Living Standards in the USA

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 06-02-19 15:13

Standards of Living - 1920s-early 1960s

- Standard of living measure happiness through material wealth. Conditions for high SOL not fixed due to improvements in technology etc.

- high SOL = achieving The American Dream - also deepened the social divide between rich and poor. 

- large racial disparity in maintaining high SOL - 1939 average white man earns $1234 a year - other races half this amount - made it harder to attain high SOL. 

- Good healthcare and education are often associated with higher living standards.

- SWW decreased standards of living but the post-war economic boom swiftly revived it. American citizens felt more obliged to spend during the 50s due to the depravity of the war (rationing etc.).

- built-in obsolescence in certain products (i.e. fridges) meant that people were forced to spend more as their products broke. Massive focus on advertisement in this period. Teenagers targeted. The consumption of 50s and 60s deepened the economic divide - 40% difference in average income between blacks and whites - highlighted inequality in The American Dream.

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Standards of Living During the 1960s

- legislation such as the 1964 CRA made positive discrimination a thing - granting favour in unemployment towards the minority population. 

- race was often a barrier that prevented people purchasing property

- the race to Suburbia in the 1960s meant many inner cities became ghettos, with 40% of non-whites living below the poverty line. Poor conditions and treatment.

- JFK's 'New Frontier' was cut short by his assassination - LBJ's Great Society took the reins which aimed to improve SOL massively (and did to some extent) but eventually failed as it wasn't funded enough. Vietnam drew the funds away - it was also criticised for creating a dependent nation.

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