Video Call Confirmation

To continue, please confirm that you are 18 years or older.

Private Content

40 Vintage Photos of American Children During the Great Depression Era_Ha

The economic collapse of the 1930s was staggering in its dimensions. Unemployment jumped from less than 3 million in 1929 to 4 million in 1930, 8 million in 1931, and 12 1/2 million in 1932. In that year, a quarter of the nation’s families did not have a single employed wage earner. The economic collapse was terrifying in its scope and impact. By 1933 average family income had tumbled 40 percent, from $2,300 in 1929 to just $1,500 four years later.

American children in the 1930s

In the Pennsylvania coal fields, three or four families crowded together in one-room shacks and lived on wild weeds. In Arkansas, families were found inhabiting caves. In Oakland, California, whole families lived in sewer pipes. Vagrancy shot up as many families were evicted from their homes for nonpayment of rent. Free public flophouses and missions in Los Angeles provided beds for 200,000 of the uprooted.

To save money, families neglected medical and dental care. Many families sought to cope by planting gardens, canning food, buying used bread, and using cardboard and cotton for shoe soles. Despite a steep decline in food prices, many families did without milk or meat. In New York City, milk consumption declined a million gallons a day.

The Depression had a powerful impact on family life. It forced couples to delay marriage and drove the birthrate below the replacement level for the first time in American history. The divorce rate fell, for the simple reason that many couples could not afford to maintain separate households or pay legal fees. But rates of desertion soared. By 1940, 1.5 million married women were living apart from their husbands. More than 200,000 vagrant children wandered the country as a result of the breakup of their families.

These amazing vintage photos from San Marcos Daily Record show what American children looked like during The Great Depression era.

Boy giving a horse some hay


Boy holding a pale, feeding pigs


Boy holding a small hammer, kneeling next to a couple wood planks


Boy holding a stick, walking through a forest


Boy kneeling outside, wearing a coat and hat, next to a stuffed or paper-made bunny on Easter


Boy laying down in between two haystacks


Boy looking into an pig's animal pen


Boy playing with a toy slingshot, standing on a river bank


Boy sitting in a saddle, on top of a horse


Boy sitting in child-size chair, holding a tool at a workbench


Boy sitting in front of a mirror, holding a comb


Boy sitting on a pale in front of a workbench


Boy sitting on ground outside, holding two sticks


Boy sitting on wooden steps, petting a cat outside


Boy standing on a wooden fence, petting a horse inside a pen


Boy standing on top of a large rock, holding a camera up to his face


Boy standing outside, holding the handle to a wagon with a dog inside


Boy wearing a straw hat, pulling on a metal line, presumably part of a well


Boy wearing a straw hat, sitting outside with a stick


Boy wearing a swim suit, standing on top of a boat named 22 C 464 Fulton


Boy wearing sunglasses, sitting on porch swing


Child holding a fish outside


Child sitting in water with a woman laying on a walkway above him


Child standing inside an automobile


Children playing on a low hanging tree branch


Little boy looking up at a cat standing on a wooden fence


Little boy sitting in top of a horse with an unidentified individual holding the horse's bridle


Little boy sitting in toy car on carousel at amusement park


Little boy sitting on a pile of cut wood with a dog next to him


Little boy sitting on the ground, wearing a hat and drinking from a bottle


Little boy sitting on tool workbench


Smiling boy sitting on wooden steps and patio with various toys


Smiling girl sitting in a boat on a trailer


Two boys kneeling behind a line of fish in the grass


Two boys playing with a puppy


Two boys pulling a blanket with a dog on top of it


Two boys wheel around a small wagon of wood together


Two little boys sitting on top of a wooden fence, looking down at a turkey


Two little boys standing next to a wagon full of wood, with a dog on top of it


Two little girls standing next to a child-size chair with a doll on it

Related Posts