This section is from the book "Scientific American Reference Book. A Manual for the Office, Household and Shop", by Albert A. Hopkins, A. Russell Bond. Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
One effect of the prosperity and general demand for labor in the United States in the past few years is noticeable in the increased immigration. The number of immigrants entering the United States in 1903 was larger than in any preceding year. The total number of immigrants entering the United States in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1903. was 857,056. This was 25 per cent, in excess of any preceding year, practically twice as many as in 1900, and about four times as many as in 1898.
The attractions in the United States seem to have resulted in a marked increase in the immigration from the United Kingdom, though the largest increase is from the countries of southern Europe and Russia. The arrivals from England in the fiscal year 1903 were 26,219 against 13,571 in 1902; those from Scotland, 6,153 against 2,560 in 1902; and those from Ireland, 35,300 against 29,138 in 1902. From Germany the number was 40,-086 against 28,304 in the preceding year. The largest increase, however, was from Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. The number from Italy was 230 622, against 178.375 in the preceding year; from Austria-Hungary, 206,011 against 171,889 in the preceding year; and from Russia, 136,093 against 107,347 in 1902.
The reviews of the statistics of immigration which this unprecedented flood of arrivals has suggested show that the total number of immigrants arriving in the United States since 1800 is over 21 millions, and the number of persons of foreign birth now residing in the country, over 10 millions. Notwithstanding the demand for labor in the agricultural sections, however, the bulk of this large immigration remains in the cities. There is a great demand for labor in the manufacturing towns and cities, and they absorb a large proportion of the arrivals, while the mining regions also draw largely upon the new arrivals. This is especially true of the people from southern Europe and Russia, the chief additions to the agricultural population being those from Norway, Sweden, and Germany.
The foreign commerce of the year 1903, as already indicated, was the largest in the history of the country. This statement, however, relates to the commerce as a whole, combining imports and exports under that term. In imports the figures of the year were the largest in the history of the country, but in exports the figures were slightly below the high record of 1900. The total imports were $1,025,-000,000, and the total exports $1,420,-000,000. These figures, it will be observed, are stated in round millions, because they are more readily assimilated in this form.
This increase of imports and decrease of exports was doubtless due in both cases to the general prosperity and business activity already noted.
The increase in imports was chiefly in material for use in manufacturing, though there was a very considerable increase in importation of finished manufactures. This is quite natural in a time of business prosperity, when money is plentiful. The increase in importations of manufactures ready for consumption amounted to about 28 million dollars compared with the preceding year, and of diamonds and other precious stones, about 7 millions. In manufacturing material, however, the importations showed the greatest growth. In raw material for use in manufacturing the importations of the year were 48 million dollars in excess of the preceding year, and in partly manufactured material for use in manufacturing, the increase was 23 millions, making the total increase in manufacturing materials imported over 70 million dollars as compared with the preceding year.
The increase in partly manufactured materials was chiefly in pig-iron, plates and bars of iron, etc. The increase in raw materials was chiefly in raw silk, fibres, tin, chemicals, india-rubber, and other articles of this character.
In exports the reduction was doubtless due to the unusual home demand both for foodstuffs and manufactures. Exports of iron and steel were 25 million dollars below those of 1900, and those of agricultural products were 70 millions below those of 1901. Yet the iron and steel manufacturing establishments of the country were turning out more of their products than ever before, and the agricultural production of 1903 was quite up to the usual total in most of the great staples.
U. S. Colonial Trade. - One interesting development of the year 1903, and one which attracted some attention because of its novelty, was the announcement that the commerce between the United States and its noncontiguous territory amounted to 100 million dollars in 1903. This was the first time that the country had a clear view of the value of its commerce with the colonies, or noncontiguous territory, as they are generally designated.
Soon after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands and Porto Rico, they were made customs districts of the United States, and as there was no law authorizing the collection of the statistics of commerce between the customs districts, the persons engaged in that commerce refused to furnish statements of the value of their shipments to and from the islands. As a result the country was without any information regarding the value or growth in this commerce.
The Bureau of Statistics, seeing the importance of some system by which this commerce could be measured, prepared a bill, which was passed by Congress, authorizing the collection of these statistics in the same manner as those of the commerce with foreign commerce. As a result, the country has now, for the first time since the annexation, a record of the commerce between the United States and all of its noncontiguous territory. This shows a grand total of 100 million dollars. Of this grand total of 100 millions, about 37 millions was merchandise shipped to the territory in question, 58 millions merchandise received from it, and nearly 5 millions gold bullion produced in Alaska territory. The territories included in this statement are Alaska, Porto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Philippines. It is a novel experience for the people of the United States, and they find it especially interesting to observe their own territory furnishing them a market for 37 million dollars' worth of merchandise, while their sales to the same territory in 1893 were less than 8 million dollars.
U. S. A. and Great Britain. - The development of the commerce of 1903, with reference to the United Kingdom and British territory in general, was of marked interest. The exports to the United Kingdom fell 24 million dollars, while the imports from that country increased 26 millions. This is especially interesting because of the fact that to practically all other European countries the exports increased. The total exports to all Europe were 1,039 million dollars against 1,008 millions in 1902, but those to the United Kingdom were 524 millions against 548 millions in 1902. To Germany there was an increase of 20 millions; to Russia an increase of 6 millions; to France 6 millions, and to Netherlands 3 millions.
The chief falling off in the exports to the United Kingdom was in cotton and wheat. The falling off in cotton amounted to 4 millions, and that of wheat 19 millions, though the latter was offset in part by an increase of 3 millions in flour.
Of the 26 millions increase in imports from the United Kingdom about 4 millions was in coal, chiefly due to the coal strike in the early part of the year, and the remainder, manufactures of various sorts, especially iron and steel, of which the total imports exceeded those of last year by 24 million dollars.
U. S. A. and British Colonies. - To practically all other parts of the British Empire the exports of the year showed an increase. Canada, despite the decrease in duty on products of Great Britain and the Colonies, made in 1897, 1898 and 1900. which was expected to place the United States at a great disadvantage, increased her takings of the products of the United States, 12 millions, the total exports to Canada in the fiscal year being 123 million dollars. The imports from Canada also increased, being 55 millions against 48 millions in 1903.
The first reduction in the Canadian tariff on products of the United Kingdom and most of the Colonies occurred in April, 1897, a reduction of 12 1/2 per cent, in the tariff on merchandise from the United Kingdom and her Colonies, while there was no reduction on merchandise from the United States. On June 30th, 1898, another reduction of 12 1/2 per cent occurred, and in 1900 the reduction was made 33 1-3 per cent. Yet, comparing the imports for consumption in 1902 with those of 1896, as shown by the Canadian Statistical Year Book, the imports from the United Kingdom have increased 16 million dollars and those from the United States, 62 million dollars, while the figures of the United States for 1903 show a further increase of about 13 millions in exports to Canada.
Canada's Trade with the U. S. A. and Great Britain. - In 1882, according to the Canadian Statistical Year Book above quoted, the imports of Canada from Great Britain were 50 millions, and those from the United States 48 millions. In 1902, 20 years later, those from Great Britain were 49 millions, and those from the United States 120 millions, notwithstanding the fact that the tariff on products from Great Britain had been reduced one-third as against those from the United States.
Comparing 1902 with 1882, there is a slight reduction in the imports from the United Kingdom and an increase of about 150 per cent in those from the United States. Of the 123 million dollars' worth of exports from the United States to Canada in 1903, about 20 millions were manufactures of iron and steel; 6 millions coal; 8 millions wheat, flour and corn; 4 millions agricultural implements; 3 millions cotton manufactures; and the bulk of the remainder miscellaneous manufactures.
The convenience of buying from the salesman who brings the samples to the door of the purchaser and orders whatever is wanted by telephone across the border with the assurance that the goods will be delivered the next day, if desired, apparently more than balances the difference of 33 1-3 per cent in duty.
U. S. A. Trade with the British Empire. - In general terms it may be said that the commerce between the United States and the British Empire in 1903 was over a billion dollars, of which 746 millions was exports and 325 millions imports. Of the 746 millions of exports to British territory 524 millions was to the United Kingdom; 123 millions to Canada; 33 millions to British Africa; 32 millions to Australasia and New Zealand; 10 millions to the British West Indies; and 8 millions to Hongkong. Of the 325 millions of imports from the British Empire, 191 millions was from the United Kingdom; 55 millions from Canada; 50 millions from India; 13 millions from the West Indies; and 7 millions from Hongkong.
The following tables present an analysis of the commerce of the United States from 1893 to 1903: