NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Demand For Personal Services (and Servants) Rising

June 23, 1999

More and more families -- particularly dual earners -- are paying others to cook, mow, clean the pool and drive the children to school, among other duties. Observers chalk it up to all the wealth created by the stock market and an influx of immigrant labor.

  • Last year, the number of servant-type jobs grew 8 percent to almost 1.8 million, more than five times the overall rate of job growth.
  • A domestic employment agency in Southern Calif., claims that business is up 20 percent annually in the past two years.
  • Observers note that pay for illegal-immigrant domestic help is so cheap -- often from $150 to $300 a week -- that servants are almost common place for middle-class families in California and Texas.
  • Most employers reportedly pay their servants in cash -- avoiding Social Security taxes and questions about immigration status.

Before World War II, many middle-class families had full-time servants. But the widespread use of domestics, especially live- in servants, ended after the war as the waves of immigration subsided and many blacks left domestic work.

Source: Jonathan Kaufman, "Even Leftists Have Servants Now," Wall Street Journal, June 23, 1999.


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