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Facts About Dayton
Housing, Living Conditions, Industrial Relations




Dayton, a City of Home Owners

Dayton is a city of home owners. The percentage of ownership for many years has been unusually high. It was the fourteenth city in the United States with respect to this percentage (38.1) in 1910. In 1920 this Increased to 41.9 percent. Higher figures for home ownership, sometimes reported, refer to the proportion of residence quarters owned by residents of the city, but not necessarily by occupants. The percentage of all homes owned by occupants in twelve comparative cities in 1920 was higher in Dayton than in any other city, except Akron, where it was 44.7.

A similar statement is true of the year 1910. Between the years of 1910 and 1920, Dayton's home ownership percentage increased, while Akron's decreased. It is reasonable to assume that the active and powerful Building and Loan Associations of Dayton largely are responsible for this condition.

It is not due to paternalistic developments on the part of the industrial leaders.


Unencumbered Homes

The city has an exceptionally high percentage of homes that are free from all debt, though this percentage has now begun to decrease.  In 1920, 17.4 percent of all homes in Dayton were owned free of all encumbrance; the only comparative city which showed a higher percentage was Louisville (19.6 percent). Figures subsequent to 1910 in both Dayton and Louisville show decreases. While Akron in 1910 showed more unencumbered owned homes, in 1920 that city's figures had declined to 15.7, below Dayton.


A City of Private Dwellings

Dayton's maximum density of population over any considerable area is less than 65 persons per acre. The city has no definite particular peak of population density. Over a considerable area near the center of the city the density varies from 50 to 65 persons per acre. There are practically no tenements. Distinctly foreign born populated sections are few in number and of small dimensions. Dayton's prevailing type of housing is the private dwelling, rather compactly built. The zones of population density are roughly concentric.  There are no particularly dense radii reaching out far from the center of things. In more recent years apartment house building has begun on a rather extensive scale.  The number of persons per dwelling In 1920 was lower in Dayton than in any of the other cities that were compared, with the exception of Indianapolis, but Dayton's figure was higher in 1920 than it was ten years before.


No Housing Crisis

Within the territory served by the Dayton Power & Light Company there are now about two and one-half percent of vacancies in residence accommodations. Although this is not a high figure, it is quite satisfactory in that practically all of these vacancies represent quarters entirely fit for habitation.


New Building

Building construction generally throughout the country showed almost a maximum total in 1924 and an absolute maximum in 1925, but the per capita construction within the city took a low comparative position. With respect to total new housing provided during the two years mentioned, per capita population, Dayton took a position like that of cities around New York or in New England rather than like that which was normal. Out of 70 cities compared, exclusive of those in the regions mentioned, only Cincinnati, Toledo, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Syracuse did relatively less work than Dayton in providing new housing. Dayton took a lower rank with respect to total construction than its population would have indicated to be proper. There was a heavy decline in factory construction from 1924 to 1925, but on the other hand many existing factory buildings which had been vacant since the cessation of war-time activities were reoccupied.




Dayton's People Live Modestly But Comfortably

In part, on account of its latitude and location, but more definitely because of its history and habits, Dayton is a city of rather low prices. Fuel is fairly cheap. Merchandise prices are generally modest in comparison with those of other cities. The average annual earnings of its people are high, and this (coupled with the low scale of prices) leads to the free spending which has been elsewhere referred to and makes the city a good market. In spite of a rather high standard of living with respect to shelter, the necessary cost of living is fairly low, and the average family has more than the usual amount of disposable funds for expanding particular items of its budget or for saving. There is a great deal of saving done in Dayton. A large proportion of savings go into the building and loan associations; and the city, although distinctly prosperous shows the need of more liquid capital.  Dayton is a good market for moderate priced staples and for many specialties, even Including those of the latter which are not sold distinctly on a price basis.  It Is characteristically a city of high-class workmen. The atmosphere which exists here is one that they have created and one to which that type of man would best respond.

Dayton has public markets (including street markets), and a well developed "cash and carry" habit. Its facilities in the way of food storage are less adequate. This is not surprising. Only the very large cities can provide cold storage at the various temperatures and under the correct conditions for the variety of food products which are involved.

Direct selling in Dayton is not carried on to any unusual or artificial extent. It is, in fact, somewhat restrained by a local ordinance requiring licenses. Recent fraudulent "endless chain" operations were exposed and stopped.  Mail order trading does not seem to be of wide Importance among Dayton consumers.  It is, no doubt, of more importance in the surrounding rural territory. Dayton itself has about 10 mail order houses shipping out their products on a wide scale, but these concerns are all specialty concerns and do not undertake to supply all the needs of the household,                                                            

Dayton has 217 chain stores, of which 153 are food stores. Dayton has its own chain of drug stores. In connection with food at least, there seems to be plenty of room in Dayton for both the chain stores and the old-fashioned neighborhood store.


Rents Are Surprisingly Low

Typical present-day costs of medium class residence buildings per family vary from about $4,250 in the case of the duplex type house to $6,000 for the one family detached house. Corresponding variations in average monthly rental are from $25 to $55, the latter figure being in a very few cases exceeded. The obvious discrepancy between the rent scale and the building cost scale is recognized. The Dayton rent scale seems almost incredible in view of the construction cost level, which is entirely normal, and the current nominal seven percent interest rate on mortgages. It seems to be the absolute tact that the rent scale in Dayton is pretty generally determined by pre-war building costs. Why this should be so is difficult to understand. It is not so to the same extent in other cities. Dayton certainly has low rents.  Its moderate building cost, which has been mentioned, is achieved in spite of a rather rigorous building code. There has been a considerable amount of new building Just outside the city limits. At least one of the neighboring communities is now preparing a building code of its own. Control of building does not seem to be a determining factor in connection with the emphasis on new building in neighboring communities. It is the built-up condition of desirable territory within the city limits, coupled with differentials in land value, which exert notable influence.  During 1924, there were six residences built in the suburbs for every ten within the city. There were seven electric meters installed in the suburbs for every ten installed in the city. The state building code is of importance chiefly in connection with commercial and Industrial building.




Labor Troubles Are Exceedingly Rare

Dayton is, generally speaking, an open shop town paying the union scale of wages; which implies a high scale of real wages, cost of living considered.  The only important exceptions to the open shop are the building trades. Dayton's labor unions are conservatively managed and the city has almost a negative strike record. The only strike in recent years (on the street car lines) was unimportant, brief and unsuccessful. While both employees and employers are more or less organized they show a spirit of getting together on important occasions. The too common condition of proprietor and wage earner fighting to the hazard of the third party, the public, is replaced in Dayton by amicable relations between the two, who together almost constitute the Dayton public. Representatives of the workers speak well of Dayton's plants and those who manage them. There are 55 labor unions listed, all but tour of which have a regular meeting date and all but two of which may be addressed at specific headquarters. The Labor Review, published in Dayton, is a notable and rather conservative publication.


Industrial Accidents Uncommon and Not Costly

From the nature of its Industries Dayton should naturally be comparatively free from the more serious types of industrial accident. Safety in factories is promoted by the regulations of the Ohio Industrial Commission which, although operating without adequate funds, has set up sensible standards of factory construction, equipment, and (with respect to safety matters) operation.  These apply to factories in general and also to specific types of plant. There are also corresponding requirements in the state building code.  All of these requirements are fairly well enforced and the local manufacturers are generally entirely willing to co-operate. Ohio practices monopolistic state-managed compensation Insurance, the cost of which to the manufacturer is phenomenally low. Funds are derived from assessments on the employers, except that the cost of administration is paid by the state.  Employers may carry their own liability it they wish but only about one percent of them do so. Insurance funds must be provided by every employer having more than three working people. There are about 30,000 risks at present. The average annual cost has been about $350 per risk or about $4.50 per employee. The compensation paid is normally two-thirds of the weekly wage for the period of disability. This is subject to a minimum of either $5.00 or the full weekly wage, and a maximum of $18.75 weekly. The maximum paid for any temporary disability is $3,750. For death, where total dependents are left, the compensation ranges from $2,000 to $6,500. The average claim including a large number of claims for medical attendance only, involves compensation amounting to three weeks' time at the maximum rate of $18.75 weekly.

The Workmen's Compensation Law excludes any right of action under the common law by the employees, unless the employer shall have acted illegally. It prescribes penalties for various Infractions and also a scale of attorney's fees.


Many of Dayton's Workers Have a Stake In Their Plants

Dayton's two largest industrial concerns have profit-sharing systems in effect, the method of profit sharing being the distribution of stock (or earnings from stock) to employees. Other concerns conduct suggestions departments, present employees with free insurance policies, or provide entertainment for children on Saturdays. Many have restaurants, hospitals, safety departments, etc.

In what are generally called welfare matters, Dayton is not strongly paternalistic, but is (at least in the larger plants) intelligent and progressive.   Matters of sanitation in factories are covered by the Ohio State Building Code and regulations of the Ohio Industrial Commission. These are said to be not as rigidly enforced as the safety requirements laid down by the state. They refer to such matters as dressing rooms, lockers, toilets, lunch rooms, heating and ventilating, natural and artificial light, special requirements for particular industries and features of construction related to protection against fire.


Special Facilities for Training Foremen

Dayton Is a pioneer in foremanship cultivation. The highest type of foremanship is needed in Dayton, not merely because of the general favoring of pure "line" administration, but for other reasons as well.  This need is thoroughly recognized.


Near-by Educational Institutions Are Assets

Antioch College makes a unique, though indirect contribution. Antioch has about 500 students. It is not primarily a technical school but might perhaps be called a school of management in a wide variety of fields. It is cooperative and coeducational.

The most notable institution in this line is the University of Cincinnati, in which there are 1,139 cooperative students in the college of engineering taking a five year alternate work-study course; in which some 200 industries, several of them located in Dayton, are co-operating.


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