100 Years Ago Life in U.S: Then and Now

100 years ago liveI’m doing a presentation on the role employee engagement plays in driving adoption and utilization of new business practices at The Motivation Show in Chicago next month.

And while the subject of change management can be serious for executives who’s careers are on the line, I thought I’d have some fun today looking at how was life 100 years ago.

I want to know how far we as a society have come as a result of all those hundreds of thousands of things that have changed in our world over the last 100 years.

100 years ago U.S. statistics starting with 1906 year:

  • The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
  • A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
  • There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million people,
  • California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
  • The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour.
  • The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian about $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
  • Ninety percent of all U.S. doctors had no college education.
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30 people
  • Two out of every 10 U.S. adults couldn’t read or write.
  • Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

100 years ago: what we have TODAY

  • Life expectancy in U.S in 2012 rose to 78.8 years.
  • 91% of adults have cell phones
  • People talk from one side of globe to another through FREE Calls and Messaging Apps (Viber, Skype, WhatsApp)
  • There are 254.4 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States according to a 2007 DOT study.
  • Now we have a speed limit of 30 mph in urban areas and 35 mph on unpaved rural roads.
  • California remains in the top of U.S states with largest population – 33,871,648 in 2014, July. Its territory being as large as entire Poland.
  • U.S Federal minimum wage now is from $22.00 to $25, depending on the sector.
  • According to CNN.com median household incomes is about $51,017 a year.
  • The percentage of home births in the U.S has increased from 1.26% in 2011 to 1.36% in 2012.
  • Compare to 100 years ago, all U.S doctors have high studies.
  • Egg and sugar are way cheaper than 100 years ago.
  • Las Vegas has a population of 603,488 at the 2013 , being the 29th-most populous city in the U.S
  • Even in 2015 there’s still people in U.S who can’t read and write – 32 million adults. 21% of adults read below a 5th-grade level while 19 % of high school graduates can’t read. Check the statistic here.
  • Over 3.3 million students are expected to graduate from high school in 2015–16, 0.3 million students being from private high schools.
  • According to Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) study, 12% of respondents already use cleaning services, while almost 50% would definitely hire a maid to clean the house.

Have you ever imagined how was life 100 years ago? Let us know if you do know other facts. Or try to imagine what it may be like in over a century in share with us the comments below.

1 Comment

  • Christopher Diett says:

    I read article (100 years ago life in the U.S.) and got wondering how it compared to today, so I researched it online and came up with this:..

    Here are some statistics for the Year 1915:

    The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
    2015: 81.85 years

    Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only.
    2015: Fuel sold at most Convenience stores

    Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
    2015: 90.0%

    Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
    2015: 92% of adults have cell phones, but people talk free
    through FREE Calls and Messaging Apps
    85.7%, but more people have cell phones than toilets!

    The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
    2015: 30 mph in Cities, 70-80 on the highway

    The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower 300 m (984 ft)
    2015: 829.84 m (2,723 ft) tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
    2015: $24.57 average

    The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
    2015: $43,109.56

    A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year.
    2015: $52.854

    A dentist $2,500 per year.
    2015:$147,716

    A veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year. And, a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
    2015: $84,460

    More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
    2016: 1.36%

    Sugar cost four cents a pound.
    2015: $1.25

    Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
    2015: $2.62

    Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
    2015: $4.91

    Most women only washed their hair once a month, and, used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
    2015: 3 times a week

    The Five leading causes of death were:

    1. Pneumonia and influenza
    2. Tuberculosis
    3. Diarrhea
    4. Heart disease
    5. Stroke
    2015: 5. Stroke
    4. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
    3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases,
    2. Cancer
    1. Heart Disease

    The American flag had 45 stars.
    2015: 51

    The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30.
    2014: 613,588

    Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and, only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
    2015: One in 5 adults can’t read or write,
    9 out of 10 kids who enter high school DO graduate today,
    or about 81%,as of 2012.

    Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!” (Shocking?)
    2015: Also available in schools and city street from Dealers

    Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
    2015: According to Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) study,
    12% of respondents already use cleaning services,
    while almost 50% would definitely hire a maid to clean the house

    There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !
    2014: 16,131; 2015: estimated 17,000

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