The Great Depression of the 1930s was one of the worst economic disasters of its kind. It’s one of the most studied times of Americas history. Here are 13 facts about the Great Depression.
1. In 1932 and ’33, money circulation was so slow that the U.S. didn’t mint nickels.
2. “Hooverville” was the name dubbed to shantytowns that were made of cardboard boxes. This was due to President Hoover’s association with the hardships that had fallen on so many people.
3. One of the biggest Hoovervilles was built in St. Louis in 1930. It even had its own mayor and churches. It was funded by private donors until 1936.
4. The word “skid row” became a commonly used term during the depression years. Skid Row refers to run-down part of a town frequented by vagrants, alcoholics, and drug addicts.
5. The Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center were all built as part of Depression-era worker relief programs like the CCC.
6. Zippers became the go-to fastener because buttons became too expensive during the Depression.
7. About 200,000 people moved out to California by 1940, and 2.5 million people left the Great Plains, in search of a new start.
8. Appropriately, the hit song of 1932 was Bing Crosby’s “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”
9. “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men”, written by John Steinbeck, were about the devastating effects of the Dust Bowl.
10. Average family income fell from $2,300 to $1,500 per year.
11. On average, manufacturing employees earned about $17 per week. Doctors earned $61 per week during the 1930s.
12. The stock market didn’t recover for a long time. It finally returned to pre-depression levels in 1954.
13. Thanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Forty-three “alphabet agencies” were created during the New Deal. Here are just a few:
- FDIC 1933 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- CCC 1933 Civilian Conservation Corps
- NLRA 1935 National Labor Relations Act
- SSB 1935 Social Security Board (now Social Security Administration)