Life in the 1950s…through today


The editors at Women’s Day (which I grew up reading religiously) have put together a very interesting visual timeline covering live in the 1950s…to today. Did you know that the average house size in the 50s was 983 s.f. — and that today, it’s 2,349 s.f.? TV watching per household: 4 hrs 31 minutes then… 8 hrs 14 min now. And that today, we spend 41% of our food budget away from home? Oh – and notice, the decades are defined not only by photos and statistics, but by wallpaper of the era, too. 🙂  See the complete timeline here.


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  1. Jeanne says

    They forgot to mention that 1957 was the peak birth rate year, with the most births per capita. That’s the year I was born. 🙂

  2. tailfin says

    In looking at the complete timeline, I think it’s odd that for the 1950s they include a photo of a house with a 1967 Chevy in front, yet for the 1960s, they include a photo of someone standing beside what is definitely a 1950s-era car. Someone at the magazine failed at continuity. (Sorry – details like this bug me)

  3. Juju says

    How awesome.
    I too am in shock about the egg prices.
    As for the sq. footage:
    I love little houses.
    I wouldn’t know what to do with 2,000 sq. ft.

  4. Jeanne says

    RE: egg prices. The site states “all values adjusted for inflation”. I think the prices are comparable to todays prices vs income. My dad was a school teacher and made $3,500 annual in 1950 and bought a post war, brand new, brick bungalow with a pink/black bathroom 🙂 in 1952 for $11,000.

  5. Heidi Swank says

    It would have been nice if there had been more of the same statistics across eras. The drop in percentage of income saved between the 70s (27%) and the 80s (6%) indicates that culturally something important changed in our spending habits, something that clearly hasn’t shifted back today. Was it just the impact of advertising? Can this be correlated with amount of time spent watching television, for instance? Hmm…. Very interesting.

  6. frankieswife says

    Notice how generous we were in the ’70’s with charitable contributions compared to the ’90’s…is it related to why we are in the economic mess that we find ourselves in now? Have we become stingy and less willing to give?

  7. Palm Springs Stephan says

    Tailfin, I noted the odd discontinutiy as well. Those 1967 taillights on what looks like maybe an Impala jumped right out at me.

  8. says

    Re: egg prices. I wonder if the reason we can get eggs so cheaply today is because of modern factory farming practices. I buy organic eggs, and they cost around $4.50, whereas the “regular” eggs can be a quarter of that.

  9. Lane_in_PA says

    I think it must be a typo or something about the price eggs. Found this at:

    Eggs in New Jersey were .79 cents a dozen in the ’50’s. Probably cheaper in the Chicken States. My grandparents raised their own chickens so their eggs were free.

    I could see paying $5.29 for a dozen ostrich eggs…

    • pam kueber says

      Lane – the prices are adjusted for inflation…So I guess the magazine is saying that .79 in the 1950s is worth 5.29 today…

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