The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79
|Particulars.||Families having Incomes over £169.||Families having Incomes £169-£143.||Families having Incomes under £143.||General Average.|
|Over Four||Four and Under.||Over Four||Four and Under.||Over four.||Four and Under.|
* Expenditure exceeds income by 2a. 6d.
|Membership over four—||£169.||£169-£143.||£143.|
|Surplus per year||£10 3s. 8d.||£5 8s. 4d.||£6 10s. Od.|
|Saving per cent.||5||3.4||(Loss) 5.1|
|Membership under four—|
|Surplus per year||£29 0s. 8d.||£18 12s. 8d.||£6 1s. 4d.|
|Saving per cent.||14.3||11-9||4d.|
It will be seen that the expenditure actually exceeds the income by 2s. 6d. weekly (or £6 10s. annually) in the group showing over four in family and receiving under £143 income. This result is obtained on the records of ten families, five of which show actual losses, and the remaining five surpluses. An illustration of the above figures is given by means of Chart C following:—
|Income.||Members of Families.||Housing||Food.||Clothing.||Fuel and Light.||Other Items.||Totals.|
|Over £169||Over four||16.37||34.80||14.75||4.81||29.27||1000|
|Four and under||22.68||29.50||14.00||4.88||28.94||100|
|Between £169 and £143||Over four||14.05||38.52||16.87||6.17||24.39||100|
|Four and under||19.91||35.68||13.77||5.01||25.63||100|
|Under £143||Over four||22.49||39.00||14.88||5.34||18.29||100|
|Four and under||23.54||34.21||11.54||6.49||24.22||100|
The four main items of expenditure are dealt with in the above tables—viz., housing, food, clothing, and fuel and light. The heading "Other Items" covers all expenditure that cannot be included under the four main headings, and is dealt with in detail in the table on page 25. The tables above arc shown in two ways, both as to actual money-expenditure and as percentages of the total expenditure.
Comparing the expenditure, on the above lines, of two Wellington workers having somewhat similar incomes, but one having no family—simply husband and wife—and the other family comprising husband, wife, and four children, the chart herewith illustrates the position :—page 16
The worker with no family spends very nearly the same sum weekly on food, but saves in rent, clothing, and other items, and at each week-end has a surplus of Is. 9½d. Apparently he buys more luxuries in the way of food than his co-worker who has a family, and his average expenditure on clothing is also higher. The family man pays 5s. more rent per week, 8Jd. more on food. Is. 1¾d. on clothing, and 3s. 3½d. on other items. His fuel and light expenses, however, are lighter to the extent of Is. 4½d. per week. This worker has no surplus at the week-end. The figures emphasize what the returns generally show, the favourable position, as far as expenditure is concerned, occupied by the familia possessing few, if any, children.
|Housing.||Food.||Clothing.||Fuel and Light.||Other Items.||Total Expenditure.|
|Housing.||Food.||Clothing||Fuel and Light.||Other Items.||Total Expenditure.|
|New Zealand incomes of (say) £200 and less (69 returns)||12||0||1||0||2||8||2½||3||1||15||7½||2||19||1|
|Australian incomes of £200 and less (113 returns)||8||5||0||19||1¼||6||10¼||2||1¾||17||7||2||14||1¼|
Excluding the expenditure on "other items," the New Zealand returns show, as do the Australian, that the cost of food is by far the most important factor, amounting to just over 34 per cent of the total expenditure. Next comes housing, 20.31, then, clothing, 1389; and fuel and light, 5.22. It would appear from this comparison that, with the exception of "other items" and food, the expenditure of Australian citizens was less than that of New-Zealanders. It should be borne in mind, however, that the comparison, although based on a common income standard, goes no further. In New Zealand, town workers were dealt with only; in Australia the returns were taken from all classes living in large and small towns, and from dwellers in remote country places. In the 113 Australian returns dealt with, 62 dwelt in metropolitan areas and 51 in rural districts.
The expenditure on food in the three New Zealand income groups is remarkably close, any material difference being accounted for by the number of persons concerned, the expenditure, of course, being higher in the larger families. The genera] average expenditure on food for families in the three sections containing four and over is 37 per cent, on total expenditure, and in the small-family groups, four and under, 32.9. Besides the comparison with Australia, a further table might be given, including the United States and Germany. Any comparison is rendered unsatisfactory owing to the inquiries not being conducted on similar lines, nor are wages, prices, social classifications, and general economic conditions the same. In America the page 18 inquiry dealt with the working-classes only, and dates back to 1902; and in Germany the average incomes are much lower than in either New Zealand, Australia, or in the United States. In dealing with foreign figures, however, family groups were selected by the Commonwealth Statistician to make the incomes approximate as closely as possible to the general Australian average. The average income, as indicated previously, is rather high, amounting to £4 13s. Id. as against the New Zealand general average of £4s. 3d.
The three following returns therefore are given for what they are worth. They were quoted in Mr. Knibbs's statistics, and the New Zealand totals have simply been added.
|Country.||Percentage of Total Expenditure of Cost of||Totals.||Date of Inquiry.|
|Housing.||Food.||Clothing.||Fuel and Light.||Other Items.|
|United States America||17.40||36.45||15.72||5.03||25.40||100||1902|
The following table compares the above figures in another way. The New Zealand standard in each heading is taken as 100.
|Country.||Percentage of Total Expenditure of Cost of||Date of Inquiry.|
|Housing.||Food.||Clothing.||Fuel and Light.||Other Items.|
|United States America||86||107||113||96||96||1902|
A somewhat better comparison can be given in the next return, showing the expenditure on food in the above countries, and, in addition, the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium. Special inquiries were made in these three latter countries by the British Board of Trade during 1907-10, and the figures relate to the working-classes only.
|Country.||Average Weekly Income per Family.||Average Number of Members per Family.||Average Weekly Ex-penditure on Food.||Percentage of Expenditure on Food on Average Income.||Weekly Coat of Food per Head.|
|New Zealand||* 3||4||3||4.52||1||0||2||31.39||4||5½|
On these figures New Zealand bears very favourable comparison. The weekly expenditure on food per head is lower than that of any other country compared, with the exception of Australia (£200 and under income group). The average percentage of expenditure on food on average income is also lowest with the exception of Australia.
* All groups.
† Groups having incomes of £109 and under and families of more than four members.2
‡ Groups having incomes of £200 and under and families of more than four members.3
|Income||Number of Members.||Number of Families||Totals.|
|Owings House.||Paing Interest on mortages.||Paying Instalment of Purchase.||Paying Rent.|
|Over £169||Over four||2||..||..||10||12|
|Four and under||2||1||2||12||17|
|Between £169||Over four||1||..||..||3||4|
|Four and under||2||1||..||13||16|
|Under £143||Over four||..||..||..||10||10|
|Four and under||1||1||..||8||10|
Of the 69 householders, 56 (or 81 per cent.) are paying rent, 5 are either paying interest on mortgages or are purchasing their homes by instalments, and the remaining 8 own their houses.
The average comparative rent paid by those renting houses in the four chief centres is given hereunder. It emphasizes what departmental statistics have hitherto shown, that the rents paid in Wellington City are from 25 per cent, to 30 per cent, higher than in Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin. The return does not show the size, class, and locality of house concerned, but, at workers only have supplied the information, a general average has been struck for each centre.page 21
|City.||Number of Families.||Average Rent.||General Average.|
|City.||Four Rooms.||Five Rooms.||Six Rooms.|
So that the figures quoted in the above return approximate very closely to this larger and more comprehensive one.
|City.||Four Rooms.||Five Rooms.||Six Rooms.|
In Sydney and Melbourne, returns from 54 householders show that in the former city 25 paid an average weekly rent of 17s. 10d., whilst in the latter city 29 paid 14s. 10½d. As in neither case are the incomes shown, the figures can hardly be compared with those given for the New Zealand cities.
Expenditure on Food.—This table further classifies the expenditure on food items, and shows the average amount spent according to income and size of family. The heaviest item is meat; then follow in sequence "other items," butter and cheese, vegetables, milk, bread, tea and coffee, and sugar.page 23
Comparing this result with the Australian returns (incomes under £200) the following result obtains:—
The following return reduces the expenditure on food shown in the previous table to each unit in a family. It is valuable as shoving the general average cost for food per member over 69 New Zealand families. A feature of the return is that in the smaller families the expenditure on many of the food items is greater in proportion than in the larger families, pointing to the conclusion hereinbefore expressed that the small families do not practise the same economy in food-supplies, and spend more on food other than prime necessities.page 24
Expenditure on Clothing.—The table following shows the expenditure per head per week for clothing over 300 persone (12 members were excluded, as being boarders, it was assumed, of course, that they purchased their own clothing). It will be noted that the expenditure on 300 heads was Is. 10½d. per week, or £4 17s. 6d. per year, or £21 6s. 10d. per family. In Australia, taking those with incomes under £200 only, the figures are Is. 9¼d. per head per week, or £4 12s. Id. per head per year.
|Income.||Members.||Number of Heads.||Expenditure.|
|Per head per Week.||Per Head per Year.||Per Family per Year.|
|Over £169||Over four||85||1||6¼||3||19||1||28||4||5|
|Four and under||55||2||10½||7||9||6||24||5||4|
|Between £169 and £143||Over foury||22||1||9½||4||13||2||25||12||5|
|Four and under||52||2||3||5||17||0||19||0||4|
|Under £143||Over four||54||1||5||3||13||8||19||18||8|
|Four and under||32||1||8||4||6||8||13||15||2|
Expenditure on Other Items.—This return shows the weekly expenditure on items other than housing, food, clothing, &c, each of which, with the exception of fuel and light, has been dealt with separately. The percentage of each item on the total expenditure is also shown. On examination of the general average it will be seen that, disregarding " other items," the greatest expenditure occurs in the following order : Groceries (not food), fares, insurance, friendly-society contributions, medical expenses, sport and amusement, tobacco, &c, education, rates and taxes, alcoholic beverages, and, finally, non-alcoholic beverages. Compared with the Australian return, the general averages make an interesting table, as follows :—page 25 page 26
Some special notes might be made in respect to the averages shown in the preceding tables, especially in regard to those items of expenditure not spread over all the families concerned. In respect to alcoholic liquor, no less than 30, or 56 per cent., of the total of 69 families compared are teetotallers, and the average expenditure per week taken over the 30 is 9td. as compared with the general average of 4d. In 10 cases the weekly expenditure on liquor was over Is., whilst in 16 cases it was under 6d. As to tobacco and cigars, the average weekly expenditure is shown at 7½d., but, excluding the 26 non-smokers, it is found to be Is. In 21 instances there is an expenditure of over Is. per week, and in 9 eases the expenditure is less than 6d. A very high average weekly expenditure of 3s. 4d. is shown in one instance on tobacco, and, coincidentally, the man's calling is entered up as a "stoker." Six families only gave their expenses as "nil" for "sports and amusement,' the average all round being almost Is. per week. Friendly-society and trade-union contributions were paid by 63 families out of 69—an average of 91 per cent. As 33 families paid Is. and over, it is presumed that in nearly 50 per cent, of the 69 families dealt with the father belonged to a friendly society. In 21 instances the expenditure is put down at 6d. or less per week. Medical expenses averaged Is. Id. per family, and all excepting eight books show expenditure under this heading. The highest expenditure for any one family averaged 4s. 4¾d. per week (illness of child), whilst another averaged 3s. 4¾d. (maternity). In 30 cases the expenditure exceeded Is. per week, whilst in 31 it was below that sum. As most of the workers rent their houses and have comparatively small incomes, this possibly explains the low average (5d.) for rates and taxes. Out of 69 returns, 21 actually paid rates. Life and fire insurance was paid in all but 13 cases; in 20 cases 2s. per week and over was spent, whilst 24 paid under Is. per week. It is obvious, therefore, that in these latter families the parents have made no life-insurance provision, but that the expenditure given merely insures their furniture against fire. The very large extent that the trams are used in our cities is perhaps responsible for the high average expenditure of Is. 8d. weekly on fares. Every family but 2 shows expenditure under this head. In 25 cases the expenditure is 2s. or over, whilst in 34 instances Is. 6d. or less is shown. As to page 28 education fees, school materials, &c, this shows a very low average expenditure of 6½d. per family, accounted for by the fact, no doubt, that in the lower standards the school requisites are provide free by the State. In 29 instances no expenditure under this heading is given. In the 40 cases showing expenditure the average is 9½d. per week. The heading " Other Items " includes expenses not otherwise capable of classification, and covers the purchase of furniture, books, newspapers, garden-seeds, contributions to Church and charities, holiday expenses, wedding and funeral expenses, dentists' fees, &c.
Conclusion.—As has been stated, the usefulness of the foregoing facts and figures would undoubtedly have been greatly enhanced had the Department been able to collect more returns. It is possible that over a wider field the results in some of the headings would have been materially affected, as it is safe to assume that the returns received and reported upon emanated mainly from the more careful and thrifty members of the community. This deduction is borne out by the facts already noted in regard to the high average amounts expended on friendly-society contributions and the low averages recorded in respect to intoxicating liquors and sundry items. It will be generally admitted, however, that some very useful information has been given, and if the publication of these returns leads to the creation of a wider public interest in the question the Department may possibly at some future time see fit to try and secure more comprehensive data. Possibly some more simple method may be devised, so that the work entailed on householders will not be so great. Similar inquirid into the cost of living over thousands of families have already been made by the United States of America and Germany, whilst the British Board of Trade has published, on information collected by special agents, very complete statistics in regard to the cost of living in Great Britain itself, Germany, France, Belgium, and the United States of America. Owing to the small number of returns received the New Zealand and Australian statistics are not capable of being closely compared with the results obtained abroad, and the tables published in this report are given with some reluctance, as the basis of comparsion is merely approximate, and therefore lose much of their value.page 29
|City.||Income.||Heads in Family.||Rent.||Food.||Clothing.||Other Items.||Totals.|
Individual comparisons, however, are not satisfactory, as each family appears to differ in some respects in regard to the manner and mode of living. Some are vegetarians; some husbands smoke and drink; some mothers are able to make up most of the children's clothing, whilst others have to purchase ready-made things, &c. The above, however, is a fairly representative group taken from the whole returns, and is given for general information. It may be desirable to point out that the statistics presented may tell a wider story than the Department has set out in the text, but the object aimed at was to present the figures so that the public concerned might form its own conclusions. It is to be regretted that the object sought by the Department was so little understood and realized that only a few score workers of New Zealand came to its assistance.
By Authority: John Mackay. Government Printer, Wellington.—1912.