History of Religion in the United States

By Clifton E. Olmstead | Go to book overview

24
Social Religion in
Modern America

ONE OF THE MARVELS OF AMERICAN LIFE IN THAT RESTLESS EBULLIENT ERA which spanned the administrations of Grant and McKinley was the extraordinary growth of the big cities. In 1870 little more than one-fifth of the country's population lived in urban areas; by 1890 the percentage had risen to one-third and by 1900 it had reached the 40 per cent mark. There were 547 communities in the latter year with a population of more than 8000 as opposed to 141 in 1860. This drive toward the city continued apace until 1910, when it was somewhat offset by a trend to the suburbs. By this time, however, the age of the metropolis had dawned, in which the cities reached out and irresistibly drew the surrounding communities into the vortex of urban life. Thus the New York area, unified under one government in 1898, enjoyed a growth of population from 1,174,779 in 1860 to 4,766,883 in 1910. Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore could not compete with that record, but they did uncommonly well. Most remarkable was the growth of cities in the Middle West. Chicago, which ranked eighth among American cities in 1860, stood in second place by 1890, with a population of more than a million. St. Louis, Cleveland, and Detroit

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