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PREDOMINANT RANGE OF RETAIL PRICES OF COMMODITIES IN 12 SELECTED
TOWNS OF FRANCE, OCTOBER, 1905—Concluded.
. 211 . 171
In order to obtain an indication of the level of prices for each town as compared with other towns, index numbers have been constructed, the level of prices in Paris being taken as the base (100). In the construction of the index numbers, in order to allow for the varying importance of the prices of different articles, as judged by the normal weekly expenditure of a working-class family, recourse was had to
weighting.” For this purpose average quantities estimated from 5,605 family budgets giving weekly cost and quantity of certain articles of food consumed by workmen's families in French towns, in 1907-8, were utilized.
In the following table these 5,605 families have been grouped according to the aggregate weekly income of the family (not of the principal wage-earner only); also there is shown for each group the average family income and the average number of children at home for a representative week in 1907–8:
NUMBER AND AVERAGE INCOME OF URBAN WORKMEN'S FAMILIES REPORT
ING IN EACH CLASSIFIED INCOME GROUP AND AVERAGE NUMBER OF CHILDREN LIVING AT HOME, FOR A REPRESENTATIVE WEEK, 1907-8.
With regard to the statistics of families with the higher ranges of income, it must be remembered that the amount of the family income is often due to the supplementary earnings of the wife or of children living at home, rather than to the high earnings of the head of the family. This is particularly the case where the income amounts to $9.73 or more per week. As will be seen from the table, the average number of children living at home was, in the families of this class, higher than the average number for all the families from which budgets were obtained.
The tables following give the average expenditures for food of the 5,605 workmen's families to which the returns relate and the quantities consumed by them of the various articles of food in a representative week in 1907–8. All children living at home, irrespective of age, have been included, but returns in which lodgers appeared have been excluded.
AVERAGE COST OF FOOD CONSUMED BY URBAN WORKMEN'S FAMILIES
REPORTING IN EACH CLASSIFIED INCOME GROUP, FOR A REPRESENTATIVE WEEK, 1907-8.
AVERAGE QUANTITY OF FOOD CONSUMED BY URBAN WORKMEN'S FAMILIES REPORTING IN EACH CLASSIFIED INCOME GROUP FOR A REPRESENTATIVE WEEK, 1907–8.
The proportion of the weekly income spent on food and rent by the families of French urban workmen is brought out in the statement following:
PROPORTION OF WEEKLY INCOME SPENT ON FOOD BY URBAN WORKMEN'S
From the average quantity of food consumed weekly by workmen's families, on the basis of 5,605 family budgets, and from information obtained from other sources, the following are the quantities of the selected commodities assumed to be consumed by a French workingclass family in a normal week: Coffee pound-- 0.6 Milk.
-quarts.- 4 Sugar --do---- 1} Beef
--pounds.- 3 Eggs number. 10 Mutton
-do---- 1 Butter -pounds.. 11 Veal
--do---- 11 Potatoes do---- 16 Pork
--do---- 29 The predominant prices in each town, as ascertained for the various articles, are weighted in accordance with the above quantities, the total expenditure so obtained being expressed as a percentage of the corresponding total as compiled from prices in Paris. The following table shows, in descending order, the price index numbers thus constructed for the various towns:
RELATIVE LEVEL OF FOOD PRICES IN SPECIFIED FRENCH TOWNS AS COM
PARED WITH PARIS.
It is seen from the foregoing that 5 of the 30 towns have a prices index number higher than Paris. The total difference between the
highest and lowest towns is 34 points, as contrasted with 63 points in the case of rents. However, if Marseille be excluded, the difference in price levels is only 21 points.
RENTS AND PRICES COMBINED.
The presentation following gives the index numbers for each of the 30 specified towns in France for that portion of the cost of living which is due to expenditure on food and on housing accommodation. Since the amount which has to be expended on food is considerably greater than that which has to be spent on rent, a weight of 5 has been given to prices and a weight of 1 to rent:
RELATIVE LEVEL OF RENT AND FOOD PRICES COMBINE II
OF FRANCE AS COMPARED WITH PARIS.
The difficulties in the way of any complete comparison of the relative prices ruling for similar commodities in France and in England, as far as they affect the expenditure of the working classes of the two countries, are sufficiently obvious from what has been said respecting the diversity of national habits and tastes. Disregarding such differences, the predominant prices paid by the working classes of the two countries for commodities quoted in both are as shown in the following table. It should be noted that in this and the other tables which follow the prices for England and Wales are exclusive of London prices, while those for France relate to all the French towns investigated, including Paris. No explanation for this is given in the original report.