The Great Depression was a period when American economy went through a crisis. The output of goods and services dropped for four years until 1933. The gross national product (GNP) reduced by 40 percent from 1929 to 1933 and it took 8 more years till 1941 for the GNP to get back to its 1929 level.
It was the worst and the longest economic collapse in the industrial world. The depression spread to other countries too as many industrialized economies were interlinked and dependent on one another.
The hardships caused by the Great Depression left an invisible scar on the generations passing through it. Unemployment was at a peak of 25 percent of the work force in 1933. There were nearly 15 million people without jobs. The industrial cities of the East and Midwest were the hardest hit. The loss of job brought poverty to millions of house holds.
The depression meant hunger, malnutrition, overcrowding, and poor health. It gave rise to widespread poverty and suffering. Although few people died from starvation, many did not have enough to eat. People even searched garbage dumps for food or ate weeds. Since people lost jobs, the mortgages on many homes were foreclosed. Homeless people shacks out of old crates and formed shanty towns.
The farmers went through a worse time. The price of their goods, which was already low, fell further by 50 percent. There were people going hungry but at the same time surplus food could not be sold for a profit.
The effects of the Great Depression on children were different. Many children took bigger responsibilities. Some teenagers were able to find jobs when their parents could not because business owners would hire these children at lower wages compared to their parents.
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