Simon N. D. North to Theodore Roosevelt, December 7, 1905

Department of Commerce and Labor

December 7, 1905.

Dear Mr. President:

I have read with great interest the reference in your annual message to the subjects of child labor and the conditions of women in industry. It will interest you to know that the Census Office has for some time had in preparation, as one of its supplementary analytical studies of the Twelfth Census returns, a bulletin on "Women and Children Employed in Gainful Occupations", which report will, I believe, very largely meet the purposes you have in mind.

There is in the Census Office an immense amount of data on these subjects, of the utmost value and significance, some of which has been published in our recent volume on "Occupations", some in the Twelfth Census report on "Employees and Wages", some of it gathered in our recently taken census of manufacturers, while more of it is derivable from the population and mortality schedules, and as yet unpublished. I have planned to bring together in condensed form all these data, accompanied by a critical analysis on lines very similar to [page 2] the Census Bulletin on "The Negro in the United States", which attracted so much attention and won such general commendation.

The data in our possession show, with regard to 5,329,292 women gainfully employed in 1900, the occupation; relationship to the head of the family, whether wife, daughter, sister, boarder, etc.; color or race; age; marital condition; for mothers, number of children born and number living; birth place; if an immigrant, year of immigration and number of years in the United States; number of months unemployed; literacy; whether living in home owed or rented.

They show the scale of wages received by women in the principal manufacturing industries, in comparison with the wages paid to men employed on the same kind of work.

They show the death rates of women in various occupations, classified by disease and cause of death.

For children engaged in gainful occupations, the Census Office has at hand the same class of data so far as applicable, and additional data in regard to school attendance.

I believe that the statistics above indicated are more comprehensive than can be derived from any other sources. If it should seem desirable to supplement this information in any direction, I shall be grateful for suggestions. 

We have planned to complete this complication in about [page 3] six months from this date, and shall now endeavor to expedite it.

With highest regard and respect,

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) S. N. D. North,

The President,
The White House.

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