urban crop 86973980 750x500The Harvest Field of the Poor: Urban Statistics

A key part of understanding the field of urban mission, is to understand where we've come from and where we are heading culturally. Our gospel message does not change, but the contextualization of the message is communicated more creatively when we better understand the times we are in and who we are talking to. We have put together statistics for a resource for those who are involved in mission in any way, and trust that these stats can be informative.


General facts about urban populations

Complex, ethnic diversity makes up America’s urban poor communities. Well
over 160 distinct languages spoken, numbering well over 60 million people, drawn
to urban areas for economic, social reasons, the vast majority of which never
attend any kind of religious service, let alone a Christian one.

Changing demographics

  • In 1900, when the U.S. population was 76 million, there were an estimated
    500,000 Hispanics.[49, Latinos and the Changing Face of America - Population
    Reference Bureau ] The Census Bureau projects that by 2050, one-quarter of
    the population will be of Hispanic descent.
  • ~[50, http://www.coxwashington.com/blogs/content/shared-
    gen/blogs/austin/immigration/ entries/2007/ 09/07/
  • This demographic shift is largely fueled by immigration from Latin America
  • The Census Bureau estimates the US population will grow from 281 million in
    2000 to 397 mil in 2050 with expected immigration, but only to 328 mil with zero
    immigration.[citation needed] "If we have zero immigration with today's low
    birthrates the American population would eventually begin to shrink."
    ~[54, Mary E. Williams, Immigration. (San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004).
    Page 83.]
  • A new report from the Pew Research Center projects that by 2050, non-Hispanic
    whites will account for 47% of the population, down from the 2005 figure of 67%.
    ~[55, Pew Research Center: Immigration to Play Lead Role In Future U.S.
    Growth, http://pewresearch.org/pubs/729/ united-states-population-projections]
  • Non-Hispanic whites made up 85% of the population in 1960.
    ~[56, U.S. Hispanic population to triple by 2050, USATODAY.com]
  • It foresees the Hispanic population rising from 14% in 2005 to 29% by 2050.
    ~[57, Study Sees Non-Hispanic Whites Shrinking to Minority Status in U.S. -
    February 12, 2008, The New York Sun]
  • The Asian population is expected to more than triple by 2050. Overall, the
    population of the United States is due to rise from 296 million in 2005 to 438
    million, with 82% of the increase coming from immigrants.
    ~[58, Whites to become minority in U.S. by 2050, Reuters,
  • In 35 of the country's 50 largest cities, non-Hispanic whites were at the last
    census or are predicted to be in the minority.
    ~[59, Asthana, Anushka (2006-08-21). "Changing Face of Western Cities".
    Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
    dyn/content/article/2006/08/20/AR2006082000629.html. ]
  • In California, non-Hispanic whites slipped from 80% of the state's population in
    1970 to 43% in 2006.

Gracefully Passing the Baton

~Perspective, George Barna, April 26, 2004

Here’s the bottom line: our generation’s time on the throne is quickly coming to an end. In 2011 the first Boomer will reach age 65. By 2015, 15 million of us will be 65-plus; by 2020, 31 million; by 2025, the U.S. will harbor a mid-sized nation within its borders of 65-plus Boomers (an estimated 48 million).

If all went according to plan, we’d be hard at work implementing the world’s most sophisticated and superbly executed transition plan to install the new strata of leaders. We are brilliant strategists and tacticians – just ask us. No generation has ever risen to the heights of excellence that we have, when we put our minds to it. The Builders were a can-do, get-it-done generation. But the Boomers are the ultimate take-no-prisoners generation when it comes to shaping society – and, in some cases, the world.

But where is that transition plan? Who is working it to perfection? When are we planning to hand over the keys to the kingdoms we have built these last several decades? Who are the successors we are preparing to stand on our shoulders and build on the foundations we have laid – as our fathers did with us?

You’d think that since we are the richest generation in world history, and we have acquired more toys, amenities, comforts, security mechanism and pleasure options than we can even quantify, we’d be excited about helping our children to follow in our footsteps.

It makes sense. But it’s not happening.

Interesting Statistics About Pastors

December 9, 2007 | Posted by michaelp · Filed Under Ministry

According to Shiloh Place Ministries (shilohplace.org), which drew its information from Focus on the Family, Ministries Today, Charisma Magazine, TNT Ministries, and other respected groups: (HT: Historicity)

  • 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America.
  • 4,000 new churches start each year in America.
  • 7,000 churches close each year in America.
  • 50% of pastors’ marriages end in divorce.
  • 70% of pastors continually battle depression.
  • 80% of pastors and 85% of their spouses feel discouraged in their roles.
  • 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.
  • 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way to make a living.
  • 80% of pastors spend under 15 minutes a day in prayer.
  • 70% of pastors only study God’s Word when preparing a message.
  • Nearly 40% of pastors have had an extra-marital sexual affair since entering ministry.
  • 80% of seminary graduates who enter ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • 80% of pastors’ wives feel their husbands are overworked.
  • 80% of the adult children of pastors sought professional help for depression.
  • 90% of pastors said their training was inadequate for ministry.
  • 85% of pastors report that their biggest problem is dealing with abstinent elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors.
  • 90% of pastors said the hardest thing about ministry is uncooperative people.
  • 70% of pastors are grossly underpaid.
  • 80% of pastors’ wives feel unappreciated by the congregation.
  • 90% of pastors said ministry was completely different from what they thought it would be.
  • Only 70% of pastors felt called of God into ministry when they began.
  • Only 50% of pastors felt called of God into ministry three years later.
  • 80% of pastors’ wives feel pressured to be someone they are not and do things they are not called to do in the church.
  • Over 50% of pastors’ wives feel that their husbands entering ministry was the most destructive thing to ever happen to their families.

The Status of the Church Today?

The following statistics and comments were gathered by David Bryant in his book, “Christ is All - A Joyful Manifesto on The Supremacy of God’s Son.”

In a recent study only 35% of Evangelical youth were committed to the exclusivity of Jesus Christ.
As a percentage of those who express faith in Christ in North America, only 3-6% are under the age of 30. This is the smallest number of any time in American history.
Every month 1,400 clergy leave the ministry.
Every week more than 50,000 people leave the Church, never to return.
Over 80% of churches in the U.S. are either stagnate or in decline.
With every passing year there are approximately 3,000 fewer churches in America than the year before.
In proportion to the population there are fewer than half as many churches today as there were a century ago.
According to the book “Lost in America,” the U.S. is so extensively unchurched that if non-Christians in our land were to form a nation by themselves, it would become the largest mission field in the english speaking world.
All of the above is happening despite the fact that U.S. churches have spent over $500 billion on itself in the past ten years, primarily to shore up the internal commitment of parish members.

Orientation to The Urban Ministry Institute

World Impact created The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) to overcome four
barriers that urban church leaders face in their efforts to receive theological

  • Cost (many will never afford a traditional seminary education).
  • Educational requirements (many of God's chosen leaders in the inner city have
    little more than a high school education and would not be admitted to institutions
    of higher education).
  • Proximity (most urban leaders have a full-time ministry, a family, and a full-time
    job, so uprooting their family and abandoning their ministry to go away to Bible
    college is out of the question).
  • Cultural relevance (most of what is taught in traditional American seminaries does
    not equip an urban pastor to lead a flock in the inner city, so even if someone
    could afford to go to Bible school, what is taught there is not relevant to daily life
    in the city).

In 1995 we launched TUMI in Wichita, Kansas, and have trained over dozens of
Christian workers, urban missionaries, and pastors there. In 2000 we began
establishing satellite Bible institutes in other inner cities around the country. To
date, we have launched 94 such satellites in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Pakistan,
Honduras, Kenya, Ghana, Guatemala, Bolivia, Liberia, and India.

We offer a variety of training materials available at our website (www.tumi.org),
but our core seminary-level curriculum is called The Capstone Curriculum. It is
comprised of 16 modules under four subject areas: Biblical Studies, Theology
and Ethics, Christian Ministry, and Urban Mission. We also offer a host of
personal and ministry resources at www.tumi.org/products and tumi.org/art.

A Powerpoint presentation viewable on the web that gives background on the
opening of TUMI satellites, as well as general info about the Capstone curriculum
is located at:

This url provides samples of the Capstone curriculum, with both a written and
video sample, at: www.tumi.org/capstonesample

What it used to be, what it would be, what it will be?

Take a quick tour of the World Today: What if the Entire World Were a Village of 100 People?

~Prism. Providence Health Care, Spring 1996.

  • 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from North and South America, and 8 African
  • 70 would be non-white, 30 white
  • 70 non-Christian, 30 Christian
  • 50% of the wealth would be in the hands of 6 people, all Americans
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 80 would live in substandard housing

The World Is Becoming Urban

  • Right now, there are 111,000 non-Christians becoming urban dwellers every single day (this number will triple within the next 30 years)
  • In 1900 there were only 20 cities in the entire world over one million people; Today, there are 360 cities with over one million people
  • By the year 2025, there will be 650 urban areas with more than one million people
  • In 1900, approximately 20 million people lived in urban slums; Today, some 715 million are classified as urban slum dwellers. By 2025 over two billion people will live in urban slums and the total number of urban dwellers in poverty will be over three billion people.
  • By the time I reach retirement age (i.e., 2025) one out of every three people on earth will be part of the urban poor, and three-fourths of the world’s total population will live in cities

The Church in America

Grace and peace to each of you in the Lord Jesus.

I’m typing to each of you pastors because of your influence upon the people of God. Recently a brother in the Lord sent me this chilling information about the “Church” in America from a book he read by David Kinnaman (with the Barna group) called, Unchristian. He mentioned that over 2/3's of Americans aged 18 and older "have made a commitment to Jesus Christ at some point in their life." However only 3 percent of that group embraced all 8 components of the biblical world view that:

  • Jesus Christ lived a sinless life
  • God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and he still rules it today
  • Salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned
  • Satan is real
  • A Christian has a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people
  • The Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches
  • Unchanging moral truth exists
  • Such moral truth is defined by the Bible

In principle, Satan and his hostile cosmic forces have been defeated through Christ’s ministry, death and resurrection. Though Jesus dealt a fatal blow, Satan is still viewed as “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), “the ruler of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) and still controls “the whole world” (I Jn. 5:19) and commands a rebel kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13). This Satanic kingdom is heavily at work in trying to decieve believers, “Now the Spirit expressly say that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of deamons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.” (I Tim. 4:1-2). From the statistics listed above, the enemy is doing a good job.

BUT NOT WITH US!! NOT WITHIN OUR CHURCHES AND ASSOCIATIONS! We will, “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3). This is why:

  • Our Theological Commitment as members of the UCA, “we commit to defend the “Great Tradition” (the faith that has been believed, in all places, by all people, at all times) as expressed in the Nicene Creed.
  • We equip emerging leaders in our churches through The Urban Ministry Institute.

The Spirit of the Lord is calling us in these “later times” to preach and teach with all boldness, passion and clarity the Word of God and to defend what the Church has always believed:

  • Jesus Christ lived a sinless life
  • God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the Universe and He still rules it today
  • Salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned
  • Satan is real
  • A Christian has a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people
  • The Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches
  • Unchanging moral truth exists
  • Such moral truth is defined by the Bible

May our Great God and King be glorified and honored through your labors for the gospel.

"....not of those who shrink back...." Hebrews 10:39

Rev. Bob Engel, N.W. Regional V.P
World Impact, Inc., Coordinator of Ministries, LA

The Church Today

The Congregations, the Leaders, and the Body

Largest 25 Denominations/Communions from the 2007 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches

1. The Catholic Church, 69,135,254 members, reporting an increase of 1.94 percent.

2. The Southern Baptist Convention, 16,270,315 members, reporting an increase of .02 percent.

3. The United Methodist Church, 8,075,010 members, reporting a decrease of 1.36 percent.

4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5,690,672 members, reporting an increase of 1.63 percent.

5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

6. National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., 5,000,000 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,850,776, reporting a decrease of 1.62 percent.

8. National Baptist Convention of America, 3,500,000, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

9. Presbyterian Church (USA), 3,098,842 members, reporting a decrease of 2.84 percent.

10. Assemblies of God, 2,830,861 members, reporting an increase of 1.86 percent.

11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

13. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

14. The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,440,864, reporting a decrease of .93 percent.

15. Episcopal Church, 2,247,819, reporting a decrease of 1.59 percent.

16. Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, reporting an increase of 9.30 percent. First updated report since 1999

17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

18. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,432,795 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

20. American Baptist Churches in the USA, 1,396,700, reporting a decrease of 1.97 percent.

21. United Church of Christ, 1,224,297, reporting a decrease of 3.28 percent.

22. Baptist Bible Fellowship International, 1,200,000, no increase or decrease
reported. No updated report.

23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 1,071,615 members, no increase or decrease reported. No updated report.

24. The Orthodox Church in America, 1,064,000 members, reporting an increase of 6.40 percent. No updated report.

25. Jehovah's Witnesses, 1,046,006 members, reporting an increase of 1.56 members.

The total number of members reported within the largest 25 communions is 149,222,807 with an averall increase of .82 percent.

~The 2007 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches costs $50 and may be ordered at www.electronicchurch.org

The Church: Q&A


How many religious congregations are there in the United States?

There is no official directory for all the congregations in the county, so sociologists of religion have to rely on statistical estimates extrapolated from surveys. These are often disputed, and to complicate matters, thousands of new churches open each year, while thousands of others close. Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 335,000 religious congregations in the United States. Of those, about 300,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 22,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000.
~Want to know more? An excellent discussion of where these figures come from and how they were arrived at can be found in Kirk Hadaway’s and Penny Marler’s excellent article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 44, Number 3, September 2005, pp. 307-322.

What’s the size of U.S. churches?

The median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship on Sunday mornings, according to the National Congregations Study http://www.soc.duke.edu/natcong/ . Notice that researchers measured the median church size — the point at which half the churches are smaller and half the churches are larger — rather than the average (186 attenders reported by the USCLS survey http://www.uscongregations.org/charact-cong.htm ), which is larger due to the influence of very large churches. But while the United States has a large number of very small churches, most people attend larger churches. The National Congregations Study estimated that the smaller churches draw only 11 percent of those who attend worship. Meanwhile, 50 percent of churchgoers attended the largest 10% of congregations (350 regular participants and up).
~Want to know more? Check the websites for the National Congregations Study at http://www.soc.duke.edu/natcong/ The US Congregational Life Survey (USCLS) website has statistics about congregations by religious traditions at http://www.uscongregations.org/charact-cong.htm

Are U.S. churches multiracial?

Sadly, no. Eleven o’clock Sunday morning continues to be the most segregated hour in America. A study by sociologist Michael Emerson showed that churches where 20 percent of members were of a racial minority comprised only 7 percent of U.S. congregations. Overall, 5 percent of Protestant churches and 15 percent of Roman Catholic churches were multi-racial. But Sociologist Scott Thumma found that megachurches, in the 2005 “Megachurches Today” study, may be changing that balance. In his study, 35 percent of megachurches claimed to have 20 percent or more minorities. What’s more, 56 percent of megachurches said they were making an intentional effort to become multi-racial.
~Want to know more? Read People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States by Michael Emerson, (Princeton University Press, 2006) Also, read the Megachurches Today report at http://hirr.hartsem.edu//megachurch/megachurches_research.html

How many seminaries are there in the United States?

The Association of Theological Schools reported 251 member schools in the United States and Canada in 2005. (In the U.S., there were 215.) The vast majority of those schools are accredited. Others are working toward accreditation. Of those schools, 141 were Protestant, 53 were non-denominational or inter-denominational, 54 were Roman Catholic, and three were Orthodox Christian. Enrollment in all 251 member schools was 81,302 in 2005.
~Want to know more? Go to the website for the Association of Theological Schools, http://www.ats.edu and click on the 2005/06 Annual Data Tables. You can also find a page with links to all these seminaries at http://www.ats.edu/member_schools/alpha.asp

How many clergymen and women are there in the United States?

The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches http://www.electronicchurch.org/ recently reported that there were 600,000 clergy serving in various denominations in the United States. But that figure included retired clergy, chaplains in hospitals, prisons and the military, denominational executives, and ordained faculty at divinity schools and seminaries. The 600,000 figure did not include independent churches, not tied to a denomination. “There’s no way to know how many there are,” said Jackson Carroll, professor emeritus of religion and society at Duke Divinity School. In addition, the figures provided by the denominations to the Yearbook may not be that accurate, Carroll said. Nevertheless, at present it is the best figure to use.
~Want to know more? Read chapter 3 in Jackson Carroll’s God’s Potters: Pastoral Leadership and the Shaping of Congregations, (W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006) or see the brief article about the book at http://hirr.hartsem.edu/louisville/newsletter3-2.htm#featured. The Pulpit and Pew website http://www.pulpitandpew.duke.edu/ has additional information about the characteristics and state of American clergy.

What’s the definition of a megachurch, and how many are there in the United States?

Megachurches are not all alike, but they do share some common features. Hartford Seminary Sociologist Scott Thumma who compiled the 2005 “Megachurches Today” survey defines a megachurch as a congregation with at least 2,000 people attending each Sunday. These churches tend to have a charismatic senior minister and an active array of social and outreach ministries seven days a week.

At latest count, there were 1,210 Protestant churches in the United States with a weekly attendance of 2,000 people or more. That’s nearly twice the number five years ago, suggesting people are receptive to this new way of worship. The average megachurch had a Sunday attendance of 3,585. But not all megachurches are mega. The survey found that only 16 percent of megachurches had 5,000 people in attendance on a given Sunday.
~Want to know more? Read a detailed description of megachurches at: http://www.hirr.hartsem.edu/megachurch/megachurches.html To find out more about the number of megachurches go to: http://hirr.hartsem.edu/megachurch/megastoday2005_summaryreport.html

Where are megachurches located?

By 2005, megachurches had become a religious phenomenon spread across the US. All but five states have congregations with more than 2,000 people in attendance on a Sunday morning, according to the 2005 “Megachurches Today” study. The four states with the greatest concentrations of megachurches were California (14 percent), Texas (13 percent), Florida (7 percent), and Georgia (6 percent). But researchers found that megachurches are becoming more popular, not only in Sunbelt states, but across the country. The following map shows the locations of all the U.S. megachurches. Each black dot represents a church, with the large black masses indicating multiple churches within an area:
~Want to know more? Go to: http://hirr.hartsem.edu/megachurch/megastoday2005_summaryreport.html

The World of the Future: Dramatically Diverse, Thoroughly Urban

~More than 360 cities of more than one million inhabitants, 250 can be said to be
of worldwide significance

~Center of human population: Predicted numbers in terms of millions of the
world’s ten largest agglomerations by the year 2000

  • Mexico City--27.6 million people
  • Sao Paulo--26 million
  • Tokyo/Yokohama--24 million
  • New York area--23 million
  • Shanghai--23 million
  • Beijing--20 million
  • Rio de Janeiro--19 million
  • Greater Bombay–17 million
  • Calcutta--17 million
  • Jakarta--17 million

It is impossible to think reasonably of modern civilization without referring to great
cities of the world--Washington, New York, Seoul, Cairo, Brasilia, Istanbul,
Moscow, Stockholm, London, Paris, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and
so on. Cities are significant because of their strategic import:

  • Cultural cities (leading the world in fashion, trends, and ideas) e.g., Paris, Oxford, Boston, San Francisco
  • Political and Administrative cities (centers of worldwide decision making bodies, or which contain governments and their bureaucracies) e.g., Washington, Moscow, New Delhi
  • Industrial cities (noisy, blue-collar, factory centers host to central manufacturing industries) e.g., Bombay, Sao Paulo, Chicago-Gary Area)
  • Commercial cities (giant marketplaces or bazaars where goods and services are bartered and exchanged on a worldwide basis) e.g., New York, Hong Kong
  • Symbolic cities (cities where great struggles are fought and settled and symbolized, or which represent issues of division, oppression, warfare, religious hatred, or freedom within their countries or to the rest of the world) e.g., Soweto, Belfast, Berlin, Beirut, Jerusalem
  • Primary cities (cities which combine all of the preceding characteristics, and can be said to be the greatest of the great cities) e.g., Bangkok, Mexico City, London

The cities of America are microcosms of the globe, filled with all the world’s
complicated diversity

  • Miami is the defacto capital of Latin America
  • According to conservative estimates, at least one million Hispanics pour illegally over the 2400 mile border between Mexico and U.S. each year
  • Los Angeles, with its 4.5 million Hispanics, is now the second largest Mexican city, while Houston is the fastest growing one
  • Diverse populations make up the typical American city. Over 100 languages are spoken by the residents of Los Angeles, and four-fifths of all of Houston’s schoolchildren are either Hispanic, Black, or Asian
  • Twenty years ago, in May of 1982, a NY Times survey of Chinatown found refugees from every province of mainland China within a four block area in the middle of NY city
  • Chicago has as many Native American’s as all but the very largest reservations in the country, and more Poles than virtually any other place with the exception of Warsaw
  • Most American cities of any size, (2 million or more) host diverse cultural and ethnic populations

Weird Deployment Strategies

In spite of these numbers of lost at our doorsteps, the vast majority of works are
not serving in urban poor communities, either here or abroad.

  • As of 2000, 419,000 Christian workers are serving God outside of their home countries (this numbers includes missionaries of all traditions, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, independent, and marginal Christian). The U.S. is the largest mission sending and receiving country on earth, sending 118,200 missionaries to other countries and received 33,200. Most workers go to the least needy fields, though over 60% of all people live in cities!
  • Hank Voss had given TUMI 2007 research showing 141,000 people moving to cities every day: 141,000 x 354 days / 100 people per church = 514,650 new urban pastors needed per year (not including pastors needed for the people who already lived in those cities).

April 2009 Report from the Association of Theological Schools

  • 53% saw their endowments drop from 21-30% between June 2008 and March 2009
  • Another 15% experienced a deeper drop
  • Seminaries “on the edge” were forced to cut faculty and staff, freeze or reduce wages and benefits
  • Many schools had to defer maintenance and reduce other spending especially on libraries.
  • The average ATS member school spends 60-70% on institutional support and only 30-40% on educational programs ~ Data taken The Christian Century Magazine; http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=8211, Editor's Desk, February 23, 2010

What the World Was Like When My Father Was One Year Old: 1906

Dr. Don L. Davis; Adapted from The Chronicle, Vol. 12, no. 1. January 2007, p. 12.

  • The average life expectancy was 47 years.
  • Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub. Only 8 percent of the homes had a
  • There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads. The maximum
    speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
  • The average wage in was 22 cents per hour.
  • The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
  • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian betwe $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
  • Ninety percent of all doctors had no college education! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and the government as "substandard."
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering their country for any reason.
  • Five leading causes of death were pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease, and stroke.
  • The American flag had 45 stars.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30.
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea had not been invented yet.
  • There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
  • Two out of every 10 adults could not read nor write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.
  • Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
  • There were about 230 reported murders in the entire US.