100 years ago . . .

. . . things were very different!  I first came across this at PandaWhale, but it’s also appeared at a large number of sites around the Internet, so I have no idea who to acknowledge as its originator.  Click on the image for a larger, more readable view.

I’m already past the average male life expectancy back then . . . long may that continue, at any rate!



  1. Don't forget the average life expectancy includes infant mortality and childhood diseases. If you survived past 12 you'd have a good chance to live almost as long as we do today.

  2. Peter, you have to remember that figure includes all the infant mortality. Really, once you got past the age of five you probably were going to live into your late 60s or 70s. Women had the added burden of getting past their childbearing years. And in my family, the first pregnancy was a fifty – fifty chance of being stillborn.

  3. Adjust today's wages for inflation. We were on a gold standard then. Had a Captain that ordered me to compute a SSgt's pay to hourly wages and then adjust for inflation back to 1941.
    Twas an eye opener.

  4. 230 murders yet you had essentially unrestricted access to any sort of firearm including machine guns and you could walk into your local drug store and walk out with pounds of heroin, morphine, cocaine and amphetamines under your arm. I would add that one could walk into the hardware store and buy dynamite too. Hmmmm.

    My God, America must've really been something to see back when it was free. Sorry I missed it.

  5. The key there is "reported" murders. There were neighborhoods there where you could reasonably expect an anonymous death and the powers that were would not care. We're getting back to that.

  6. To expand on what TenMile said, here is the breakdown for how to convert the Gold Standard Dollar to one 'dollar' of FRN:

    Gold closed at $1070 today. In 1910 the 1 troy ounce Gold Double Eagle had a face value of $20. 1070/20=53.5 So, $53.50 FRN's today have the buying power of ONE Gold Standard Dollar.

    $.22/hour translates into $11.70FRN's/hr. Not stellar, but certainly not 'minimum wage'.

    $400/year = $21,000FRN. Again, nothing stellar, but not exactly demeaning either.

    But that $.22/hr claim translates (with a normal 40/hr week for 52 weeks) into an even more livable $24,336FRN's. (which strangely falls outside the range of 'average' in the very next statement??)

  7. In 1915 a "journalist" would be expected to get all those numbers right and make note of the discrepancies like the difference between the "murder" rate and the "violent death" rate. Then as now "he needed killing" is a valid defense if you can make the case clearly to the judge and if you do the killing was then NOT a murder.

    Ancient Greek literature makes reference to a mans allotted three score and ten years. Today that's more like four score and five so life expectancy has gone up barring bad luck.

  8. That year or just immediately prior to it was when my own grandfather emigrated from Bavaria to the US, one step ahead of the Kaiser's conscription squads I suspect.
    He settled in the midwest, apprenticed to the baker's trade, and became a successful businessman, living through two world wars and the great depression.
    He was about 75 when he passed. I say about as he was a bit sketchy about his exact birth date. Had something to do with his exact age when he entered the country I believe.

  9. I find the education level the most interesting. I didn't realize how remarkable it was that three of my four grandparents attended college.

    Of course, one grandfather didn't put a lot of thought into his choice. He ended up at Weber State (about 1913) because when he and his brother came through Ogden, UT on the train they saw a circus was in town and they'd never seen a circus.

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