America in the 1950’s – the Age of Affluence

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Despite the overall perception of economic prosperity during the 1950s, some individuals were unable to benefit from this apparent affluence.

In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower assumed the presidency of the United States, signifying the first Republican Government in America in twenty years. Following the war, the nation experienced prosperity and a post-war “Baby boom” from 1945 to 1960 that led to a population surge of 40 million individuals, equating to a 30% expansion. This brought the total population to 179,323,175. Additionally, throughout the 1950s, the gross national product (GNP), which quantifies the value of all domestically produced goods and services, nearly doubled.

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In terms of manufacturing, Americans produced more than 50% of global goods. Moreover, consumer goods were widespread among various individuals. Back in 1948, merely 50% of the population possessed a car; however, by 1956, this number rose to nearly 75% for families. Similarly, the prevalence of televisions surged during this time period. Compared to previous years when only a few families owned one, over 80% had a television set in their homes in 1956.

The population experienced an increase in land ownership, leading to more luxuries like extra markets and discos. Additionally, there were significant improvements in employment opportunities and wages. In particular, wages saw a 240% rise from 1948 to 1946. Consequently, unemployment ceased to be a challenge.

Although there was a small increase in unemployment in 1954, potentially due to the influx of immigrants, Americans enjoyed the highest global standard of living. In comparison to life in Britain during the 60s, American life was three times superior. The triumph of America was widely communicated to millions around the world through movies and magazines.

Although there was an abundance of supermarkets, discos, freeways, and television shows in American society, a significant portion of the population lived below the poverty level. This underclass, comprising 22% of Americans, particularly concentrated in inner cities.

During the War, women faced the issue of being stereotyped and a significant number of them lost their jobs to men. This happened even if the women were performing well, as preference was given to retaining male employees.


In the 20th century, the United States of America had a prosperous period. Most citizens became homeowners, as houses were affordable at $100. Unemployment rates decreased, enabling many people to own cars, televisions, and other electronics. Additionally, the country made significant financial gains from its extensive exports.

The country was thriving economically, with impressive salaries and advanced technology. Furthermore, it boasted a plethora of discos, markets, and freeways.

Despite accounting for more than half of global production, a significant portion of the American population remained in a developmental stage. African Americans within American society experienced discrimination and did not receive the same level of respect as others. Many individuals lacked the financial means to cover medical expenses. Additionally, women who had demonstrated their exceptional abilities during wartime were confined to traditional gender roles focused on household duties.

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