Examine how children were impacted during The Great Depression.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For children, life during the Great Depression was unimaginably difficult.  Millions of children grew up quickly, learning the harsh realities accompanying consciousness at an early age.  The reality of massive unemployment and lack of money ensured that families lived with other families in small living quarters.  Vagrancy was on the rise.  In 1930, Southern Pacific Railroad disclosed that it threw more than a half a million vagrants off their trains.  

Children had to learn the painful condition of vagrancy and transiency with movement being a reality of the time period.  Estimates indicate that more than 200,000 children had to live the life of vagrancy. At the same time, families that did stay together could not afford the basic elements of health and nourishment.  While divorces were not common because of social and religious restrictions, families were broken apart and children became use to the fact that families were fundamentally altered during the Great Depression.  

Hunger became part of the average child's life during the Great Depression.  Any child that was old enough to find work and fortunate enough to come across work had to engage in it as families were struggling mightily.  The realities of the time period transformed childhood into something that we still see today with poverty being such a reality.  There are still many similar elements confronting modern children born in the severe economic conditions in which their lives take place.

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