The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000

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American Enterprise Institute, 2001 - History - 308 pages
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Most history tells the story of the past through anecdotes, but anecdotes do not always present an accurate or complete picture. There is another way to look at history. The rise of widespread, systematic data collection in the twentieth century the first measured century allows us to examine the past 100 years with unprecedented clarity. Now, The First Measured Century uses social data to tell us what happened to everyday Americans in the twentieth century. Whether the topic is politics, sexual behavior, economics, immigration, living arrangements, religion, longevity, or public opinion, this myth-busting popular reference work shows that the facts often turn out to be more interesting than the fiction. A special feature of The First Measured Century is original 1999 research that builds on the landmark sociological study of the 1920s, "Middletown." With survey results that span more than seven decades, The First Measured Century offers the longest timeline of consistent attitudinal data anywhere. This panorama of the American twentieth century unfolds in a series of key trends, each explained in a one-page essay written for the general reader and illustrated by one or more vibrantly colored charts on the facing page. The First Measured Century is an essential tool for anyone interested in journalism, economics, history, political science, sociology, demography, public relations, business, the arts, or public policy."

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With this tie-in to a PBS documentary that aired in December, Caplow (Recent Social Trends in the United States), Louis Hicks (Systems of War and Peace), and Ben J. Wattenberg (Values Matter Most ... Read full review


As the nation grew the share of the population livmg m the Northeast
Durmg the second half of the century the proportion of mmorities m
The proportion of American men who were m the labor force declmed
The unemployment rate lluctuated with the busmess cycle and military
Womens share of bachelors and advanced degrees trended upward
Chapter 4 Family
The declme m the share of U S households mamtamed by a marned cou
Living Arrangements
Although the equalization of womens and mens earnmgs proceeded
Private philanthropy mcreased more than fivefold m the last half of
Poverty decreased sigmficantly from 1959 when official measurements
Democrats and Republtcans shared presidential election victories almost
The number of black elected offictals mcreased greatly after 1970
Federal government employees were a smaller component of the labor
Veterans made up a large part of the civilian male population durmg
The mmate population of state and federal prisons mcreased significantly

Membership m churches and other religious orgamzations mcreased
Chapter? Active Leisure
The world record for land speed not subject to any particular human lim
The health of children showed spectacular improvement
The suicide rate lluctuated with economic conditions durmg the first half
The popularity of psychotropic substances lluctuated
Health care expenditures mcreased sharply toward the end of the century
Toward the end of the century the proportion of new state and federal
Bicycles like horses and sailboats did not disappear when they were
For much of the century only a small fraction of the population owned
Material progress required large mputs of mechamcal energy and greater
The tmportance of advernsmg m the nanonal economy mcreased slowly

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About the author (2001)

Theodore Caplow is the Commonwealth Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and the author of many books, inclduing American Social Trends (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991).

Louis Hicks is an associate professor of sociology at St. Mary's College of Maryland and co-author of Systems of War and Peace (University Press of America, 1995).

Ben J. Wattenberg is a senior fellow at AEI, a syndicated solumnist, moderator of the PBS series "Think Tank," and author of many books, including Values Matter most (Free Press, 1995).

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