Q: What are the main ways people got through the last great depression if they could not find a regular job?
During the Great Depression, individuals and families had to find ways to survive despite the scarcity of jobs and the economic hardships they faced. Here are some of the main ways people coped during that time:
Unemployment Relief Programs: Ggovernments implemented various relief programs to provide assistance to those who were unemployed.
Self-Sufficiency: Many people turned to self-sufficiency as a means of survival. Families grew their own food by cultivating gardens or keeping backyard livestock. They preserved food through canning and drying to ensure they had enough to eat. People also shared resources and formed cooperative communities to support each other.
Migration: Some individuals and families left their homes in search of better opportunities. They moved to regions where employment prospects were relatively better, such as cities with emerging industries or agricultural areas where there was a demand for labor. However, migration was not always successful, and many faced hardship and competition for limited job opportunities.
Barter and Local Economies: In the absence of cash and widespread unemployment, barter systems and local economies thrived. People exchanged goods and services directly without using money. Bartering allowed individuals to acquire essential items or services they needed by trading goods they had or skills they possessed.
Informal Work and Odd Jobs: People resorted to taking on informal work and odd jobs to earn whatever income they could. This could include tasks such as babysitting, yard work, house cleaning, or day labor. Some individuals engaged in small-scale entrepreneurship, such as selling homemade crafts or offering services like sewing or repairing.
Community Support: Communities came together to support each other during the Great Depression. Mutual aid societies, churches, and local charities provided assistance in the form of food, clothing, and shelter. Community-led efforts, such as soup kitchens and breadlines, offered free meals to those in need.
Resourcefulness and Frugality: People became extremely resourceful and practiced frugality to make ends meet. They reused and repaired items instead of buying new ones, repurposed materials, and made do with what they had. Recycling and reusing became crucial to stretching limited resources.
It’s important to note that these survival strategies were not always enough, and many families continued to struggle throughout the Great Depression. The economic recovery eventually came with the onset of World War II, as wartime industries stimulated employment and the economy.