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The Great Depression Project

The Human Impact of the Great Depression

Home
Causes of the Great Depression
The Human Impact of the Great Depression
The New Deal
Conclusion

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Homelessness

     Many people became homeless because they lost their job and couldn't pay their rent.  The homeless then did anything to keep a roof over their head, including making shacks out of anything, forming Hoovervilles.  The more people that were homeless, the more competitive the job market became.  Discrimination increased during this time because  Americans were in competition for a shrinking amount of jobs.  The ones that suffered the most were the minorities (African Americans, Hispanics, and in the west, and Asian Americans).  The white laborers began demanding the low paying jobs that were normally filled with these minorities. 

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Unemployment

     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 men. 

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Hoovervilles

     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.

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Dust Bowl

     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.   

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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.