The unemployment rate increased a lot during the great depression. People who lost their
jobs could not feed themselves, pay their rent, and support their family. This forced families together in crowded houses
or apartments. People couldn't afford to separate or get divoriced because they needed the income of everyone to pay
the rent. Men who lost their jobs often felt ashamed of themselves. And if their children or wives were working,
the men felt that their status had fallen. If the man of the house was unemployed, women went and tried to find work.
They often got fired if the employer found out that she was married. Women were often accused of taking jobs away from
The people who were hit the hardest by this depression were on the bottom of the economic ladder.
People who couldn't pay their rent moved in with their relatives. The homeless built shacks out of tar paper, cardboard,
and/or scrap material. These towns of shacks became known as Hoovervilles because the homeless believed it was the Presidents
fault for the crisis. Not only were these people living in bad conditions, but it was demoralizing not owning a house
because you couldn't pay your rent. More so for the men because they were supposed to be the providers for the family.
Living in "Hoovervilles" was very hard and stressful.
The Dust Bowl was created by a drought, over plowing of the soil, and the techniques of
farmers. When the farmers plowed the soil, they stripped the soils natural defense against bad weather, a thick layer
of prairie grasses. When the winds picked up, it also picked up the dark soil. This effected the living conditions
on the plains. The dust would living conditions very dirty. Some people would get caught in the dust storms and
were killed because they could not breathe.
Starvation and Illness
Starvation and illness hurt a lot of the country. Everyone who did not have a job was
having a hard time feeding themselves and paying the rent. If they could not eat, it made them more prone to get an
illness. If someone was unemployed, it is likely that they are living in a "Hooverville" or tight quarters where it
is easier to get sick. And living somewhere without a bathroom or running water, things were not very clean. Children
also suffered most from the long-term effects of a poor diet and no medical care.