What Caused Migration During the Dust Bowl?


Quick Answer

A drought in the 1930s made a significant region of the plains very dry. High winds blew the dust, which covered fields and homes and destroyed crops, making some ports of the region uninhabitable. Because farmers relied on the land, they had no crops to sell, and banks began foreclosing on farms. Many farmers felt their only option to was to travel west.

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Full Answer

In all, 2.5 million people fled their homes. While some headed for cities where there was factory work, more than 200,000 went to California. Those who chose to continue seeking farm work lived as drifters, picking up migrant farm work. The amount of homeless migrants arriving in California became so great in 1936 that police began denying access to anyone who was broke and homeless. Those who made it into the state faced a great deal of animosity. They were often attacked and beaten. The shanty towns that they build became known as Okievilles. As president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt created government subsidized programs designed to alleviate some of the problems with housing and labor, but it wasn't until the depression ended that former farmers were able to find work and re-establish some level of normalcy in their lives.

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