Great Depression Facts
Great Depression facts can be downright depressing and alarming, even in comparison to the facts of the recent Great Recession. The so-called Great Depression, which began with the Stock Market crash of 1929, is unequaled in its scope and ferocity.
As painful as the recent Great Recession was, these great depression facts speak of an economic crash that was downright murderous. During the worst part of the Great Depression, from about 1931-1933, the sight of people literally dropping dead on street corners and in hospital emergency rooms was not an uncommon one, and working families that had saved their hard-earned money dutifully were made penniless, hungry and homeless because the banks themselves went bankrupt.
Here are some Great Depression facts and figures:
At the beginning of the Great Depression, the U.S. was the only country in the industrialized world without any form of unemployment insurance or social security.
The Great Depression’s low point: 1932-33.
Number of street vendors selling apples for 5 cents each in New York City in 1930: 6,000.
President Herbert Hoover was blamed for the hardships faced by many.
Soup was “Hoover Stew” and cardboard dwellings were called “Hoovervilles.”
Zippers replaced buttons because the latter were too expensive.
In the 1920s, the richest one percent owned more than 33 1/3% of American assets
By 1933 more than 13 million Americans were unemployed.
Extreme income inequality in the nineteen-twenties
In the 1920’s, the richest one percent owned more than 33 1/3% of American assets
By that same year nearly half of all the banks in the United States had failed.
Crops lay unharvested because farmers couldn’t afford to harvest them. Meanwhile, millions starved or were grossly undernourished.
Unemployment rose from 3.2% in 1929 to almost 25% in 1933. In comparison, the unemployment rate of the especially severe recession of the early nineteen eighties was less than 10% and government aid to the poor and jobless was readily available during the latter downturn (unlike the worst years of the Great Depression).