Sunday, January 1, 2006

Happy Birthday, Maw!

My mamaw is 76 years old today. So some comparisons between then and now:

People living in the United States in 1930 could expect to live an average of 59.7 years. Today, life expectancy has risen to over 77 years.

In 1860 less than 20% of the total U.S. population lived in cities; by 1930 the urban population had swelled to more than 56%. Today, more than 75% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas.

The average asking price for a home in Washington, D.C. in 1930 was $7,146--a relatively small sum by today's standards, but it was a substantial amount in 1930. Nationwide, 47.8% of U.S. residents owned their own homes in 1930; today that figure is more than 66%.

In 1930 only 40% of households in the United States had a telephone.

Long-distance telephone service was very expensive in 1930. A 3-minute call from New York to San Francisco cost about $9.00.

Although radio was still relatively new technology in 1930, 618 broadcasting stations had been founded in the previous decade, and radio was rapidly changing everyday life in the United States. According to the 1930 census, 59% of U.S. households had radios.

1930 was the last year that the U.S. Census asked U.S. residents if they could read or write; results of the census showed that 4% could not.

In 1930 only 48,118 people lived in the desert community of Phoenix. The 2000 census showed that 1,321,045 residents lived in Phoenix, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.

California had a population of 5,677,000 in 1930, and was the sixth most populous state, behind New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Texas. By 2000, California's population had grown nearly six times larger to become the most populated state in the country, with 33,871,648 residents.

In 1930 nearly 1.8 million residents of the United States had been born in Italy, the leading country of birth among those born outside the U.S. In 2000 the leading country of birth among the foreign-born was Mexico, the native country of 7.8 million U.S. residents.

In 1930 24% of all women in the U.S. were in the workforce; by 2000 that figure had risen to 61%.

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