Some Mind-Blowing Statistics From 1908

My Aunt Laura sent this to my Dad, who forwarded it to me, so by now it’s probably traveling around Cyberspace at the speed of light, but I found it so fascinating that I just had to copy and paste it.

Here are some statistics for the Year 1908:

  • The average life expectancy was 47 years
  • Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone
  • There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower
  • The average wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour
  • The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year
  • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year
  • More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME
  • Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as ‘substandard.’
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound
  • Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen
  • Coffee was fifteen cents a pound
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo
  • Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason
  • Five leading causes of death were pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease, and stroke
  • The American flag had 45 stars
  • The population of Las Vegas was only 30
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet
  • There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day
  • Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write
  • Only six percent of all Americans had graduated from high school
  • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, ‘Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.’
  • Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help
  • There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.!
  • Organized Barbershop didn’t exist

I remember my Dad talking about buying our first house in Chicago in 1953 when I was only a year old. He earned around $47 per week, and the house payment was about $80 each month. It certainly puts things in perspective when we compare what times were like back then to today. Over the past 100 years of progress we have become healthier, wealthier, better educated, and have more ‘stuff’ than ever before. I can only imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.

5 thoughts on “Some Mind-Blowing Statistics From 1908”

  1. Sadly like so much that appears on the Internet this list is full of misinformation. The average income USA 1910, $574 a year (Teachers $492 a year.) – not between $200 and $400
    There were 140,000 cars in the USA, not 8000. 18,000 miles paved road, not 144. Life expectancy 49.5 years not 47. I don’t know why people do this sort of thing. The list is actually an interesting picture of the past, but why fake it?

  2. Wealthier?? Hahahahahaha!! In 2021, that $47 a week would he approximately $1400 per week. That’s more than most people make in 2. And a 2 bedroom apartment in 2021 runs for about the same amount per month as your family’s first house did. Wealthier now? I think not.

  3. I don know about the other statistics, but the one about only 8,000 cars is just flat wrong. In Illinois alone, 18,500 passenger cars are registered with the Illinois Secretary of
    State’s office in 1908, up about 50% (from 12,000) in 1907.


Leave a Comment