What Were the Causes of the Great Depression?

Reasons for the Great Depression include the stock market crash of 1929, the dust bowl storms of the Midwest, uneven distribution of wealth and rapid industrial expansion. A universally accepted list of causes does not exist, however.

Although the most well known cause of the Great Depression is the stock market crash of 1929, there were many other underlying issues that contributed to the fall of the American economy. The United States had enjoyed a period of economic growth in the early part of the 20th century. Industry had expanded to the point that the workforce was strained and could no longer support the demands of industry. This created an uneven distribution of wealth in the United States. One percent of the nation controlled one-third of the country's wealth. This prevented money from being properly circulated through the economy.

In addition, dust storms in the American Midwest destroyed large quantities of crops and left many families desolate and unable to pay back loans and taxes. As a result, banks began to falter and uninsured savings were often lost. Around the world, some countries were still struggling to recover financially from World War I, which also made the global economy unstable.