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The Progress of Illinois Homes from 1950 to Today

Jun 25, 2008
Many of us look back fondly on the innocent days of the 1950s. Whether we personally lived through them or not, the era has become romanticized as the height of "descent" American culture. Life as we know it has changed dramatically since then. Using Illinois homes as an example, here are a few changes that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Illinois homes are ethnically diverse. In 1950, fully nine out of ten Americans were white-and virtually all whites were non-Hispanic. Today, only 66 percent are non-Hispanic white, and Hispanics-who were not part of the mix in 1950-are now the largest minority. Every year the U.S. population grows by another 3 million, and Hispanics account for half the gain. Most of the increase is occurring in the nation's maternity wards, not at the border crossings.

Members of Illinois homes are richer. The median income of average Illinois homes climbed 31 percent over the past forty years, after adjusting for inflation. This is good news, but unfortunately it is also old news. Median household income peaked several years ago, in 1999. Even more alarming, the median earnings of men with full-time jobs peaked all the way back in 1986. Only one factor fueled Illinois homes income growth until 1999: working women.

Most women in Illinois homes (including mothers) work. In 1960, only 28 percent of married women with children under age 18 were in the labor force. Today, fully 67 percent have jobs. Americans once disapproved of working women, especially working mothers. That is no longer the case.

We are better educated. In 1950, only 34 percent of adults in Illinois homes had a high school diploma. Today, fully 85 percent of adults are high school graduates. The percentage of Americans with a college degree has climbed from just 6 to 28 percent.

We have more stuff. Illinois homes are bigger than ever, but they are home to fewer people. More than one in four households (27 percent) are now home to just one person, up from 11 percent in 1950. Our growing affluence has allowed us to buy larger Illinois homes, second and third cars, more television sets and other stuff.

It is obvious that overall Illinois homes have come a long way since 1950. Our rising standard of living over the decades has made Americans in general the richest people on earth. Unfortunately, accompanying the raising standards of living, Illinois homes are also experiencing rapidly rising property values, making Illinois homes difficult to afford.
About the Author
Illinois homes (http://www.illinoisproperty.com) are a good indication of overall American progress over the past fifty years. The author Art Gib is a freelance writer.
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