What Was Life Like in the United States During the Great Depression?

Life in the United States during the Great Depression was characterized by unemployment, homelessness and poverty. Children and teenagers had little access to regular education.

When the Great Depression hit, many middle class families edged into poverty because of unemployment, which affected 15 million people. As a result, food was scarce. Families lived off of dried beans, potatoes and government handouts. Many families also no longer had the benefit of a roof over their heads. Although some took in boarders to pay the rent or mortgage, others left their homes and traveled the country looking for work.

Not only did schools shut down due to lack of funding, but children had to leave school in order to help support their families. Kids as young as 10 years old found themselves working on farms, in factories or in canneries.The price of food dropped and farms collapsed. Farmers were no longer able to pay the lease on the land and had to sell and move to urban areas.

People stopped spending money, saving everything that had any possible use. As a result of decreased consumer spending, manufacturing slowed and employment was difficult to find. Defense manufacturing due to World War II helped to pull the country out of the Depression.