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(The exhibits referred to are as follows:)
EXHIBIT A.-ESTIMATED NUMBER OF FARMS ON WHICH FARM OPERATORS RESIDED IN 1945, CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO THE ABILITY OF THE OPERATOR TO FINANCE ACCEPTABLE HOUSING
The following classification of farms, which includes only those on which farm operators were residing in 1945, represent tentative estimates of the situation which prevailed during the last year of the war. This was a time when full employment prevailed throughout the economy and when farmers had relatively high incomes from both farm and off-farm sources.
The estimates are as follows:
Group I: Farms whose operators have cash or a basis for conventional'
3, 000, 000
1, 000, 000
1, 000, 000
5, 500, 000
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
THE FARM HOUSING PROBLEM
(This analysis of the farm housing problem was prepared by a working group of the Interbureau Committee on Postwar Programs of the Department of Agriculture for submission to the Senate Special Committee on Postwar Economic Policy and Planning, January 17, 1945.)
For decades there has been a growing realization of the importance of adequate housing to the health and the social and material well-being of people and a recognition that the public interest requires special ways and means of enabling large population groups to gain access to better living quarters. For the most part, however, inadequate housing has been associated in the public mind with cities. Little thought has been given to the rural situation. Yet the fact is that rural-farm dwellings in general are inferior to those of urban families, and the homes of hired farm workers are even less adequate than those of farm operators. TABLE I.-Percent of rural-farm and urban dwellings having selected characteristics,
1 U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census, Sixteenth Census of United States, (1940) Housing vol. II, pt. I, General Characteristics, table 8, p. 23; table 7, p. 20; table 9B, p. 36; table 7A, p. 21; table 7B, p. 22. Vol. I, Data for Small Areas, pt. I, table 5, p. 9.
CLASSIFICATION OF RURAL-FARM DWELLINGS
For the country as a whole, the houses of operator and nonoperator families living on farms may be grouped according to their size and value as reported by the census in 1940. In like manner, farms on which operator families resided in 1940 may be classified in terms of their capacity to finance and support acceptable housing. When this is done the condition of houses for each class of farms may
be described. Also, account can be taken of off-farm work as it affects the ability of farm families to finance and support acceptable dwellings. This view of housing in relation to the capacity of farm families to support acceptable dwellings from the proceeds of farm employment or a combination of farm and off-farm employment brings into clearer focus some of the practical problems which different income groups of farmers must overcome in order to secure and maintain acceptable housing.
While such a general over-all view is now possible, available information is not yet sufficient to yield a full description of the farm housing problem. The approach is helpful but much remains lacking in detail. For example, proper account of regional variations is not yet possible nor is an analysis of the effect of tenure status on the opportunity to enjoy acceptable housing. Also it is unfortunate that the information does not permit a better description of the housing of farm laborers, particularly of migratory workers. However, the information does provide a basis for partial analysis of the housing problems of nonoperator families living on farms, including among others a portion of the farm laborer families, and a somewhat more complete analysis with respect to the farmoperator group.
Using 1940 census data, farm dwellings have been classified into three groups on the basis of their size and value.1 The first group consists of units which had at least five rooms and were worth at least $1,000. It is assumed that these dwellings are acceptable, although many of them lack modern conveniences and comforts. The second group consists of units which had three or four rooms and were worth $500 or more, and all larger units if worth from $500 to $1,000. In most cases, these units need extensive repairs or remodeling. In general, three- or four-room structures are too small, particularly on farms where on the average families are larger than in cities. The third group consists of all dwellings which had only one or two rooms, and larger units worth less than $500. Usually it would be more economical to replace such structures than to enlarge or remodel them. For convenience, the first group has been designated as "acceptable," the second as "repairable," and the third as "nonrepairable." 2
There is a marked relationship between these classes of houses and the facilities which we usually expect to go with a dwelling. That is, the proportion of "acceptable" dwellings having given facilities is generally much greater than for "repairable" or "nonrepairable" dwellings and the proportion of "repairable" dwellings having these facilities is much greater as a rule than for "nonrepairable" dwellings, as indicated in table 2.
TABLE 2.-Classes of rural-farm dwellings related to specified facilities 1
1 Adapted from U. S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Census of the United States (1940), Housing, vol. III, pt. I, tables A-6 and A-7. In this adaptation it was assumed (1) that for 1- and 2-room dwellings valued at $500 or more (rental, $5 or more) the same proportion of the above facilities would be reported as for all dwellings valued at under $500; and (2) that for 3- and 4-room dwellings valued at $1,000 or more the same proportion of the above facilities would be reported as for dwellings of 3 or more rooms valued at $500 to $999 ($5 to $9 rental).
Dwellings with value or number of rooms not reported. In view of the fact that the percentages of facilities reported for unclassified dwellings are so close to the percentages for all dwellings, these unclassified dwellings may be distributed proportionately among the three classes indicated. This has been done in succeeding tables.
1 Values for tenan-occupied dwellings were calculated by assuming the rent per month to be 1 percent of the value.
While for any particular group the term may not be appropriate for every house included, it probably is suitable for the vast majority in the group. Since there may be as many houses outside a particular group, which might appropriately bear the label of the group, as houses within the group which in this way are mislabeled, the number in each group probably represents the number among the total houses included in all groups which would be properly characterized by the term.
It may be observed that rural-farm tenant dwellings were in worse condition than those of owners. For example, half of tenant-occupied dwellings as against about one-fourth of owner-occupied dwellings were classified as "nonrepairable," while only about one-sixth of tenant dwellings were classified as "acceptable" as compared with nearly half of owner houses. The same relationship holds for facilities, as indicated in table 3.
TABLE 3.-Comparison of rural farm owner-occupied and tenant-occupied dwellings,
1 Same source as table 2. Unclassified dwellings were distributed proportionately among the 3 classes of dwellings.
A dwelling unit is classified as owner-occupied if it was owned either wholly or in part by the head of the household or by some related member of his family living in the dwelling unit. All other occupied units are classified as tenant-occupied whether or not cash rent was actually paid for the living quarters. Rent-free quarters and living accommodations which were received in payment for services performed are thus included with the tenant-occupied units." 1940 Census of Housing, vol. III, pt. I, p. 4. It should also be noted that in most cases tenant farm operators and hired farm workers do not actually pay cash for living quarters, as these are usually included in the arrangements for renting the farm or in the terms of employment.
WHY POOR FARM-OPERator dweLLINGS
An important reason for inadequate farm housing has been the lack of sufficiently remunerative employment to pay for better structures. For the country as a whole, it appears reasonable to assume that unless a family was able to produce at least $1,500 gross farm income per year under 1939 conditions, it was not able to finance an acceptable dwelling from farm income. With less than this amount, there would not be much left for housing after farm operating and family living expenses were met and necessary farm capital purchases were made. This does not mean that every farm with a smaller gross income capacity under 1939 conditions could not finance and maintain an acceptable dwelling, nor that every higher income farm could do so. The situation would vary for different parts of the country, but for the country as a whole this appears to be a reasonable figure to use.1 After the value of home-used products and farm operating expenses are deducted from this $1,500 gross, there remains on the average about $750 net cash farm income. In many cases farm mortgage principal payments would have to be deducted from this $750 as well as any cash advances for expanding farm operations. The remainder would be available for family living expenditures, including housing, savings, or retirement of nonreal estate debts. It is thus difficult to see how the average farm family could provide itself with an American standard of living, including an acceptable house, with much less than $750 net cash or $1,500 gross farm income.
Sufficiently remunerative employment to support adequate housing may be provided by the farm alone or by the combination of farm with off-farm employment of the operator and members of his family. Estimates have been prepared for the 5,760,000 farm-operator households living on farms in 1940. Information available is not sufficient to estimate the housing and employment of the operators of the other 337,000 farms reported by the census in 1940.
For this purpose farms have been grouped into three broad classes. Class I farms are all units which in 1939 has a gross farm income of at least $1,500 and other units that had at least $8,000 worth of land and buildings and at least a team of horses or equivalent power. In like manner, class II farms are remaining units with a gross farm income of $750 to $1,499, and other units that had $4,000
1 Were one to prefer to use $1,200 as the breaking point between the two upper farm classes, it would shift only about 7 percent more farm operator families into the top group.
to $7,999 worth of land and buildings and at least a team of horses or equivalent power. Class III farms are all remaining units. This class contains all farms with gross farm income under $750 except those that had land and buildings worth $4,000 or more and at least a team of horses or equivalent power.
All class I farms were considered to be sufficiently productive to finance acceptable dwellings without off-farm employment. Classes II and III farms were not. Class I farms comprised about one-fourth of all 5,760,000 units, class II about one-fifth, and class III slightly more than one-half. (See table 4.) To be able to support an acceptable dwelling from the proceeds of their employment, it is estimated that in 1939 farm-operator families of class II farms needed on the average at least 100 days of off-farm employment in addition to employment on their farms, while families on class III farms needed about 200 days.
About one-fourth of the 1,200,000 operator-families on class II farms had at least 100 days of off-farm employment and nearly one-fourth of the 3,000,000 operator families on class III farms had 200 days. (See table 4.) In other words, as of 1940, of the 5,760,000 farm-operator families on farms, less than half, about 2,560,000, could finance acceptable dwellings. About one-fourth, 1,560,000, could do so from farm employment alone, while about one-sixth, 1,000,000, could do so from a combination of farm and off-farm employment. This leaves more than half, 3,200,000, who could not finance acceptable dwellings either from farm or a combination of farm and off-farm work, as indicated in table 4.
TABLE 4.-Class of farm related to ability of farm operator families living on farms to finance an acceptable dwelling from farm or combination of farm and off-farm employment in 1940 1
[All numbers in thousands]
Estimated by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Based in part on U. S. Department of Com. merce, Bureau of the Census, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, a cooperative study, technical monograph, Analysis of Specified Farm Characteristics for Farms Classified by Total Value of Products, table 3, p. 21, and table 1, p. 31. Based in part on unpublished data obtained through a joint study made by the Bureau of the Census and the BAE.
U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, and U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics; Series Census-BAE No. 1, Estimates of Farm Population and Farm House. holds, April 1944 and April 1940, January 14, 1945.
HOUSING ON DIFFERENT CLASSES OF FARMS
In general the quality of farm housing corresponds with the capacity of the farm or combination of farm and off-farm employment to support the dwelling. Of 5,760,000 farm-operator dwellings on farms in 1940, approximately one-third were classified as "acceptable," one-third as "repairable," and one-third as "nonrepairable." (See table 5.) In the case of 2,560,000 of these farms where either farm or farm and off-farm employment was sufficient to support acceptable housing, about_two-fifths of these dwellings needed either replacement or major overhauling. In more detail, about 3 of every 5 were classified as "acceptable,' 1 of every 4 as "repairable" and only 1 out of every 6 as "nonrepairable.'
On the remaining 3,200,000 farms, approximately 5 of every 6 dwellings needed either replacing or major overhauling. In more detail, approximately half the dwellings were classified as "nonrepairable," 1 of 3 was "repairable," while only 1 of 6 was "acceptable."
In case of the 3,200,000 farms where neither farm income nor a combination of income from farm and off-farm employment would finance acceptable housing, the problem of improving or replacing dwellings under 1939 conditions, whether the occupants were owners or tenants, was a difficult problem indeed. Fortunately, 560,000 of these farms already had "acceptable" housing. On the remaining 2,640,000 farms, houses of about a million operators were classified as "repairable" and those of more than 11⁄2 million as "nonrepairable."
TABLE 5.-Estimated number and condition of occupied farm-operator dwellings on farms, related to adequacy of farm and off-farm employment to finance and acceptable dwelling, for the United States, April 1940 1
1 Estimated by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics on the basis of class of farms and class of dwellings shown in preceding tables and relationships shown by unpublished data obtained through a joint study made by the Bureau of the Census and the BAE.
DWELLINGS OF RURAL FARM NONOPERATORS
In addition to the 5,760,000 farm operators living on farms it has been estimated that in 1940 there were 1,400,000 households on farms which did not include a farm operator. In about 600,000 the head was employed in agriculture, in about 300,000 the head was employed in nonfarm occupations, while in the remaining families the head was either unemployed or not in the labor force. Nearly three-fourths of the families where the head was employed in agriculture reported less than $500 in family wages and salaries in 1939, a sum too small to support acceptable housing.
Dwellings on farms occupied by nonoperators were substantially inferior to those occupied by farm operators. About one in seven was classed as "acceptable' as indicated in table 6. Over half of these nonoperator dwellings were classed as "nonrepairable" as compared with about one-third in the case of farm operators.
TABLE 6.-Class and estimated numbers of occupied rural-farm, nonoperator dwellings, for the United States, 19401
1 Estimated by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Based in part on U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population and Housing, Characteristics of Rural-Farm Families, tables 2 and 12. Based in part on unpublished data obtained through a joint study made by the Bureau of the Census and the BAE.