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TABLE 6.-Comparative statistics of property and expenditures of the city and village school systems of the several States.
TABLE 7.— Number and population, by States, of cities, etc., containing over 4,000
For the names of these cities and villages and their population see the tables of city school statistics in Part III, and also the list of cities annexed thereto from which no data are available.
EXPLANATION OF THE DIFFERENCES IN THE FOREGOING TABLE.
The difference between the list of "places" of over 4,000 inhabitants presented in Bulletin No. 165 of the United States Census Office and the list of "cities and villages" used in the compilation of the tables of this chapter may be explained as follows:
First. The population of the cities of Owego, N. Y., Evanston, Ill., and Salem, Oregon, was not separately reported by the enumerators of their respective localities. Consequently these cities were not included in the list of places in the census bulletin mentioned. All three cities are undoubtedly of the population requisite for representation in these tables; their school statistics are reported in due form, and no reason is apparent why they should not be inserted. The population assigned to them is estimated, the estimates being based principally upon the population in 1880 and the rate of increase of the several townships of which they are parts.
Second. The differences which appear in the figures for the six New England States require more extended notice, since the school data here presented will be used in comparison with similar items in future years, and it is important that persons so using them shall be in no doubt as to what the figures represent.
In New England, as it is well-known, the methods of local government are peculiar. Counties exist, but for judicial purposes only; in nearly all other matters what is there known as the "town system" prevails. The entire territory is divided into towns, which correspond in a measure to the western townships, but with the important difference that the New England towns are independent of the county in all matters of local concern. Villages in the towns are not recognized in the system and do not even have their boundaries defined. A "town" is made a city by simply changing the plan of government from a pure democracy to a representative form. This may be done when the people desire the change and the legislature sanctions it, after certain conditions have been reached, as. in Massachusetts for example, when the population is as great as 12.000.
The average area of the towns in Massachusetts is approximately 23 square miles in Rhode Island, 30; in Connecticut, 29; in Maine, 60; in Vermont and New Hampshire, 38.
It is plain, therefore, that there are many towns in which a population of several thousand is so scattered over a large territory as to deprive them of every aspect of urban communities. Then, too, some of the "cities" consist of several distinct villages, between which original forests or agricultural lands still remain, although in most cases the incorporated cities are uniformly and thickly settled, and do not differ materially from cities in other parts of the country. But there are no boundaries recognized excepting those of the counties and towns or cities, organized as before explained; and the custom prevalent in that section of never considering the village apart from the town in official matters, evidently had its effect upon the census officials, for with a few exceptions they made no mention of the villages in their figures of population.
There is great difficulty, therefore, in making from such data a tabular statement of urban population in New England which will substantially correspond with the conditions elsewhere. Only two methods of dealing with the problem seem possible: First, disregard the great territorial extent of the "towns" and place them in the same category with the cities and villages of other sections; second, investigate the character of the population of the several towns, considering each one separately, and from the best data available make as close an estimate as possible of the urban population.
The first method was adopte by the census authorities in this city. It has the advantage of displaying no figures except those obtained by an actual count of something; but its disadvantage is obvious, since it makes the urban population appear to be far greater than it is in fact.
This method is particularly unsatisfactory in the matter of school statistics. "City school systems" are essentially those of dense settlements. The schools in rural, or sparsely settled, districts form a class entirely different in organization, in methods, and, as a rule, in results. It becomes important, therefore, to separate them as far as possible. As this could not be done under the classification of the Census Office the second method of obtaining the list of "cities" was adopted, although it involved the use of estimates in many cases.
The following may be given as the principal means by which the fitness or unfitness for these tables of individual localities was determined:
First. When a town was shown to contain more or less rural or scattered population, and a single vil age or borough whose population was exactly stated, or could be approximately determined from the school census or otherwise, the
town was disregarded and the village or borough was considered with sole reference to its own population. Cases of this kind arose principally in Connecticut and Vermont.
Second. When the only school statistics to be had were for the town as a whole, and it appeared that the town was composed wholly of a city or large village with its environs or “suburbs,” as in the case of New Britain, Conn., the population of the town was used in preference to that of the city alone. This was necessary to make the figures of population correspond in area with the school data, and is in accordance with the general practice of including more or less of contiguous territory in the corporate limits of a city.
Third. When a town contains several distinct villages with separate interests, none of which had as many as 4,000 inhabitants, all were discarded, though the population of the entire town may have been a great deal more than the minimum limit. But when one of the villages evidently contained the required population that village was included in the list, with an estimate as accurate as may be of its population. Warwick, R. I., is an instance of the first class, and Lincoln, R. I., containing Central Falls, of the second class.
Fourth. When nothing definite could be determined concerning the villages in a town the population of the town as compared with its area as shown by the maps was taken as an indication of the density of its population, and consequently of the fitness of the town for use in the tables. But in all such cases the organization of the schools shown by the reports of the school committees was considered, for in New England small schools almost invariably indicate sparse population. In Massachusetts, and in some instances in other States, it was necessary to accept or discard each town as a whole according to these guides, which, it must be admitted, were by no means satisfactory.
It is to be remembered that the list as it stands is not claimed to be a perfect one, and persons with an intimate knowledge of the several localities may detect flaws in the conclusions reached regarding them; if so, any suggestion in relation thereto will be gladly accepted.
The following shows in detail the instances of difference between the Census Office tables and those of this chapter so far as they relate to New England:
J Vernon town..
The following appear in Census Bulletin No. 165, but are excluded from the list of this Office in accordance with the plan indicated above: