Difficulties that both the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies faced were hunger, disease and extreme environmental hazards. The settlers at Jamestown also suffered from poor relations with the indigenous native Americans, the absence of a family unit and overall inexperience.
The Plymouth colony was founded in an area that was extremely cold and lacking in fertile soil. This meant that the colonists at Plymouth were unable to support and feed themselves using traditional large farming techniques. Half of the colonists died from malnutrition and disease during the first winter at the Plymouth colony. However, the colonists at Plymouth were decidedly better off than those at Jamestown because of the lack of indigenous tribes in the land surrounding the settlement, as well as their underlying motives for establishing the colony. The colonists of Plymouth were looking to build a society rather than simply exploit the land for economic purposes. This meant the families, skilled workers and a sense of community were already in place. This helped organize and drive the group toward a common goal.
On the other hand, the Jamestown colony was established for purely economic reasons. This meant that the settlers of Jamestown were all men and boys. The support that a family unit offered was nonexistent at Jamestown. Furthermore, the settlers who inhabited the colony were unskilled, middle-class citizens. They were not tied together by a common communal goal, which caused arguing and inaction. Additionally, the Jamestown settlement was established in the middle of a powerful indigenous tribe's territory. As the settlers began to encroach upon the tribe's territory the relations between the two became one of enemies.