America during the 1950s was a country that was rapidly becoming more affluent. Americans had never had as many material goods as were available to them after WWII. With the economy growing and people becoming more affluent, it felt like a richer country because of the optimism brought on by growth.
At the same time, this was an era of anxiety. This was particularly true because of international issues. This was the time of “duck and cover” and the fear of nuclear war. Domestically, there were the McCarthy era fears of communist takeover.
Thus, there was great anxiety even at a time of growing prosperity.