Life in the late 1800s saw America's urban population expand rapidly. However, most Americans continued to live in rural areas. In addition, society began relying more on machines and industrialization.
Although the rural population continued to grow, the urban population grew faster. In the 1880s, people migrated to the West under the promise of free land. As there was heavy rainfall, it was expected that crops would thrive. However, a subsequent drought meant that many crops failed. As a result, some of those who moved from the eastern plains were forced to move back. During this period, a lot of farmers remained self-sufficient despite the introduction of machinery. Most people used home remedies rather than conventional medicine and maintained frugal lifestyles.
Due to urban expansion, cities became overcrowded. Slums began to rise, and conditions became unsanitary, resulting in waves of infectious diseases. Immigrants began to move into city tenements, and they continued with their traditional practices, leading to a rise in multiculturalism. Although suburban living began during the early 18th century, it increased rapidly during the late 1800s thanks to an increase in horse-drawn carts and electric cable cars. Commuting became possible, leading to a change in the way people worked.