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As a result, apparel's share of the pie, which hardly changed in the first half of the century, shrank in the second half by two-thirds.I have two answers: The first answer is housing and cars.Government spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid has quadrupled since the 1950s in the most meaningful measurement, which is share of GDP.
There are however massive variables depending on where one lives, with cities like Indianapolis and Tulsa being far more affordable than New York or San Francisco when you take taxes and housing costs into account. This is our story today: It is a story about how spending on food and clothing went from half the family budget in 1900 to less than a fifth in 2000. One-twelfth of households have gas or electric lights, one-twentieth have telephones, one-in-ninety own a car, and nobody owns a television.As a result, middle class wages zoom ahead of food prices, and the cost of feeding ourselves falls and falls in real terms.Census bureau numbers show a shocking disparity in the definition of 'middle income' - with Maryland boasting an average of ,469 and Mississippi posting an appallingly low ,078, a difference of ,391.This morning I summed up the last 100 years in family spending this way: "A century ago, we spent more than half our money on food and clothes. There are downsides to the farmland'sinsatiable quest for productivity.Today, we spend more than half of our money on housing and transportation. But the bottom line for most families is that our wages have grown much faster than the price of food.
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It is a story about how a nation thatfeels poor got so rich. In 1900, seen from perch of the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- which counts national jobs, income and spending -- the United States is like one big farm surrounded by a cluster of small factories. As for the budding services economy: There are more household servants than sales workers. family got smaller, more reliant on working women and computers, less reliant on working children and farms, and, most importantly, much richer. Household income (unadjusted for inflation) doubled six times in the 20th century, or once every decade and a half, on average. Compared to just five decades earlier, the United States is already a different country. The economy's share of farmers has fallen from 40% to 10%, thanks to the mechanization of the farm, led by the mighty tractor.