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Beginning in the thirties and continuing to this time, the death rate among Japanese-Americans has exceeded the birth rate. This is best illustrated by the decline in numbers among this group from 138,834 in 1930 to 126,947 in 1940. Location
In 1940, there were 27,268 aliens of Japanese descent living in urban communities, 4,667 in rural nonfarm areas, and 15,370 in rural farm areas. The general distribution between urban and rural residence was similar to the general population ratio of 57:43, as shown in the table following.
TABLE 7.—Comparison of residence, total population and foreign-born Japanese, 1940
In 1940, most of the aliens ineligible to citizenship were concentrated on the west coast. Almost 41,000 or 86 percent of the foreign-born Japanese lived in California, Washington, and Oregon. About 8,700 Japanese aliens lived in Los · Angeles. The remaining 6,500 were concentrated in the Mountain and Middle Atlantic States. About 90 percent of the Koreans were concentrated on the west coast, while the remaining were centered mainly in New York, Illinois, Michigan, and Montana.
About 71,500 or 89.8 percent of the American-born Japanese lived in the Pacific Coast States of Washington, Oregon, and California. Another 1.5 percent lived in the New England and Middle Atlantic States, 6.8 percent in the Mountain States, and 1.9 percent in the North Central States and the South.
About 53.2 percent of American citizens of Japanese descent were urban dwellers compared with 57.6 percent for the foreign-born Japanese and 56.6 for the total population.
Geographically, wartime evacuation resulted in a major shift in population of persons of Japanese descent. No adequate statistics on their present location will be available until the 1950 census is completed. The most authoritative source of information concerning this matter is to be found in the 1947 Department of the Interior report, People in Motion. This document states:
“Present location.-A direct byproduct of the evacuation has been the dispersal of Japanese-Americans throughout the United States. Of the 126,947 persons of Japanese descent, enumerated by the 1940 census, 112,353, or 88.5 percent lived in the three West Coast States.
“When the closing of the relocation centers had been completed, WRA records showed that 57,251 persons had returned to the three States of California, Oregon and Washington. This figure includes 3,124 residing in the nonevacuated eastern sections of the latter two States.
“During the entire period of the relocation movement, 54,254 persons who had left relocation centers, gave as their destinations states other than those mentioned above, and 961 had gone to Alaska or Hawaii. Of the number who relocated to other parts of the country, approximately 5,500 returned to the evacuated area on government travel grant before March 30, 1946. How many have since returned at their own expense is not known, but it may be assumed from the evident expansion of the west coast Japanese-American population, and general indication of movement, that at least an equal number has been involved.
"On the basis of incomplete data concerning the 106,925 evacuees, who are known to have relocated from WRA centers, present estimates place between 28,000 and 30,000 of the total east of the Missouri River, from 10,000 to 12,000 in the Great Plains and Intermountain States, and the remainder in the three West Coast States. From this estimate, slightly more than 60 percent of the evacuees have returned to their former homes, or other parts of the evacuated area, and slightly less than 40 percent have remained east of the evacuation boundary.
“If the number of prewar residents of states other than those along the west coast, about 14,500, is added to give a total of all persons of Japanese ancestry now residing in the United States, the distribution roughly would be 55 percent for the States of Washington, Oregon, and California, and 45 percent for the rest of the country. This compares with 88.5 percent of the total in these three states in 1940."
A comparison of the 1940 residence of the group and the first destination of those leaving WRA centers is shown in table 8. It is expected that some changes have occurred since the last count was taken in 1946, but in general a shift to regions other than the Pacific region has taken place.
TABLE 8.—Comparison of 1940 residence of persons of Japanese descent in the United States with the first destination of those leaving WRA centers, 1942–46
Labor force and employment
About 34,000, or 72 percent, were in the labor force, compared with 52 percent for the general population. The abnormal age distribution and the preponderance of males to females in the alien group accounted for this significant difference.
Table 9.—Employment status, total United States population and foreign-born
About 72 percent of the Japanese aliens 14 years old and over were in the labor force in 1940, compared with 45 percent of American citizens of Japanese descent. In actual numbers, Japanese aliens in the labor force totaled 33,738, compared with 23,236 for the American citizens of Japanese descent.
A comparison of the employment status in 1940 of those of Japanese descent follows:
TABLE 10.-Employment status, American citizens of Japanese descent and Japanese
aliens in the United States, 1940
Source: Sixteenth United States Census.
There were 32,774 Japanese employed on nonemergency work in 1940. Of these, 866 were professional workers; 198 were semiprofessional workers; 2, 102 were in clerical and sales work; 782 were craftsmen or foremen; 2,244 were operatives and kindred workers; 2,046 were domestics; 2,977 worked in service industries; 3,179 were nonfarm laborers; 4,948 were nonfarm proprietors; 5,899 were farmers and farm managers; 5,497 were paid farm laborers and farm foremen; 1,841 were unpaid family farm workers. In the general population, 18.2 percent were employed on farms, compared with 40.5 for the foreign-born Japanese.
Of the 22,125 American citizens of Japanese descent employed on nonemergency work in 1940, 562 were professional workers; 142 were semiprofessional workers; 2,198 were farmers and farm managers; 1,310 were nonfarm proprietors, managers, and officials; 3,918 were clerical, sales, and kindred workers; 412 were craftsmen and foremen; 1,910 were operatives and kindred workers; 2,229 were domestics; 1,268 were other service workers; 3,110 were farm laborers (wage workers) and farm foremen; 3,388 were farm laborers (unpaid family workers); 1,470 were nonfarm laborers; 208 were unreported.
Table 11 compares the distribution by major occupations of the total population with persons of Japanese descent. TABLE 11.---Percentage distribution by major occupations, total population and
persons of Japanese descent, 1940
Source: Sixteenth United States Census.
Post evacuation employment date are meager. Enough is known, however, to indicate that the range of employment has greatly increased, both in professional and white-collar occupations and the mechanical trades. Among farmers, less than one-third are back operating for themselves. Likewise, those in business have made but partial return to prewar status.
Concerning this, the Department of the Interior report, People in Motion, states:
"Five years after evacuation, the most obvious economic effect of that order is a change from dependence for livelihood on an economy fundamentally within the control of the Japanese community to general dependence by the JapaneseAmerican people everywhere upon employment found in the general community.
"With few exceptions, the able-bodied have secured well paying employment, both in the East and on the west coast. In 5 years, public sentiment has changed
from one of deep suspicion to that of favorable acceptance in most sections of the country. Without question, by the end of 1946 more Japanese-Americans were employed in work for which they had been trained than ever had been the case before the war, and those working in positions requiring less skill or training are as well off in this period of full employment as other Americans.” Relief and unemployment
The census of 1940 reveals that more than 7,600,000 persons of a total labor force of 52,800,000 were on emergency work or seeking work. This was 14.4 percent of the population. Only 0.08 percent of the alien Japanese labor force were on emergency relief work, such as WPA, NYA, CCC, and State and local projects, compared with 4.79 percent for the total population. Only 936 or 2.8 percent were unemployed, compared with 9.6 percent of the total population. These figures are important, in view of the greater proportion of Japanese aliens in the labor force and the differences in the median ages of the two groups. Before the war, the unemployment rate for persons 40 years of age or more rose rapidly and the unemployment rate for older workers was significantly higher than for younger workers. "Table 12 compares the emergency employment and relief status of the foreign-born Japanese with the general population.
Six-tenths of 1 percent of American citizens of Japanese descent were on emergency relief work in 1940 and 4.2 percent were seeking work. Table 12.—Percentage of labor force on emergency work and seeking work, persons
of Japanese descent and total population, 1940
As with all groups of new Americans, the chief force in the Americanization process is the school. Daily contact with other population groups and formal instruction in language and customs do much to bridge the gap between old and new world orientation. The amount and type of education do much to determine for the individual both his outlook and his social position.
American citizens of Japanese descent have, on the average, completed more school years than the general population of the United States. The scholastic honors they have won and the extra-curricular activities they have engaged in, as noted by all who have analyzed the characteristics of this population group, show the diligence in study and the degree with which Japanese-Americans are accepted in intergroup activities. A comparison of the number of school years completed by those of Japanese descent with the general population is as follows: TAPLE 13.-School years completed, comparison of persons of Japanese descent and
total population (includes only those over 25 years of age)
The median number of school years completed by those over 25 years of age in this group of foreign-born Japanese was 8.3, compared with 8.4 for the total population of the United States. A comparison by sex with the general population follows:
TABLE 14.- Median number of school years completed for those 25 years old and
About 8.5 percent of the foreign-born Japanese had no schooling, 25 percent were high-school graduates, and over 4 percent were college graduates. This compares with 3.7 percent of the total United States population over 25 years of age with no schooling; 14.1 percent who graduated from high school; 4.6 percent who were college graduates.
The median number of school years completed by American citizens of Japanese descent who were over 25 was 12.2 compared with 8.3 for the foreign-born Japanese and 8.4 for the general population. This means that in 1940, more than half of all American citizens of Japanese descent had at least a high-school education. Over 8 percent of American citizens of Japanese descent (over 25) were college graduates, compared with 4.2 percent of the Japanese aliens and 4.6 percent of the general populatoin.
Comparison of median years of school completed by persons of Japanese descent and the total population of the Western States where the Japanese population was concentrated is shown:
Table 15.-Median school years completed, persons over 25 years of age of Japanese
descent, and general population of Western States, 1940
Records kept by the War Relocation Authority disprove a common contention that American citizens of Japanese descent have received most of their education in Japan.
About 75 percent, or 53,000 of the 73,000 investigated, had never been to Japan. Of the 20,000 who spent some time in Japan, 10,000 did not go to school there. In other words, about 10,000, or one-seventh, spent some time in Japanese schools. Religion
A survey conducted by the WRA in 1942 of 38,520 foreign-born Japanese and 72,650 American citizens of Japanese descent revealed the data shown on the following page regarding their religious preferences. It will be noted that later generations have shifted from oriental religions.