How American Buying Habits Change

How American Buying Habits Change

How American Buying Habits Change

How American Buying Habits Change

Excerpt

This book describes the improvements in living standards which Americans have achieved since 1888.

In that year, the Commissioner of Labor initiated the Federal Government's first survey to find out how people live -- what food they ate, what clothes they wore, what kinds of dwellings they lived in, what they spent on recreation and transportation.

Since that time, at fairly widespread intervals, similar studies have been made, some of national coverage. And each in turn reflected changes in the way that people live.

In this book these various studies have been dovetailed to yield a picture of changes in the consumption habits of the American people over more than half a century.

The picture is representative. Excluding the extremes of wealth and poverty, it concentrates on the middle group of consumers -- the families of the millions of blue-collar and whitecollar workers who make up the vast bulk of our predominantly city life. These, when all is said and done, are the American consumers, the workers who make up our society. The way they live is the way that most of us live.

As the book shows, living conditions have improved. They have improved tremendously. Not only in material things, but also in many things that might be termed spiritual. We now have not only better plumbing, better health, but also more time to read, to learn, to think, to dream, more time to restore the body and to heal the mind.

These are worthwhile accomplishments.

We are all aware, of course, that the changes here reported are taking place. The value of this book is that it brings together between covers the measured evidence of this progress. It tells not only what, but how much. It also reminds us of numerous areas of change which we might otherwise have forgotten. And it gives us some feeling, even in our own time, of the speed with which we may expect change in the future.

Having seen how far we have come, perhaps we may justifiably and with hope look forward to further improvements.

JAMES P. MITCHELL,
Secretary of Labor.

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