How did neighbors act towards each other during the Great Depression?  crule? caring? etc. Interction with each other?How did neighbors act towards each other during the Great Depression?  crule?...

How did neighbors act towards each other during the Great Depression?  crule? caring? etc. Interction with each other?

How did neighbors act towards each other during the Great Depression?  crule? caring? etc.

Interction with each other?

5 Answers | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Just as with any crisis, there was a combination of taking care of your own and reaching out because we're all all in the same boat. Sometimes people who have little will help others who have less. Sometimes they will hold on to it with everything they have.
besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

My grandmother was a girl during the Great Depression. She lived in Chicago and often spoke of her relationships she had with her neighbors, friends, family, etc. She said that people often had to rely on each other for support. It was a very difficult time for people. There was little or no money for food and jobs were hard to come by. She said almost everyone she knew during this time was very caring and supportive. They needed each other to lean on and if one family could not put food on the table, they could always count on someone to help out.

The people of the depression gained a new outlook on life and many survivors still hold those same virtues today. They deny the self indulgence and immediate gratification that come from material things. Instead they focus on relationship -- with their family, with others, and most importantly, with God.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Stories of tight-knit communities weathering the storm of the Great Depression by sharing food, throwing odd jobs to the less fortunate and offering mutual religious and moral support are quite common.  That doesn't necessarily make it a pattern that can give us a blanket answer to your question.

I do think you can generally say that neighbors were less generous in the major cities, which were often hardest hit by the Depression, and where the community ties between neighbors were often the thinnest.  Conversely, rural towns where the population was less mobile and transient seemed to take better care of each other.

akannan's profile pic

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

Posted on

I think that there could be a variety of answers to such a question.  I cannot help but feel that there was a sense of internal aloneness experienced during the Great Depression.  Individuals were immersed in a financial crisis that had never been experienced and for which there was little in way of warning.  Neighbors who once were wealthy, happy, and employed saw an intense role reversal within a short period of time.  I would sense that neighbors might not be entirely able nor willing to look out to one another given the fact that their own situation might be perilous and challenging.  I am not saying that cruelty might have resulted as much as indifference and acting in self interest.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There is simply no way to answer this in a way that is accurate.  After all, it is not as if all neighbors would possibly have treated each other in the same ways.

We do hear a lot of stories about neighbors helping each other in various ways.  On the other hand, statistics tell us that the amount of petty theft went up a great deal during the Depression.  It is likely that some of that theft involved people stealing from neighbors.

But there is no way to generalize accurately.  I wonder if your textbook gives some answer that you are supposed to reproduce.

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