Differences Between Life Now & a Hundred Years Ago
One hundred years ago, automobiles were a new invention. In the early 1900s, only 8,000 automobiles were on the road in the United States, and only 10 miles of paved roads existed. In the early 1900s, the Sears catalog was a popular retail source that sold everything -- including houses, which ranged from $548 to $2,906. For comparison purposes, the average selling price of a house in the United States in 2010 was $134,600 to $236,500.
1 Technology and Communication
Millions of people communicate by email, text and cell phone today; but none of those mediums existed a hundred years ago. Telegrams, letters and landline telephone calls were common means of communication in 1911. People today get news from the Internet or TV, but neither of those existed a century ago. The first radio stations that broadcast news to the public weren't established until the 1920s. In the early 1900s, people got their news from print sources such as newspapers, magazines and pamphlets.
In 1911, segregation on the basis of race was legal, and women were not allowed to vote. The average household did not have indoor plumbing or electricity in 1911, both of which are consider standard in U.S. households today. In the early 1900s, only 5 percent of Americans went to college, whereas in the early 2000s, 70% of high school graduates in the U.S. went on to college.
3 Cost of Living
According to the cost-of-living calculator at the American Institute for Economic Research, $100 in 1913 (the earliest year for which data is available) is the equivalent of $2,224.24 in 2011. Further examples of price comparisons are postage for a 1 oz. letter was 2 cents in 1911 compared to 44 cents in 2011; a dozen eggs cost 36 cents in 1910 and $1.37 in 2010; a gallon of milk was 34 cents in 1910 and $2.79 a hundred years later.
4 Women's Fashion
The Edwardian look, which featured a slim and sleek silhouette, was the height of women's fashion in the early 1910s. Dresses were tight fitting and floor length with a cinched waist, and often worn with a hat with an extremely wide brim. Popular women's fashion trends in the early 2010s featured above-the-knee skirts and layering blouses with sweaters and jackets. Platform shoes in a wedge or stiletto, closed-toe or open-toe, were en vogue in the early 2010s.