Social Effects of the Great Depression
The Great Depression of 1930 saw many countries struggle with its economic and social effects. Because of the depression, many families were forced to migrate to different states.
There was mass migration from Oklahoma and Arkansas among other states to California in search of food, employment and greener pastures especially by farmers. These migrations reshaped the mosaic of America. Even though businesses perished, many others flourished because there were new forms of expression all in the culture of despair.
Increase in crime rate
The Great Depression increased crime rate. This was largely attributed to the large number of idlers. Many people lost their jobs during the depression. Therefore, they resorted to petty theft as a way of earning a living.
Additionally, suicide rates rose and cases of malnutrition became worse. Farming was not productive and all the people could rely on was depleting foodstuff.
Prostitution was also on the rise during the Great Depression. Young girls and women turned to prostitution as way of earning some money to cater for their bills.
Alcoholism also increased. Americans sought easy ways to manage the situation to no success. They turned to alcoholism because of frustration.
Additionally, cigarette smoking became a temporary solution to many who could afford. Cigarette smoking became very expensive and those who could not afford, turned to low cost and low quality cigarettes.
The Great Depression led to poor healthcare. At the time, it was not a priority for many people. Visiting the doctor was reserved for only severe cases.
The Great Depression affected the quality of education in America. This is because higher education became more of a privilege to university students. Student bodies during the first half of the decade shrunk.
High schools faced challenges because the attendance decreased especially among the girls. The male population in high schools increased. As a result, the possibility of getting a job as a man decreased. Many boys were therefore forced to stay in school a little longer.
Public spending on education also declined. This affected the quality of education because of lack of quality learning materials. What’s more, many schools were forced to close or operate understaffed due to lack of enough finances.
The family unit was also affected by the Great Depression. Many people had to delay their marriages. They had to wait until they could get better jobs for them to provide for their families. Proposing to a spouse also meant you have to be financially stable and this was not the case.
Divorce rates increased in the 1930s. Many men settled for the ‘poor man’ divorce option by running away from their families. Therefore, women and older children had to work hard, steal or settle for prostitution at least to put food on the table.
Birth rates also decreased drastically. It was even worse during the lowest point of the Great Depression. More and more Americans settled for birth control measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies and expenses that come along with many children.
Mass migration during the Great Depression continued through 1930. Many citizens were lost in Rural New England and Upstate New York.
Great Plains also lost most of its population to Arizona and California.
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