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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Infant Mortality Report - 1915

This is another picture that was used in 'Infant Mortality - Emma Duke for the Children's Bureau - 1915. For more on the results on a field study in Johnstown, Pennsylvania based on the births of one calender year CLICK HERE.
In 1911 the Federal Government commissioned a study on Infant Mortality Rates and Johnstown was the city they decided to study.
They picked this  area in part because the city had the right amount of immigrant vs native populations to go along with the mix of skilled and unskilled laborers of foreign birth scattered throughout the many ethnic neighborhoods that make up the Friendly City.
The 1910 U.S. Census lists that on average 9.9 people per dwelling, that total included family members and boarders which paid a couple of dollars per month for a room and meals. Most families would have had a very hard time making ends meet with this extra source of income.
But all that extra work fell to the woman of the house. She had it even harder in a way than her husband. Between the children, housework and meals. It was a non-stop day from the moment she got up in the morning.

On page 32 of the report is this typical entry: "at 5 o'clock in the monday evening she went to her sister's to return a washboard, having just finished the days washing. Baby born while there, sister too young to assist in any way, woman not used to a mid-wife anyway. So she cut the cord herself, washed baby at sister's home before walking back to her own home. She then cooked supper for boarders and was in bed by 8".
Times were tough. Even though Johnstown had recently installed more sewer lines to help cut diseases. Most folks simply did not have the money to pay for the hookups. Which meant most household waste including the privy (outhouse) simply drained from the home along the road into nearby creeks before heading to the river.
And for folks who lived in Morrellville. They not only had to deal with raw sewage, but acid mine drainage and the bloody waste from the numerous slaughterhouses located throughout Morrellville. Infant Mortality Rates for Morrellville alone hovered at 82.5 percent.

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