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The Affluent Society, 1945-60. Measuring and Explaining Prosperity The Growth of Suburbia The Family Ideal and the Reality The Other America. Some measures of prosperity . GNP doubled during 1950s Average worker’s income grew 35% between 1945 and 1960

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the affluent society 1945 60
The Affluent Society, 1945-60
  • Measuring and Explaining Prosperity
  • The Growth of Suburbia
  • The Family Ideal and the Reality
  • The Other America
some measures of prosperity
Some measures of prosperity
  • GNP doubled during 1950s
  • Average worker’s income grew 35% between 1945 and 1960
  • Americans, 6% of world’s population, consume 33% of its production
  • By 1960, 62% of population owned homes; 75% automobiles, 87% TVs
  • Higher education democratized
explaining prosperity
Explaining Prosperity
  • Federal spending (17% of GNP in 1950s, 1% of GNP in 1929)
    • Defense spending about ½ of federal budget
  • New technology—new industries
  • Automation—rising productivity
  • U.S. dominance in the international economy
    • A global demand for U.S. products
    • Cheap oil and other raw materials
explaining prosperity1
Explaining Prosperity
  • Consumer credit $8.4 billion (1946) to $45 billion (1958)
  • Government programs boost consumption
    • GI Bill: $14.5 billion, 1945-56
    • Housing subsidies: FHA and VA
    • Social security
    • Labor unions
growth of suburbia1
Growth of Suburbia
  • Mass-production construction
  • Government subsidies through loans, income tax deductions, highway construction
  • Car-centered
  • homogeneity

Levittown

slide9

The Family Ideal: the Baby Boom

  • 1930s: 2.4 children
  • 1950s: 3.2 children
  • 1965: 41% of U.S. population is under age 20
the family ideal1
The Family Ideal
  • Strict gender roles
  • Early marriage
  • “Being subordinate to men is part of being feminine.” “Women who ask for equality fight nature.”
the family ideal and the reality1
The Family Ideal . . . and the Reality
  • By 1960, twice as many women worked outside the home as in 1940
  • One-third of married women employed
  • The Kinsey reports
  • Playboy challenges male commitment to the family ideal
the other america
The Other America
  • % of poor families fell from 34% in 1947 to 22% in 1960—
  • Still 35 million Americans were poor: one-third of the poor lived in rural areas, including 2 million migrant farm workers

8 million of the poor were elderly

why did the other america fail to share in the affluent society
Why did the Other America fail to share in the affluent society?
  • Urban decline
  • Limitations of Social Security and union organization
  • Limitations of public housing (1949 Housing Act authorized 810,000 units; only 320,000 built by 1960
  • Government lending policies: “red-lining”
  • Urban renewal = poor removal
why did the other america fail to share in the affluent society1
Why did the Other America fail to share in the affluent society?
  • Indian policies: termination and relocation
  • Mexican Americans: the bracero program and periodic deportations
  • Legal discrimination against all minorities