The Billings Report and the Occupational Attainment of American Jewry, 1890
An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 19, Issue 2, Winter 2001
Posted: 1 Feb 2000
This paper is based on a survey conducted in 1890 by the Census Office of the vital statistics of over 10,600 Jewish families who as of December 31, 1889 had been in the United States for five or more years (Billings Report). The paper begins by discussing the origin and nature of the survey and two individuals involved in the project, Billings and Solomons. It then discusses the demographic characteristics of the survey respondents and compares their occupation distribution by gender with that of the white population in general.
Jewish families were identified through congregation lists. The respondents were predominantly foreign born of German-Jewish ancestry. Compared by gender with the white population in the 1890 U.S. Census of Population, the Jews, especially Jewish women, were less likely to report they were engaged in an occupation. Jewish men reporting an occupation were engaged primarily in sales (57 percent) and clerical (20 percent) occupations, while the Jewish women reporting an occupation were engaged primarily in sales, clerical, craft and teaching jobs. In contrast, the total white population was employed primarily in laborer, agricultural, operative and servant jobs. The occupational data on Jews in the Billings Report are reproduced in an appendix.
JEL Classification: N31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation