19    "
  Camuy           "    "   "    "   47.13    "
  San Sebastián   "    "   "    "   48.55    "
  Aguadilla       "    "   "    "   50.22    "
  Utuado          "    "   "    "   54.61    "
  Carolina        "    "   "    "   57.63    "
  Cabo Rojo       "    "   "    "   64.99    "

The great proportion of crime in San Juan, as compared with the rest of
the Island, is of course largely due to social conditions, inasmuch as
it is the largest city in the Island and to a great extent the resort of
undesirable characters for this reason. In the second place, as a coast
town and the most important shipping and commercial center, it has a
more or less shifting population, and a population composed to a great
extent of an uneducated type among the working classes. Every seaport
town offers opportunities for criminal classes which inland towns do not
possess. The second town in the list, Rio Piedras, is the natural outlet
between San Juan and the rest of the Island, which undoubtedly accounts
for its large percentage of crime. The rest of the towns where crime is
found in large proportion will be discovered to have a large floating
population, people who are day laborers and who have no particular
interest in the community, except as it provides them with an
opportunity for earning daily wages. This class of population is always
unfavorable to a community and is always to be found where large
industries exist which employ a great number of men; and this is
especially true when little attempt is made on the part of the employer
to render the permanence of the job desirable by furnishing
well-provided living facilities for the employee. It is noticeable that
in Cabo Rojo, where the percentage of criminal cases is lowest, the
population depends chiefly upon the hat-making industry for its support.
This is added proof of the value of small industries from the point of
view of community welfare.

It is noteworthy that there was an immense increase in the number of
crimes committed in the following districts: Ciales, where the number of
cases increased from 431 in 1912 to 754 in 1915; Lares, where the
increase was from 352 to 853; Vieques, where the increase was from 341
to 684; Yabucoa, where the increase was from 589 to 831; Yauco, where
the increase was from 867 to 1,490. In the rest of the districts the
number of crimes did not vary greatly from year to year, even decreasing
in the case of Rio Piedras from 1,101 in 1912 to 911 in 1915. Of course,
the difference in crime percentage might depend upon the efficiency of
the police force or upon the severity of the Municipal Judge, but
undoubtedly it will be found more often to depend upon local conditions
such as strikes, or the introduction of large numbers of workingmen from
another district to take part in agricultural or industrial work. The
change of location and the resulting necessity of accommodation to local
surroundings is apt to be dangerous to the morals of the individual.

The great majority of the arrests were for crimes which would be termed
city crimes. The average countryman of Porto Rico is a man who has a
great deal of respect for the law and is inclined to obey it unless led
into trouble in a moment of passion or while under the influence of
alcoholic drinks. Throughout the country districts premeditated crime is
rare, and from the standpoint of improvement of the community, the
cities and large towns should be the chief points of attack. A great
deal of carelessness exists as to complying with local laws and
municipal ordinances, and it is estimated that on June 30, 1915, there
were confined in the Insular jails and detention houses, prisoners in
the relation of one to every 7.17 inhabitants of the Island. The chief
work of the schools along the line of prevention of crime should be the
explanation of laws, both Insular and municipal, and the explanation of
the reasons for such laws, in order that the individual may be led by
his own volition to avoid lawbreaking. Parents should also be impressed
with the necessity of inculcating in their children a respect for
constituted authority and the necessary obedience to it in order that as
the children develop into men and women they may have the proper respect
for the laws and those who have been appointed to enforce them.


IT is unnecessary to say anything about the evil effects of the use of
alcoholic drinks, whether it be from the physical, moral, or economic
point of view. The recent agitation in favor of the prohibition of the
manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in Porto Rico, however, has
caused more discussion regarding the situation here than has ever before
been the case, and a brief statement of facts may not be unwarranted.

The Porto Ricans are not given to the overconsumption of alcoholic
drinks. They are not heavy drinkers, and drunkenness is not at all
common. Probably every village has its unfortunate inhabitants, few in
number, who live usually under the influence of intoxicants. But the
great majority of the people are not given to the excessive use of
alcohol. The use of wines is common, a custom characteristic of most
Latin peoples.

Porto Rico produces a great deal of alcohol, it being one of the
by-products of the sugar cane. Data are not available to show just how
much of the rum and alcohol produced is used in the Island, and how much
is exported, or how much is used for drinking purposes and how much for
commercial uses. During the fiscal year 1915-16, a total revenue of
$1,111,834.30 was paid to the Insular government on alcoholic liquors
manufactured in Porto Rico or imported into the Island. This gives a
per capita revenue of nearly one dollar, and this revenue was paid on
3,886,705 liters of alcoholic liquors either manufactured here or
imported--a per capita allowance of more than three liters for every
inhabitant of the Island. It is probably true that a great deal of the
alcohol manufactured in Porto Rico was exported, but even granting that
one half was not used here, the amount of one and a half liters for
every inhabitant is excessive.

The average grocery store carries a complete line of bottled drinks, and
often beer in the keg, as well. This is one of the first things which
impresses the visitor from the States when he enters a grocery store and
sees the shelves packed with all kinds of bottles. There is a constant
sale for goods of this sort, usually to the workingmen and poorer class
of people, who purchase in small quantities, a drink at a time, for
three or five cents; many of them, no doubt, attempting to keep up their
physical strength by the use of such a stimulant, since a more
noticeable stimulating effect is produced by five cents' worth of rum
than could be obtained through the consumption of five cents' worth of
food. When this custom becomes as prevalent as it is in Porto Rico, it
involves serious evil effects.

There are few drug users in the Island, and the strict enforcement of
the Harrison Drug Law will prevent drug using from becoming the menace
to health and morals to the extent that we find to be the case in many
of the cities of the United States. There is, however, a large quantity
of patent medicines used, many of which have a sufficient amount of
alcohol or narcotic drug element to render them dangerous from the point
of view of habit formation.

Many of the poorer people do not have the money to pay the fees of a
doctor and to purchase at a drug store the medicine which he prescribes.
Moreover, many medical men do not listen with as much patience as they
might, to the detailed list of complaints which the countryman has to
offer. As a consequence, the countryman buys a bottle of medicine which
has been recommended to him by a friend, or perhaps by the druggist, who
often serves as a consulting physician in the smaller towns. If the
medicine makes him feel better, he becomes a firm believer in its power
to cure. Whether the result produced is actually a bettering of his
physical condition, or merely a deadening of the nerves by means of a
narcotic, he does not stop to ask. He recommends the medicine to his
friends as a sure remedy for all their illnesses, and probably makes of
it a household remedy, to be used by all members of the family when they
feel indisposed. The author has known of many instances in which
medicine has been purchased from patent medicine firms in the States,
because of advertisements in the newspapers, and of several cases, where
the money was returned by federal authorities with the statement that
the company addressed had been closed by the post office authorities
because it was found that their claims were not legitimate and that
their medicines were valueless. The average Porto Rican places a great
deal of confidence in what he reads in the newspapers, and the papers
are not as careful as they should be regarding the question of admitting
advertising matter.

There is no great amount of public opinion against the use of alcohol in
Porto Rico, and until, through the schools, the press, or some other
agency, the people as a whole can be brought to see the disadvantage of
its use, there can be but little accomplished in the direction of
temperance and prohibition. The prohibition movement in the United
States is not a matter of the moment alone, it is a movement which has
been growing for years, and at the present time seems to have the
majority of the population behind it. This is not the case in Porto
Rico, and it is doubtful whether an abrupt change, unless backed up by
strong public opinion, and the authority of the great majority of the
people, would accomplish much in the way of betterment of conditions.


ONE of the most difficult problems that faces organized society to-day
is the disposal of delinquent children, and in order to meet this
problem, the Juvenile Court system has been established in the United
States, and by a law approved March 11, 1915, the Juvenile Court system
was introduced into Porto Rico to take effect on June 1, 1915.

Up to within recent times juvenile offenders have been subjected to the
same laws and the same penalties as hardened criminals, and there is no
doubt but that a great many boys and girls who had broken some law or
local ordinance, often through carelessness or ignorance, were placed in
detention houses with older criminals and in this way became accustomed
to the criminal classes and frequently were induced to enter upon a life
of crime.

The prevailing idea of criminal law is to punish the offender for the
offense committed against the laws of the state. Modern social science
teaches that it is unfair to boys or girls of tender age to visit a
punishment of this sort upon them, especially when it may lead to a
continuance of crime, rather than to an avoidance of it in the future.
Consequently, with the introduction of the Juvenile Court system the
cases are taken out of criminal procedure and placed under the
jurisdiction of courts of equity. The trials are usually informal,
although the child has a right to a trial by jury in case he is accused
of a serious offense, and he has the right to legal counsel, if he so
desires. These rights, however, are very seldom exercised, inasmuch as
it is coming to be recognized that the judges represent an actual
attempt to do what is best for the child and do not represent in any way
the prosecuting power of the state.

The principal figure in a Juvenile Court is the judge of the court, and
wherever it is possible to do so, men especially trained in juvenile
psychology should be appointed to this office. A knowledge of children
and an understanding and appreciation of their feelings is necessary on
the part of the judge, and he should be a person of sufficiently
magnetic personality to win the sympathies of the children and to enable
him to gain their confidence. To what an extent the influence of a
single man may reach in the case of juvenile offenders and how far his
influence may prevent crime among children, is well seen in the case of
Judge Lindsey, of Denver, Colorado.

The second official in the court is the probation officer, who is under
the authority of the judge, makes the necessary investigations when
cases are reported to him, and presents the facts in the case to the
judge of the court. He also must look after the children who have passed
through the court to see that the sentences of the court are carried
out; and if the children are placed on probation under the guardianship
of relatives or friends, he must make visits sufficient in number and
often enough so that he can be sure that the best interests of the
child are being safeguarded, and if he finds the case to be otherwise,
to report the facts to the judge of the court.

As the financial situation in Porto Rico did not permit the
establishment of a completely new judicial system, it was decided to
appoint the judge of each of the seven district courts of the Island to
act as judge of the Juvenile Court. The prosecutors and municipal court
judges are also probation officers _ex officio_, and the justices of the
peace and others appointed by the district judges may be asked to serve
as special probation officers. The Juvenile Courts in Porto Rico have
original jurisdiction over juvenile offenders, and any case appealed
from the Juvenile Courts may go directly to the Supreme Court of the
Island. The courts are courts of record and the judges have authority to
set the dates and places when and where sessions of the court will be
held, to summon witnesses and compel them to appear in court. The
jurisdiction of the Juvenile Courts in Porto Rico extends to all
children under 16 years of age who are accused of any crime whatsoever,
and it also applies to all people under 21 years of age, if they have
ever been under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court before they were
16. The Juvenile Court also has jurisdiction over adults who have been
responsible for the abandonment of children or who have contributed in
any way to the delinquency of the child.

Of course, this situation is not an ideal one for the best working out
of the problems that confront a Juvenile Court system. In the first
place, it is practically impossible for men who act as criminal judges
or criminal prosecutors to adopt the attitude so necessary for the
fulfillment of the work of a juvenile court officer, as their training
has been such as to influence them to believe that the prisoner is an
offender and that violations of the law must be punished with sufficient
severity to prevent a repetition of the offense on the part of the
prisoner, and to serve as a warning for others who might be tempted to
commit the same offense. The Juvenile Court officer, on the other hand,
should regard only the best future interests of the child, and the
question with him should not be as to whether a proper punishment may be
inflicted for what the child has done, but as to how the future conduct
of the child may be bettered after a due consideration of all the
influences of heredity and environment in each particular case.

From July 1, 1915, to January 1, 1916, a total of 164 cases came before
the Juvenile Courts. Of these, three cases were girls accused of petty
larceny, and two were charged with being abandoned. The remaining 159
cases were boys. The cause given in nearly every case for the bad
conduct of the children was one of the four following:

  1. Lack of parental authority.
  2. Bad environment.
  3. Ignorance.
  4. Poverty.

Of the total number, 83 boys were accused of larceny, 25 were abandoned
children, 18 were accused of fighting, 9 were accused of gambling, 7
were accused of breach of the peace, 4 were accused of attempts at
larceny, 3 were accused of stoning buildings, and the rest were accused
of various minor offenses.

An investigation of the home conditions of these boys brings out some
pertinent facts in connection with the influence of a broken home upon
the actions of the children. Of the total number of cases presented, 21
lived with their parents, 54 lived with their mothers, 23 lived with
their fathers, and 22 lived with relatives, 13 lived with guardians, 13
had absolutely no homes and existed as best they might, with no
permanent dwelling place, while 8 lived with friends. Thus we see that
in the great majority of cases the children came from homes where they
lacked the guidance and authority of at least one parent. Only 50 of the
164 had attended school, and only 15 had succeeded in passing the third
grade in the public schools. Of the total number, 85 were illegitimate
children, and 15 did not know whether their parents were married or not.

It is estimated that the city of San Juan alone has 500 homeless
children and that there are at least 10,000 children in the Island who
have absolutely no home and who are entirely without the influence of
parental control. Doubtless, a great majority of these children are the
result of illegitimate unions. What that means to the future of Porto
Rico can very easily be imagined when we consider that they are growing
up absolutely without control and without respect for authority of any
sort. In very few cases do they attend the public schools, and they
must remain in this homeless condition, living as best they can,
stealing or begging, when honest means of obtaining food do not avail.
Thus they grow up learning the vice that can be found among the most
poverty-stricken and criminal classes with whom they associate, and
forming a group of people with criminal tendencies, and in their turn
causing to be produced another generation of children who will be
handicapped by the environment and the training which their fathers have
received. The Government should colonize these homeless children on
government lands where they may be taught a trade and where an attempt
should be made to give them some idea of what life may mean to the
educated, industrious citizen. The results would more than justify the
necessary expenditure of money.

The Juvenile Court in Porto Rico has three means at its disposal for
taking care of children that fall under its jurisdiction. It may send
them to the Reform School at Mayaguez, in case they are boys. (There is
no Reform School for girls in the Island.) It may also send them to one
of the two charity schools in existence, or it may place them under the
supervision of a friend or relative who must respond to the probation
officer for their good conduct. The Reform School at Mayaguez will
accommodate only 100 inmates, and as these are usually required to
complete a rather long term of years in the institution, the number of
vacancies occurring in the school each year is very small. The charity
schools, both for boys and girls, are also overcrowded, and there is
very little chance of the Juvenile Court being able to send any of its
cases to either of these institutions. As a result, special wards have
been prepared in the Insular penitentiary, and the most serious cases
are assigned to these wards until such a time as there is a possibility
of their being placed in the Reform School. An attempt is made to give
the inmates of these special wards industrial work and some academic
instruction, and they are kept absolutely separate from adult prisoners.

Of the 164 cases mentioned, the following disposition was made of the
children: 34 were sent to correctional institutions (most of these were
sent to the special wards in the penitentiary), 38 were placed under the
care of their mothers, 24 were placed under the care of their fathers, 9
were placed under the care of both parents, 8 under the care of friends,
12 under the care of guardians, 17 under the care of relatives, and 6
were sent to the charity schools.

The problem of juvenile offenders is more acute in Porto Rico than in
the United States, due to the fact that there are more opportunities
open in Porto Rico for juvenile offenders than are to be found, possibly
with the exception of the largest cities, in the United States. The
early physical development of the tropics adds to the difficulties of
the situation, and also the temptations that surround homeless children
even at a comparatively early age. In addition to this, we have many
instances of consensual marriages, which offer a temptation to even the
very young to lower the standards of morality and to become careless
regarding the marriage relation. The large number of poverty-stricken
and homeless undoubtedly contributes a great deal to physical as well as
mental and moral degeneration, and the combination of these factors may
perhaps account for the large number of weak-minded and insane that we
find at large in the majority of the towns of the Island. In addition,
promiscuous sexual relations undoubtedly contribute to this degeneracy,
and if active steps are not taken to prepare these homeless children for
better living and to enable them to earn an honest living, they will
serve as the propagators of another generation of equally homeless,
pauperized, and degenerate citizens.


ONE of the most perplexing problems which the Department of Education
has to face in Porto Rico is the problem of the rural schools. In
addition to a school budget too small to provide the number of rural
schools necessary for all of the children of school age, there are added
difficulties in the way of poverty and sickness among the country people
which lead to irregular attendance on the part of the children, poor
roads, and the keeping of children out of school in order to help earn
money to support the family, especially in districts where child labor
may be used profitably; and above all these difficulties is the great
difficulty of furnishing the rural schools with teachers who are
adequately trained and who have a comprehensive view of their mission as
teachers and of the duty of the school to the community in which it is

The rural school problem will never be solved until we are able to
provide teachers who are thoroughly prepared for the work which they
have to do, and who look upon this work as being as important as any
other profession. At present the rural school teachers fall into two
rather large classes: first, the young, inexperienced, and often
untrained teacher; and, second, the old, often out-of-date teacher, who
has been unable to keep step with the progress of the town schools and
has been pushed out into the country. Neither of these classes is
fitted to give the best instruction in the rural schools; neither of
them considers the position of a rural teacher as a permanent one, and
in order to accomplish his best work the rural teacher should be
expected to live in one community for a term of years so that he may
fully understand and appreciate the problems of that community and
become thoroughly acquainted with the patrons of his school.

The wages of the rural teacher should be such as will enable him to live
in comfort, and as part of his wages the Government might very well
assign him a parcel of land, together with living quarters, which would
tend to make his residence in the district more permanent and which
would enable him to carry on experimental work in agriculture at his own

There is no doubt but that the time will come when consolidated schools
will be established in each _barrio_ for the benefit of the children of
the community. In this way, better teachers, better school buildings,
better equipment, and a better arranged schedule of studies can be
provided, as an untrained teacher who works with poor facilities and who
has to handle two different groups of children in the day and who may
have six grades to teach, is working under a disadvantage which greatly
handicaps the work. This is especially true when the teacher has no
permanent interest in the rural school problem and regards his term of
office there simply as a stepping-stone to a place in the graded school
system of the town. In the annual report of the Commissioner of
Education for 1914-15 we find the following data in regard to the rural
schools of Porto Rico:

"The rural schools are located in the _barrios_ or rural subdivisions of
the municipalities. Of the 1,200,000 inhabitants which comprise the
total population of the Island, about 79 per cent live in this rural
area and about 70 per cent of them are illiterate. At the present time
there are approximately 331,233 children of school age (between 5 and 18
years) living in the barrios. Of these only 91,966 or 27 per cent were
enrolled in the rural schools at any time during the past year. This
shows a decrease from the figures reported last year, but the fact is
accounted for by an order issued from the central office prohibiting
rural teachers from enrolling more than 80 pupils. In some of the
populous barrios the teachers were enrolling 150 pupils and sometimes
more. Inasmuch as neither the material conditions of the school
buildings nor the professional equipment of the teachers justified such
a burden, it was deemed wise, even in the face of an overwhelming school
population for which no provision is made, to limit the enrollment to a
size compatible with a semblance of efficiency. The average number of
pupils belonging during the year to the rural schools was 76,341. The
average number of teachers at work in these schools was 1,243. This
figure includes a number of teachers whose salary was paid by the school
boards from their surplus funds. The corps of teachers for the entire
Island is fixed by the legislature each year when the appropriations to
pay their salaries are made, the commissioner being charged with its
distribution among the various municipalities, but the school boards
may, within certain limitations, increase the number allotted to them
provided they pay their salaries from any surplus funds at their
disposal. The average number of pupils taught by each teacher was about
63. The average daily attendance was 69,786, or 89.7 per cent, which
gives an average of about 58 pupils receiving instruction daily from
each teacher. About 59 per cent of the pupils were boys and 41 per cent
girls. The average age of all pupils in the rural schools was 10.1

"The above figures show, in a way, the magnitude of the problem to be
solved before the people of Porto Rico can assume in full the duties and
privileges of self-government. That enormous mass of illiterates, in its
primitive, uncured condition, is not safe timber to build the good ship
of state. We realize that there are serious social and economic problems
to be solved before the people of Porto Rico reach the desired goal. But
the pioneer work must be done by the rural school. Those people must be
brought to a realization of their condition and to wish to improve it.
The rural school, adapted more and more to actual conditions, is the one
agency that can bring this about. At present, we are making provision
for less than one third of the rural school population. It is as if we
had an enormous debt and our resources did not permit us to pay the
interest on it. The problem calls for heroic measures.

"Of the 1,243 teachers in charge of the rural schools during the past
year, 1,217 or 91 per cent had double enrollment, i.e., one group of 40
pupils or less in the morning for three hours, and another similar
group in the afternoon for the same period. The distribution of time
among the various subjects of the curriculum depends, of course, on
whether the school has double enrollment or not, as well as on the
number of grades grouped in any one session.

"The course of study of the rural schools extends over a period of six
years. Of the 91,966 different pupils enrolled during the year, 49.1 per
cent were found in the first grade, 25.7 per cent in the second, 15.9
per cent in the third, 8.4 per cent in the fourth, and the remaining 0.9
per cent in the fifth and sixth grades. Of the total enrollment 93.2 per
cent were on half time, the remaining 6.8 per cent receiving instruction
six hours daily.

"Any enrichment of the rural course of study has been necessarily
conditioned by the meager professional equipment of the rural teaching
force, many of whom entered the service with nothing more than a
common-school education and a few scraps of information about school
management gotten together for the examination. Up to the present the
academic requirements for admission to the examinations for the rural
license have been limited to the eighth-grade diploma or its equivalent,
and the examinations for the obtention of the license have covered the
following subjects: English, Spanish, arithmetic, history of the United
States and of Porto Rico, geography, elementary physiology and hygiene,
nature study, and methods of teaching. It has been announced already
that in all probability candidates for the rural license will have to
present four high-school credits for admission to the examinations. The
excess of teachers now obtaining and the increasing output of the Normal
School will afford opportunity for selection and will raise the standard
of efficiency of the force. At its last quarterly meeting the board of
trustees of the University of Porto Rico voted to raise the entrance
requirements of the Normal Department from four high-school credits to
eight. In view of this, the Department of Education will probably
increase the requirements for admission to the examinations for the
rural license sufficiently to bring them up to the standard established
by the board of trustees for admission to the Normal Department of the

"The rural teachers are elected by the school boards, subject to the
approval of the Commissioner of Education, who pays their salaries from
an Insular appropriation. The teachers are divided into three salary
classes, as follows: First class, $40; second class, $45; third class,
$50. All rural teachers begin at the $40 salary, and after three years
of experience pass to the $45 class and after five years to the $50
class. Last year all rural teachers received a salary of $38 only, due
to financial embarrassment.

"The rural schools were housed in 1,193 separate buildings, containing a
total of 1,250 classrooms. Of these 1,193 rural buildings, 320 are owned
by the school boards and were especially constructed for school purposes
from plans approved by the Department of Education and the sanitary
officials. Most of the rural school buildings contain but one room,
although not a few have two, three, and even four, the tendency toward
the centralized school growing steadily. In all, 24 new rural school
buildings have been erected during the year. Most of these are frame
structures, but some are built of reënforced concrete and have a very
pleasing appearance."


THE movement toward using the schoolhouse as a center for the social
activities of the community is gaining ground every year and through
this movement the school, as an organization consisting of the teacher
and pupils, is rapidly coming to have much more influence in the
community life than was formerly the case when the school was considered
as merely an organization for the teaching of academic subjects. The
need of a social center in the country districts is especially marked,
inasmuch as there is a decided tendency among the country people to
gather in small groups, based upon relationship or intimate friendship,
to the exclusion of the wider interests of the community. Little attempt
is usually made to direct in any way the outside activities or the
recreation hours of the young people and often their activities take a
direction which is distinctly unsocial.

The school in adapting itself to the community in order that it may
serve as a social center must make certain investigations, because the
need of social service and the kind of service which shall be
instituted, depends upon existing local conditions. Some of the most
necessary lines of investigation to be made by the teacher and pupils
before the most effective aid can be rendered, are those which follow:

First.--The number of farmers who own the farms upon which they live and
the number of tenant farmers.

Second.--The average size of the farms; the number of well-arranged
homes; the total number of acres devoted to each of the important crops.

Third.--The distance to the nearest market, and the number of miles of
well-kept roads.

These three points will determine largely the direction which any social
movement must take, because upon them is based the economic situation of
the community. In addition to considering the community from the
economic point of view, we may also consider the sanitary conditions
that prevail in the district, and the teacher and pupils should make a
survey of the district with the following points in mind:

First.--The sources of water supply. If water is from open wells, where
are they located, and what is the distance from barns and outhouses; are
they built in accordance with specifications from the Department of

Second.--How is garbage disposed of in the neighborhood; are common
drinking cups and the common towel prohibited in the schoolroom? Is the
school furnished with a covered water tank, and does it have facilities
for washing the hands and face? Do the people of the neighborhood know
the regulations of the Department of Sanitation in regard to sanitary
conditions; is there much preventable illness in the district, and to
what extent are patent medicines used by the patrons of the school?

Third.--Are the houses, including the schoolhouses, well ventilated and
well located as far as distance from standing water or other
mosquito-breeding places is concerned? Is the floor of the schoolhouse
swept every night, and are foot scrapers and doormats provided? Does the
teacher inspect the outhouses, and are they built according to
specifications from the Department of Sanitation?

A union of all the patrons of the district is necessary if any movement
is to be carried out with telling effect, and the teacher should find
out if there is or has been any organization of the men, women, girls,
or boys in the district of a social or civic type; has the school done
anything up to the present time to improve the social life in the
district, and has it ever encouraged local fairs or exhibits of school
or agricultural products, and has it founded boys' or girls'
agricultural or home economics clubs?

How does the religious condition affect the community, and what is the
attitude of the community toward these matters and toward social
affairs? How do the young men and young women spend their leisure time?
Has the school any magazines or farm papers in its library, and how many
homes in the district have any library, or any musical instruments?

What has been the attitude of the previous teachers in the district
toward the affairs of the community; how long has each remained in the
district? Are changes in the position of the teachers frequent, and if
so, what is the reason? Have previous teachers actually resided in the
community or have they lived in the nearest town? Have the previous
teachers been professionally trained, and have they taken any interest
in the affairs of the community outside of their regular school duties?

When the school has succeeded in getting together the information noted
in the above paragraphs, it will then be in a position to determine what
lines of social activity will be best for the particular community.

The organization of men's clubs and women's clubs for the discussion of
topics of general interest and for the purpose of arousing a feeling of
community interest should be undertaken as soon as possible, the teacher
always remembering that the management of these organizations should be
in the hands of the members who compose them, and that the teacher
should act only as an adviser in case advice may be necessary. The
people should feel that on them rests the responsibility of developing
the civic and social life of the community, and the teacher should not
allow them to shift this responsibility. The organization of boys' clubs
and girls' clubs will present no difficulties to the teacher who has
made a study of the situation and who is prepared for his work. The boys
and girls are in the most easily influenced period of their lives, and
whether or not they will develop a sense of civic and social
responsibility, depends very largely upon the attitude which their
teachers take in regard to these matters.

Rural life in any community has a tendency to be monotonous and
deadening to the finer qualities. Uninterrupted and unduly prolonged
physical labor tends to the detriment of both the physical and the
mental abilities of the individual. The isolation of the country home
tends to narrow and restrict social intercourse, and the difficulty of
travel and communication increases the monotony of country life. These
circumstances do a great deal to offset the advantage of living in the
country and have contributed a great deal to the stigma that has always
been attached to the countryman.

If there is to be any reform in this isolated social life of the
community, the reform must come about through the schools. The
Government can aid to a great extent through the provision of well-kept
roads and by the establishment of means of communication such as the
telephone and the telegraph. The man who is in touch with the large
affairs of life forgets his own petty annoyances in the contemplation of
problems of greater importance, while the man who has nothing to think
about except the annoyances of his own life tends to become
self-centered and narrow.

Rural social center work in the United States has made great progress
within the last few years and has been successful in practically all the
places where it has been tried, especially if the teacher is a person of
tact and intelligence. A great deal depends upon the attitude which the
teacher has in this work, and it is not enough that the teacher should
undertake such work as a burden added to the already overcrowded
curriculum of the day, but the teacher should enter into the movement
with a sincere desire to improve the condition of the community and
bring the patrons of the district to a higher degree of efficiency as
workmen and as citizens. In every community there are many young women
and young men who are above the average school age who are compelled to
work during the day, and who are fast becoming fixed in the monotonous
life that has surrounded the older people of the community, who might
easily be interested by the teacher and influenced through the formation
of social clubs, so that they would form the nucleus for a better coming
generation of citizens. The meetings of young people should partake of
recreation as well as of serious study, and while the avowed intention
of new clubs formed by the school should be for the purpose of bettering
the social and civic condition of the people of the community, they must
be placed in as favorable a light as possible, for it should be
remembered that people will often undertake a movement which will have
decidedly beneficial results if it is disguised under the form of
recreation, when they would hesitate to give their continued assistance
to such a movement if it partook entirely of the nature of serious

The Department of Education in the Island of Porto Rico is making a
special effort at the present time to interest the older girls and the
women of the towns in social betterment through the medium of mothers'
clubs and girls' clubs, organized under the direction of the teachers of
home economics. These clubs have been organized in practically all of
the towns of the Island and are meeting with general success. In many
cases the girls' clubs assume an aspect of economic improvement in that
they undertake the production of certain salable articles such as
embroidery or handwork, and the teacher in charge of the group provides
the market for the articles produced. Little has been done up to the
present in organizing the men and boys into social groups. Boy scout
organizations were widely established through the Island several years
ago, but on account of the lack of some individual to devote his time to
the organizing side of the movement they have decreased in number and in
influence. Anyone who is at all familiar with the social situation in
Porto Rico, especially in the rural districts, will see at once the
necessity of organizations of the kind mentioned above and will be
impressed with the possibilities for good in a community which can be
exercised by the rural school under the direction of an efficient, well
trained, enthusiastic teacher. The democratic form of government which
the Island enjoys demands the highest possible development of civic and
social ideas and obligations, and in order to fulfill its highest
mission the school should undertake such lines of work as will tend to
develop not only better educated people of academic attainments, but
also better trained citizens in the social and civic sense.


IN rural sections the school should be a factor of much more importance
than it is in the urban centers for the reason that the country people
are almost entirely shut off from other educative institutions such as
public libraries, free lectures, and association with their
fellow-citizens, privileges which the urban resident is able to use to
great advantage. To carry out effectively the mission of the rural
school in a community and to make it a center from which there may be
spread an influence for social betterment, as well as for intellectual
improvement, the teacher is the all-important factor. There are certain
duties which a teacher owes to his profession, in case he is working in
the country, which cannot be neglected if he is to obtain the results
which he should obtain. Following are some of the most important of
these duties:

First.--The teacher should visit all homes and get acquainted with the
patrons. This is important in order that he may get an insight into the
conditions under which the people are living, and that he may know the
particular difficulties of the pupils with whom he has to deal.
Moreover, acquaintance on the part of the parents with the teacher will
often aid in avoiding disciplinary difficulties, inasmuch as the parents
come to have increasing confidence in him and his work as their
acquaintance with him increases.

Second.--The teacher should study conditions from all angles so as to
adapt the school work to the needs of the community. Even in so small an
island as Porto Rico, we have distinctly different occupations centered
in different parts of the Island, and the teacher should remember that
the majority of his pupils will undoubtedly grow up to take a part in
the prevailing industry of the community in which they are born and
raised. The schedule and work of the rural school should not be an
attempt to imitate the plan of study of the urban schools, inasmuch as
the problems are entirely different, and until a teacher has convinced
himself of this fact and has made an attempt to model his work on the
needs of the community, the school will not accomplish its full mission.

Third.--The teacher should live in the district seven days in the week
during the school term. More and more the idea is becoming prevalent
that rural teachers should be provided with a house and a small plot of
ground near the school in order to become permanent residents of the
district. The average farmer is very conservative and needs visual
demonstration of the merits of new ideas before he will accept them. No
amount of theoretical teaching will improve farming conditions to any
great extent, and unless the teacher is able to become a demonstrator of
his ideas by actually putting them into practice on the plot of ground
which he himself manages, he cannot expect to influence to any great
extent the agricultural movements of the community in which he works.
The school should aim not only for the education of the children who
are actually enrolled, but also for the betterment of the agricultural
and social conditions of the community.

Fourth.--The rural teacher should be loyal to his pupils and patrons.
The teacher who feels himself an individual superior to the members of
the community whom he is serving and allows this feeling to express
itself in his attitude toward them, loses the greater part of his
influence through this action. The countryman likes to be met on equal
terms and does not enjoy a condescending attitude any more than does his
brother who lives in the town. The teacher should have in mind only the
benefits which he may bring to the community, and if he actually and
actively takes part in the social movements of the place he will come to
learn that human nature is the same in the country as in the town, and
he will be able to acquire a sincere liking for the people with whom he

Fifth.--The teacher should so conduct himself outside of the school as
to win respect for himself and for his profession. The idea that a
teacher's duty to the school ends with the closing of the actual school
day is a mistaken one. Any action on the part of the teacher outside of
his school work which would tend to lower him in the estimation of his
pupils or their parents, inevitably tends to reduce the amount of
influence which he can exert. A teacher is on duty constantly and cannot
limit his working hours or his working habits to certain defined periods
of time.

Sixth.--The teacher should stay more than one year in a district,
unless a change means decided professional and financial advancement.
Short term teachers are often of more harm than benefit to the children
of a community. The advent of a new teacher means a change in plans and
usually a change in methods of work. These changes tend to upset the
minds of the children who naturally like to follow well-defined lines of
work. The constant change of teachers also means that none of them stays
sufficiently long to learn the needs of the community and the best
method of meeting these needs. School boards should offer inducements to
rural teachers in the way of increasing the salary for increased length
of service, and thus there would be less desire on the part of the
teacher to move from one district to another.

Seventh.--The teacher should arouse an interest in the school and do his
part to convince the patrons of the need of a better school to meet the
demands of the present day. A great part of the teacher's work lies
outside of his actual teaching, and more and more we are coming to
conceive the school as a social as well as an educational institution,
and by means of parents' meetings, using the school as a social center
and making the schoolhouse a gathering place for the patrons of the
district, where they may meet and discuss the problems with which they
are confronted, the present-day teacher supplements his actual teaching
duties. There are few other ways in which the social needs of the
country people can be better met than through the rural school.
Moreover, by means of these meetings it is possible to show parents the
progress which is being made by their children in the school work and to
impress them with the necessity of regular and punctual attendance. One
of the surest ways to win the approval of men and women is by
interesting them in the progress of their children, and the wise teacher
will take advantage of every opportunity which presents itself, and go
to great lengths to make opportunities for cultivating the interest of
the parents in the school, through this means.

Eighth.--The teacher in a rural school should have as the aim of rural
education "better men, better farming, and better living." The country
teacher who appreciates and realizes this is aware of the chief factors
in the solution of the farm problem. He must also remember that he is a
public servant and that the public has a right to expect him to put his
whole soul into the welfare of the community. The schools are held to be
largely responsible for ineffective farming and the low ideals of
country life. A great many of our rural teachers are not at all in
sympathy with rural ideals and rural customs. They regard their position
as merely temporary, and express, even though it may be involuntary on
their part, the idea that the town is much preferable to the country,
and in this way inculcate in the children a distaste for the life of the
country, when it should be their duty to present the best features of
rural life in order to persuade the children to remain on the farms.

Ninth.--The teacher should be able to discriminate between essentials
and non-essentials and omit the latter, thus giving more time to the
problems of country life. He should get away from the formalism of
textbooks, using them only as tools, and adapt all his work to the needs
and interests of the community. He should not attempt to be too
scientific, but should teach in terms of child life. And even in his
intercourse with the patrons of the school he should put himself, in
manners and conversation, on terms of equality with them. The teacher
should learn to use his energy for better and more definite planning,
and in the schoolroom should do for the children fewer of those things
that may be done by the pupils themselves. There is no reason why pupils
should not be taught to study and work independently, and the school
that fulfills its highest mission trains children to become independent
workers. Especially is this true in the country, where pupils should
work as well as study and recite. Mere academic training in the rural
school will defeat the purpose of the school and will be very apt to
produce young men and young women who are dissatisfied with the
conditions under which they must live after leaving school.


WITHIN the last few years, rural education in the United States has
received a great deal of attention, and many plans have been suggested
for the betterment of rural teaching. Conferences of state and national
educators have been held for the purpose of discussing the rural school
question, and out of the mass of school movements, discussions, and
ideas which have been presented, there are some which might be made
applicable to the situation as it exists in Porto Rico.

The following ideas seem to indicate the spirit which underlies rural
education of the present day. They are the result of a conference held
in Kentucky in 1914 by people who were especially interested in rural
school problems:

First.--The greatest social need of the century is the organization and
consequent up-building of the rural life of America.

Second.--This must be the outgrowth of the self-activity of rural life

Third.--Outside forces can only assist in the work.

Fourth.--There is a need of raising the general level of living in the
country in order to keep the brightest and best people from leaving the
country in too great numbers.

Fifth.--To educate the young in the schools, to elevate their ideals, to
arouse their ambitions without raising the level of living and offering
them a broader field for the exercise of their talents, may do as much
harm as good.

Sixth.--The school is only one of the agencies for community

Seventh.--There must be coöperation among the rural life forces, all
working together for a common end.

Eighth.--The farmer, the country woman, the country teacher, the country
editor, the country doctor, and the country business man must all join
hands for better living along every line in the country.

Ninth.--The community is the proper unit for rural development.

Tenth.--The community must learn how to educate, to organize, and to
develop itself.

In attempting to carry out the ideas expressed in the statements quoted
above, emphasis has been laid upon educational rallies, school farms,
farmers' Chatauquas, and other means which have as their aim the idea of
arousing community pride and community coöperation, not only for the
benefit and betterment of the school, but also for the benefit and
betterment of the members of the community who are not of school age. A
great deal of emphasis has been laid upon rural school extension work,
that is, work carried on under the supervision of school officers but
which really devotes its main efforts to adults who are living in rural
communities. One of the most recent steps in this direction was the
passing of the bill known as the "Smith Lever Act" by the Federal
Congress in 1914, which ultimately carries with it an appropriation of
over $4,500,000 for agricultural extension and rural welfare. Under this
bill, Porto Rico receives $10,000 per year for extension work among the
farmers, the work being carried out under the supervision of the Federal
Experiment Station located at Mayaguez.

Another movement which is prominent in rural school affairs at present,
is the tendency toward a larger unit of organization for taxation and
administration. The rural schools of Porto Rico are already under the
municipal unit of school administration, which probably will not be
changed, as close supervision demands rather small units of
organization. In the report of the Commissioner of Education for 1915-16
a suggestion is made that the appropriation of money for schools
throughout the Island be determined by the school population in a given
community and not by the taxable wealth of that community. It frequently
happens that the wealthiest municipalities are the ones which are least
in need of additional school facilities, and this recommendation tends
to make the unit for school taxation and appropriation of funds an
Insular rather than a municipal unit, as we have to-day. The idea, of
course, is based upon the fact that Porto Rico is small enough so that
every citizen should be interested in the education of all the children
of the Island, and that the movements in education should be Insular in
unit rather than municipal.

Demonstration schools for rural communities have been organized with a
view to showing the people in a definite and concrete way what a school
can do for a community. These demonstration schools are usually placed
in a central location and put under the charge of the teachers of
greatest experience and ability. All of the children in the different
grades included in the rural school course have a course of study to
complete in the schoolroom, and another equally emphasized course of
study to complete in the home and on the farm.

Experiments and studies are being carried on which involve the use of
every day throughout the year. To accomplish this end, the father and
mother have become the assistant supervisors of the home work and the
farm work, and they receive the advice, the suggestion, and the
instruction of the rural supervisors of schools. While working to get
the best possible results from the efforts made, and to establish the
facts by samples, by photographs, and by financial relations of cost and
return, these undertakings are accompanied by neighborhood meetings of
many kinds which have had the effect of enlarging community interest,
community support, and community improvement. Out of these efforts have
come better social conditions, more harmonious relations, a development
of better ideals, and a higher conception of life.

These demonstration schools, in addition to being a force among the
people in the community where they are located, also serve as
educational centers which are to be visited by the other rural teachers
of the community in order that the inexperienced and untrained teacher
may receive the benefit of the teacher of more experience. In addition,
these schools also serve the purpose of experimental schools where many
ideas are worked out and put into effect, and new methods of teaching as
well as untried methods of farming are given a trial.

The rural school situation is being studied more to-day than ever
before, for it is being realized that our country schools are not
functioning to the best advantage. The social side of the task,
extension work among the patrons of the district, consolidated and more
efficient schools, and better trained teachers are only a few of the
phases of this movement toward making the rural school a real force
throughout the country. The movement is gaining ground each year, and
though there are many problems to be solved and many difficult
situations to be met, yet there is every reason to believe that out of
this mass of experiments there will evolve the rural school of the
future, which will be a more vital factor in the community than has been
the case up to the present day.


THE anthropometric examinations given in the University of Porto Rico
during the last two years have provided data from which to determine the
physical development of the Porto Rican. A total of 1,412 examinations
has been made, including 616 men and 796 women. These students ranged in
age from fifteen to thirty years.

A comparison of the physical development of American and Porto Rican
boys and girls of the same age shows that the Porto Rican surpasses the
American in nearly every point, at the ages of fifteen, sixteen, and
seventeen. At eighteen the physical development is about the same, but
from that time there seems to be little additional growth on the part of
the Porto Rican, while the American continues to develop up to and
including the twenty-second year. This seems to confirm the generally
accepted theory that a person matures earlier in the tropics than he
does in a temperate climate. That the slighter physical development is
the effect of geographic or climatic conditions, and is not entirely due
to race, is proved by the fact that measurements of Chilean boys, who
are of Spanish blood, more nearly approximate those of North American
boys than they do those of Porto Ricans. The following tables show a
comparison of the development of the Porto Rican students with the
average development of American men and women. The measurements are in
pounds and inches.


                             |Average measurements   |   Average
                             | of Porto Rican male   |measurements of
                             |students from 16 to 28 | American men
                             |   years of age        |from 17 to 30
                             |                       | years of age
  Height                     |      64.94            |    67.6
  Weight                     |     110.67            |   138.6
  Chest, transversal         |      10.26            |    10.8
  Chest, anterior-posterior  |       7.92            |     7.5
  Shoulders                  |      15.06            |    16.1
  Neck                       |      13.05            |    13.9
  Chest, contracted          |      30.63            |    33.7
  Chest, expanded            |      33.25            |    36.7
  Waist                      |      27.92            |    29.1
  Right forearm              |       9.33            |    10.4
  Left forearm               |       9.20            |    10.4
  Right arm up               |       9.61            |    11.9
  Right arm down             |       8.45            |    10.4
  Left arm up                |       9.42            |    11.8
  Left arm down              |       8.22            |    10.3
  Right thigh                |      17.97            |    20.3
  Left thigh                 |      17.83            |    20.2
  Right calf                 |      12.64            |    13.8
  Left calf                  |      12.66            |    13.8


                            | Average measurements  |      Average
                            | of Porto Rican women  |  measurements of
                            | students from 16 to   |   American women
                            |    28 years of age    |    from 17 to
                            |                       |  30 years of age
  Height                    |        61.78          |      62.9
  Weight                    |       107.82          |     116.
  Chest, transversal        |         9.35          |      10.
  Chest, anterior-posterior |         6.93          |       6.8
  Shoulders                 |        13.64          |      14.4
  Neck                      |        11.98          |      12.1
  Chest, natural            |        29.19          |      29.7
  Chest, contracted         |        28.57          |      29.6
  Chest, expanded           |        31.29          |      32.
  Waist                     |        25.14          |      24.3
  Hips                      |        33.76          |      35.7
  Right forearm             |         8.71          |       8.8
  Left forearm              |         8.61          |       8.6
  Right arm down            |         8.44          |       9.8
  Left arm down             |         8.40          |       9.7
  Right arm up              |         8.99          |      10.8
  Left arm up               |         8.82          |      10.6
  Right thigh               |        18.79          |      21.1
  Left thigh                |        18.65          |      21.
  Right calf                |        12.66          |      13.
  Left calf                 |        12.64          |      13.

If it is true that the Porto Rican reaches the height of physical
development at the age of eighteen, then we may consider that an average
of the measurements of the men and women from and after that age will
give us what is practically the representative physical development of
the Porto Rican adult. These averages are found in the following table.


  _Representative development of Porto Rican students at the University
  of Porto Rico, of more than 18 years of age._

                             |    Men   | Women
  Height                     |   65.87  |  61.83
  Weight                     |  116.21  | 107.93
  Shoulders                  |   15.39  |  13.67
  Chest, transversal         |   10.39  |   9.34
  Chest, anterior-posterior  |    8.07  |   6.98
  Neck                       |   13.32  |  12.01
  Chest, muscular            |   32.74  |  30.27
  Chest, natural             |   31.87  |  29.45
  Chest, expanded            |   33.84  |  31.30
  Chest, contracted          |   31.36  |  28.23
  Waist                      |   27.96  |  25.08
  Hips                       |   32.13  |  33.45
  Right arm down             |    8.62  |   8.49
  Right arm up               |    9.79  |   8.95
  Right forearm              |    9.53  |   8.61
  Left arm down              |    8.43  |   8.36
  Left arm up                |    9.61  |   8.83
  Left forearm               |    9.46  |   8.29
  Right thigh                |   18.38  |  18.76
  Left thigh                 |   18.15  |  18.61
  Right calf                 |   12.85  |  12.68
  Left calf                  |   12.90  |  12.64

For the purpose of comparing the Porto Rican boys with boys of Spanish
blood, but of another climate, Table IV, which shows the comparative
development of Porto Rican and Chilean boys from 16 to 20 years of age,
is given. The measurements for the Chilean boys were furnished by the
Museo Nacional of Santiago, Chili.


        Sixteen years       | Porto Rico |  Chili
  Number observed           |    16.     |  340.
  Height                    |    64.42   |   64.49
  Weight                    |   105.44   |  123.64
  Chest                     |    31.01   |   33.09
  Chest, transversal        |     9.69   |   10.34
  Chest, anterior-posterior |     7.79   |    7.66
  Waist                     |    27.28   |   25.11
                            |            |
       Seventeen years      |            |
                            |            |
  Number observed           |    75.     |  248.
  Height                    |    64.41   |   65.43
  Weight                    |   113.41   |  128.48
  Chest                     |    32.06   |   33.52
  Chest, transversal        |    10.11   |   10.72
  Chest, anterior-posterior |     7.99   |    7.97
  Waist                     |    25.05   |   25.54
                            |            |
        Eighteen years      |            |
                            |            |
  Number observed           |    92.     |  138.
  Height                    |    65.72   |   65.86
  Weight                    |   118.43   |  133.32
  Chest                     |    32.61   |   34.33
  Chest, transversal        |    10.36   |   11.04
  Chest, anterior-posterior |     8.14   |    8.09
  Waist                     |    28.08   |   26.09
                            |            |
        Nineteen years      |            |
                            |            |
  Number observed           |   107.     |   65.
  Height                    |    65.47   |   65.94
  Weight                    |   111.53   |  133.98
  Chest                     |    32.33   |   34.66
  Chest, transversal        |    10.27   |   11.35
  Chest, anterior-posterior |     8.15   |    8.17
  Waist                     |    27.15   |   26.13
                            |            |
        Twenty years        |            |
                            |            |
  Number observed           |    78.     |   18.
  Height                    |    65.91   |   66.18
  Weight                    |   113.32   |  113.52
  Chest                     |    32.36   |   34.71
  Chest, transversal        |    10.39   |   11.43
  Chest, anterior-posterior |     7.77   |    8.33
  Waist                     |    27.58   |   26.44

A study of the census of 1910 showing the distribution of the population
of Porto Rico by race and by age periods gives some interesting
information. If the situation given there is taken to be typical of
general conditions, by considering the number of children of each class
under one year of age, we find that the highest birth rate is among the
mulattoes; next in order come the native whites of native parentage,
next the blacks, and last the native whites of foreign or mixed
parentage. The actual percentage of each class under one year of age is
as follows: mulattoes, 3.9 per cent; native whites of native parentage,
3.6 per cent; blacks, 2.5 per cent; native whites of foreign or mixed
parentage, 2 per cent. The percentage of the population under five years
of age in each class tends to confirm this statement. It is as follows:
mulattoes 17.9 per cent; native whites of native parentage, 14.7 per
cent; blacks, 12.2 per cent; native whites of foreign or mixed
parentage, 9.5 per cent.

While the mulattoes have the highest birth rate, it is also true that,
as a general thing, they are the shortest lived of any of the classes
mentioned. The class which generally has greatest longevity consists of
the negroes; next in order come the native whites of mixed or foreign
parentage, then the native whites of native parentage, and last, the
mulattoes. Thus the order, as regards length of life, is nearly the
reverse of what it is as regards birth rate.

It is observed also that while native whites of foreign or mixed
parentage have a comparatively great length of life and a comparatively
low birth rate, their children, who fall in the class of native whites
of native parentage, have shorter lives and tend to produce larger
families, than did the parents. In each class the females outnumber the
males, the proportion being 100 females to 99.4 males for the total
population, which, however, includes the foreign-born whites, where the
males outnumber the females. In the classes of native-born citizens, the
difference between the numbers of the sexes is greater than the ratio
for the total population would indicate, being the greatest among the
mulattoes, where the ratio is 93.6 males for every 100 females. In each
class it is found that the women enjoy greater length of life than do
the men.

The following table shows what proportion of the total number of each
class of the population falls under the age groups designated.

  Transcriber's Note: The following abbreviations were used to keep this
  table to a reasonable width:

  M = Males
  F = Females


           |           |           |           |   Native  |
           |           |           |  Native   |   white   |
           |  Negroes  | Mulattoes |   white   | of foreign|  Foreign
           |           |           | of native |  or mixed | born white
           |           |           | parentage | parentage |
           |  M  |  F  |  M  |  F  |  M  |  F  |  M  |  F  |  M  |  F
   Under   |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
   5 years | 12.9| 11.6| 18.3| 17.4| 17.1| 16.4| 10.1|  8.9|   .8|  2.1
   5 to 24 | 42.3| 42.5| 48.2| 47.1| 46.2| 46.4| 45.6| 45.9| 18.8| 20.8
  25 to 54 | 34.4| 34.8| 29. | 30.1| 31.7| 31.5| 36.6| 35.6| 64.6| 57.2
  55 to 84 |  9.7| 10.5|  4.4|  5.3|  5. |  5. |  7.4|  9.3| 15.6| 19.2
  85 years |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  and over |   .7|   .8|   .1|   .2|   .1|   .2|   .1|   .3|   .2|   .8

It will be noticed that above the age of 55 there is a larger proportion
of women than men in each class. Judging the median age for each group
to be the year which divides the total number of that group into two
equal divisions, so far as number is concerned, we find the following
median ages: blacks, 23; mulattoes, 18; native whites of native
parentage, 20; native whites of foreign or mixed parentage, 22;
foreign-born whites, 37. These results correspond exactly with the
statements previously made regarding the longevity of each group. This
would, of course, only give the median age for each class at the time
the census was taken, in 1910, but as practically the same age
distribution is also found in the census of 1899, it may be concluded
that the results are approximately correct. This means that 50 per cent
of each group does not live beyond the age indicated, and is sometimes
known as the "mean length of life." Data for calculating the average
length of life are not available.

A comparison of the age groups in the United States and in Porto Rico
shows that the proportion in the younger ages is greater in Porto Rico
than it is in the United States.


                    | Native white |   Colored
                    | Porto| United| Porto| United
                    | Rico | States| Rico | States
  Under 5 years     | 16.5 | 13.5  | 17.1 | 12.9
   5 to 14 years    | 26.3 | 23.   | 27.1 | 24.4
  15 to 24 years    | 20.  | 20.3  | 19.8 | 21.3
  25 to 44 years    | 25.4 | 26.5  | 24.2 | 26.8
  45 to 64 years    |  9.6 | 13.   |  9.4 | 11.3
  65 years and over |  2.2 | 3.6   |  2.4 |  3.

Undoubtedly the work of the Department of Sanitation and of the
Institute of Tropical Medicine will do much to change the death rate
within the next few years, and to prolong life. We may well expect the
next census to show a much larger percentage of the population in the
higher age groups.




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