Now And Then – A Brief Look At How Far We Have Come In 100 Years

November 19, 2020

History is so easily forgotten. Many of us have a hard time remembering what we did just 12 hours ago, let alone several years or even decades ago.

While we usually have no problem recollecting the bigger milestone’s in America’s history, it’s the less popular ones that sometimes deserve the most recognition…or at least need a subtle reminder.

In the hustle-and-bustle of the present day, we occasionally lose our appreciation for how we got here. We take certain freedoms and luxuries for granted, we complain about the smallest things, and overall we just tend to forget how lucky the modern world really is.

So America’s Footprints did some statistical research to better gauge just how far our country how progressed and how things have changed.

Looking back through 100 years of history and comparing 2014 to 1904, here are 15 astonishing figures we dug up for the United States:

  1. In 1904, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years. Today, it hovers around 79 years.
  2. The maximum speed limit in most 1904 cities was 10 mph. Presently it ranges between 25 and 35 mph.
  3. In 1904, only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub. As of 2014, it is closer to 82%.
    old vintage phone
  4. In 1904, only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. Presently, 60% of homes have a landline telephone. However, that number continues to decrease as mobile technology becomes the new norm.
  5. 100 years ago, Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. But currently, the state of California is ranked #11 in population density while the others are ranked 20 and higher.
  6. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30 people in 1904. As of 2014, it has ballooned to over 583,000 residents (and that does not include visitors or vacationers).
  7. In 1904, crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented. There was also no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
  8. There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S in 1904. According to one of the studies we found, there are approximately 254 million registered vehicles on the roads today.
  9. 100 years ago, there were only 144 miles of paved roads across the country. Presently, the U.S. has about 4.09 million miles of road, 2.65 million miles of which are paved.
  10. Construction workers were paid an average of $0.22 cents for each hour of work in 1904. In 2014, the average hourly rate was $26.70.
    1900s construction worker
  11. The average U.S. employee worker made between $200 and $400 per year in 1904. Today, the median household income is just over $50,000 per year.
  12. A competent dentist could expect to earn $2000 per year in 1904, which was also in line with the salaries of other medical professionals. But with an average salary of $164,570 in 2014, dentists now earn far more than most other health care workers.
  13. More than 95% of all births in the U.S. took place at home. But over the past several years, home childbirth occurs less than 1% of the time.
  14. In 1904, most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. In 2014, women on average wash their hair 2.5 times a week, and tend to use ingredients that increase the shine, strength, and silkiness – while also reducing dandruff.
  15. 100 years ago, only 6% of all Americans had graduated high school. Presently, that number is just under 80%.
    1904 high school students

It’s important to remember that progress and change do not happen overnight. So whether you are looking for a change in your career, to take that next step in a new relationship, or something more personal, just give it time.

Yes – things will take longer than you expected. But a new beginning could be right around the corner. So keep moving forward, but never forget to give credit to the historic journey that got all of us here.

So what was the most shocking statistic for you?