Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 12:55 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
What a difference 100 years brings...

Fascinating compilation of statistics from a lecture "A History of the U.S. Economy in the 20th Century"

The year is 1904, only 100 years ago. Here are some of the statistics for the U.S. that year...

Total U.S. population in 1900 was 76 million people, less than a third the population we have now. Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California; with a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union. (The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.) The American flag had 45 stars; Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

Life expectancy at birth was 47 years, and the infant mortality rate is high: 140 of every 1000 babies born will die in their first year (these days, fewer than 10 in 1000 die) Yet more than 95% of all live births in the US took place at home.

Flu, pneumonia, typhoid, gastritis, and whooping cough were common causes of death. The five leading causes of death in the US were: 1.) Pneumonia & Influenza 2.) Tuberculosis 3.) Diarrhea 4.) Heart disease and 5.) Stroke

90% of all US physicians had NO college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."

The dollar was a defined (not floating) unit of currency; there was NO income tax; there was NO central bank (i.e., Federal Reserve). But the United States was a rising economic powerhouse and was the wealthiest economy in the world: per capita income was on the same level as Britain and Australia, was twice that of France and Germany, and was quadruple the standard of living in Japan and Mexico.

Still, most Americans in 1904 were living in what we today would consider poverty. Per capita American income in 1904 averaged around $5000 [in present-day dollars], less than one-fifth the current level. In other words, the typical American in 1904 had about the same income as a typical Mexican today. The average wage in the US was $0.22/hour; the average US worker made between $200-$400/year; A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000/year, a dentist $2,500/year, a veterinarian between $1,500-$4,000/year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000/year. Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost $0.15/pound.

A man's typical on-the-job work week consisted of 60 hours of work, spread over six days. Pensions were rare; men generally worked until they were too feeble to go on doing so. Two-thirds of men over 65 still worked full-time jobs. Women made up only 18% of the paid work force. They mainly worked in textiles, apparel, shoes, canning - fields where you were paid according to how much you produced.

At home, women spent an average of 40 hours a week on meal preparation and meal cleanup, seven hours on laundry, and another seven hours on housecleaning. The average housewife baked a half a ton of bread-about 1400 loaves-per year. 18% of households in the US had at least one full-time servant or domestic.

Only about a third of American homes had running water, only 15% had flush toilets, only 14% of the homes in the US had a bathtub, and half of farm households didn't even have an outhouse. Most women washed their hair only once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Only 3% of American homes were lit by electricity; only 8% of the homes had a telephone (a three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.00) 50% of all people's living spaces averaged more than one person per room; taking in lodgers was common.

Most people lived within a mile of where they worked, and depended on their feet to get them around; only 20% of urban households owned a horse. There were only 8,000 automobiles in the US, and only 144 miles of paved roads; the maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Coca Cola contained cocaine; marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

Half the population drank alcohol; half didn't. The half that did drink averaged two hard drinks and two beers per day; wine consumption was minimal. By contrast, in Europe, people drank twice as much beer, and averaged more than four glasses of wine a day.

[Only] 10% of the American population was completely illiterate, and the average adult had an 8th grade education; only 7% of students would ever complete high school.
__________________

__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 02:57 PM   #2
 
Posts: n/a
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

John Galt,

I read the above list - Are you sure you want to go back and live in this time. - Does not look that good to me!

Dead at 47 - you'd be dead 10 years already!
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 03:17 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

You know, I was thinking of John when I put that in, and was wondering if he has an outhouse or not
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 05:54 PM   #4
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 902
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Excellent list TH! Makes me more convinced than ever that ER is doable. My worst case scenario would produce multiple times the average income in 1904. How lucky we are to be alive now.
__________________
Bob_Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 06:32 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

That was my other thought...how spoiled rotten we are.

Machines to do our laundry, make the house warmer or cooler, toilets and running water, etc, etc.

Even at my crank-down emergency oh-my-god-the-sky-is-falling reduced withdrawal rate I'd still be living like a king in comparison to a well-to-do guy from 100 years ago.

Of course the simplicity had some advantages...many ate better because cheap simple food (bread, rice, potato) is on par better for you than a 24oz porterhouse. People talked to each other more, went to bed early. On the other hand the booze consumption was higher, so maybe simplicity wasnt so great after all...

Although I'll say the simple life has some plusses, at least in small doses. Before I moved to california I rented out a little shack on Lake Winnepesauke (which I know I badly misspelled) in new hampshire to take a week off and relax; my family had a little place up there and I spent summers there since I was a little kid. Got a great deal on the rental. I learned why when I arrived. Nice little two room 500 sq foot place right on the waterfront. No electricity, no tv, no nothing. A small gas stove, a bed and a couch. I thought..."wow, I wish they had told me the place was a little spartan, but I guess it'll do".

Spent the week sitting in a chair out front reading, swimming, watching the boats go by and snacking from the little store across the street. Went to bed when it got dark out and woke up when it got light out. Started not caring what time it was. By the end of the week I was more relaxed than I had been in years.

Then the last day my ex-boss called me up and told me he had a job for me in new jersey, paid 2x what he had been paying me before, but I had to tell him within an hour whether or not I'd take it. My alternative was my original plan...drive out to SF and shack up with a gal I knew who was going to UC Berkley and think about looking for a job out here.

That pretty much ended my relaxation state. But an hour later I called back and said "no, thanks".

And to think if I hadnt moved to california, taken that high tech job at the company whose stock skyrocketed, sold it and sat out the 2000 crash, I'd probably still be showing up to that job in new jersey...rather than FIRE'd...

Guess it'd be better than taking a trip to the outhouse at 2am in january...
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 07:36 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 61
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Actually people "ate better" in 1904 because their diet was more heavily skewed towards protein vs. today's junk food diet of refined flours, sky-high sugar consumption and excessive carbohydrate intake....all of which have led to record levels of heart disease & Type II Diabetes. But the real benefit of living in that era was cuddling up to your honey after her monthly borax/egg yolk hair washing!

__________________
mark
markplus4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 08:15 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Quote:
Still, most Americans in 1904 were living in what we today would consider poverty. Per capita American income in 1904 averaged around $5000 [in present-day dollars], less than one-fifth the current level. In other words, the typical American in 1904 had about the same income as a typical Mexican today. The average wage in the US was $0.22/hour; the average US worker made between $200-$400/year; A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000/year, a dentist $2,500/year, a veterinarian between $1,500-$4,000/year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000/year. Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost $0.15/pound.
I'm confused by these statistics. Isn't the whole idea of converting to "present-day dollars" to normalize for inflation?

If eggs were $0.14/dozen in 1904, and today they're $1.40, doesn't that imply that the 1904 salary of $5000/yr would stretch just as far as a $50,000 salary today?
__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 10:46 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Ooog. The $5k figure was normalized for todays dollars, the rest of them werent...that $200-400 I believe converted to 5k in todays dollars.

On the other hand, I cut and pasted this, having no original creativity of my own, and didnt even check the math.

I feel like the kid who just copied off of someone elses test in class without making sure the kid knew anything first...

Yessss...the monthly borax/egg hair washing...a chance to lap up some extra dinner...
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 11:02 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Mesa
Posts: 3,588
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

I think you left out one of the most important differences from today . . . no dryer sheets.
__________________
sgeeeee is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 11:13 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Didnt need 'em. We LIKED the static cling and the feel of rough natural fibers on our skin. And we didnt need no damn sunglasses either, we just squinted a lot.

I think its a good idea to quit before I get back down to clinging to the windowsills and eating hot gravel before walking 50 miles uphill (both ways) to school in 10 feet of snow in our bare feet...because we LIKED it...
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 11:32 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Hey, I prefer squinting to sunglasses. Squinting is better for you. Sunglasses dilate your pupils and allow those nasty UV rays to burn your eyeballs. But that's not why I prefer squinting. It makes me look mean, so people leave me alone.
__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 11:39 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Mesa
Posts: 3,588
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Quote:
. . . It makes me look mean, so people leave me alone.
This from a guy who chooses a smurf as his icon? I don't buy it, wab.
__________________
sgeeeee is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-08-2004, 11:40 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Oh heck, I wish I had known that sooner. I could've saved a bundle on blue-green sharpies and all that time drawing on the tatoos.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-09-2004, 12:03 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Are you talking to me? Go ahead, Dilbert-avatar, make my day 8)

According to the Smurf Name Generator, my smurf name is Bad-Ass Smurf. And I'd make that avatar squint if I could.
__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-09-2004, 04:38 AM   #15
 
Posts: n/a
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

You guys are a hoot! Great to start my day with a smile.

Hey, Cut-throat, I may have been dead 10 years but I'd have made a good looking stiff at 47

I can't relate to a lot of that stuff, but I do personally
remember outhouses, chamber pots, nickel coffee,
nickel cigars, 35 cent movies and 29 cent gasoline.
Hard to believe.

Seriously though, when thinking about living back then
you have to remember those people didn't know about
the stuff
they were missing (that we have today). And, a lot of what
they were missing is pretty awful, I won't bother
to give examples (see my previous rants). Anyway, Cut-throat and other friends, I still long for those simpler times, but here I am and must back the best of the
hand I was dealt.

John Galt
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-09-2004, 05:37 AM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Somethings may never change through time. I heard once, and I can't vouch for the reliability of this "fact", that people through time have on the average lived a half an hour from work and prefer a half hour commute. Anything less or more is frustrating. As transportation improved, people moved farther from work, but it still took the half hour to get there. I can drive or bus to work in 5 to 10 minutes. If the weather is good, I prefer walking, which takes me half an hour.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-09-2004, 02:25 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

I'll vouch for that theory, and noticed it several times. When I was about a 30 minute stress free drive from work, I felt the most "on" and relaxed. On the other hand, a 30 minute traffic jam and annoying idiot driver filled commute didnt help.

The best though was a 1 hour train commute I used to do. Got in a lot of reading, but it did make the work-day a lot longer.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-09-2004, 02:53 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Hyperborea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,008
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

Quote:
Even at my crank-down emergency oh-my-god-the-sky-is-falling reduced withdrawal rate I'd still be living like a king in comparison to a well-to-do guy from 100 years ago.
That "well-to-do guy from 100 years ago" however could afford to hire much more poorly paid servants to do the "grunt" work. Even with a $1M portfolio and a $40K/annum withdrawal you couldn't hire any full-time servants in a 1st world country and still have enough left to cover the rest of your expenses.
__________________
Hyperborea is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...
Old 04-09-2004, 07:04 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
charlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 1,211
Re: What a difference 100 years brings...

I don't think static cling was invented until the advent
of synthetic clothes and indoor dryers. It just proves
the point that necessity is the mother of all inventions.
Dryer sheets time had not yet come.

Charlie (aka Chuck-Lyn)
__________________

__________________
charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Social Security if you coast last few years Rich_by_the_Bay FIRE and Money 21 02-25-2007 01:29 AM
Social Security Beneift Penalized by Early Retirement? more_or_less FIRE and Money 19 01-27-2007 10:19 AM
Will you stay 5 more years for $1,000,000? honobob Other topics 18 12-17-2006 10:31 AM
5 more years...I hope. Da Nag Hi, I am... 4 11-30-2005 04:38 PM
$50 a day? No way! patnbj FIRE and Money 112 01-30-2004 09:21 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:40 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.