Has the Standard of Living in the US Improved Over the Years?

Imagine nearly 50 years ago, having a new electric icebox was something that had to be displayed somewhere for everyone to see. But who doesn’t have a refrigerator today?

As the nation is recovering from its worst recession in decades, the country’s standard of living is better than it ever was.

Studies found that nearly 30% of Americans expected that they could live a comfortable lifestyle with an annual salary of less than $50,000 a year. Over a third of the population thinks they must earn double the amount to make them more comfortable.

What makes today different than it was thirty years ago?

Think of how much richer the country has become today, when compared to how it was in the 1980s. Since the election of former President Ronald Reagan and the growth of baby boomers, almost 80 million baby boomers were born from 1946 to 1964.

Not only has income increased, but also the lifestyle you can have for the same amount of money from $25,000 to $100,000.

The wealth of the computer era and other tech-related innovation made today’s generation entirely prosperous that is hard even to remember life without technology years ago. Back in the 80s, 2.5 gigabytes of a computer power would cost $214,000 and would take up the entire room. Today, you can pay $7 for the same capacity in a small USB flash drive.

As more Americans fly twice as many miles as they did in the 1980s, there are also more vehicles in the U.S. than there are drivers.

Frugal America


However, despite how the recession has changed, our expectations and attitudes towards money stay the same. Many Americans don’t feel as productive as they were when they grew up or even a decade ago.

Even for people who earn well over $100,000 a year has the same behavior of those with half their income. It seems that American has grown to make a permanent habit of frugality as the standard of living changed, making them not want to live far on the edge as they used to.

Growth of Automakers


Even with modest incomes, buyers are choosing small cars that are eco-friendly and save money on gas. They prefer the cheaper cars then provide upgrades on safety, global positioning satellite systems, and entertainment systems.

Most often, buyers are taking their savings used from downsizing their models to enhancing the features of the vehicle. The customer wants the amenities and to save space.

Everyday Luxuries


What used to be considered as luxuries soon became every necessity for the home. With the decline in the cost of food and clothing, also became the result of cheaper production from overseas manufacturers and discount retailers.

Today, the average person can spend as much as $1,000 a year on essential items such as clothing, gear, etc. the necessary things now have become inexpensive as consumers focus their income on the quality of life – such as health care, housing, and recreation.

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