The Silent Depression

By Samantha Apanasewicz
Columnist

In the current economy of 2023, Americans are experiencing higher cost of living expenses and lower wages than at the height of the Great Depression in 1930. Not only are we fighting our way through a recession, but we are fighting silently as these statistics are dismissed by politicians and mainstream media outlets.

It has since been coined the “Silent Depression.”  

 For those who are skeptical, the following statistics are all Google-able information that form the foundation for the growing outrage on social media.  

 In 1930, the average annual income of a single American was a little over $4,800, based on the United States Internal Revenue report for that year. Accounting for inflation over the years, that number reaches to just less than $85,000 a year today. 

 Unfortunately for us, the current average income for a single American is only $56,000 according to the U.S.  Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning that as of 2023, Americans are making less than they were at the height of the Great Depression.  

 These numbers are not limited to annual income. The price per gallon of gas, new cars and even homes are equally as affected, if not more seriously so. 

 In 1930, gas was on average 10 cents per gallon based on an article from Newsweek, which equates to about $1.73 now. However, the average price of gas across the United States in 2023 is $3.55 according to Finder Economics. 

 Especially for those people who rely on cars to travel for school or work, the price difference is staggering. 

 At the height of the recession in 1930, a new car cost approximately $860 according to a Newsweek article. Now, that number is comparable to $15,000. 

 Yet, the average price of a new car purchased from a dealership in 2023 is $48,000 based on data from Kelly Bluebook. This has caused monthly car payments to increase exponentially, meaning a higher percentage of people’s paychecks are going towards these payments. 

 This scenario leaves less money available for other expenses, savings and even retirement and investing.  

 Last, but certainly not least, is the cost of the American dream: to own a home. Most students are aware of the skyrocketing costs of rent nowadays, but the exact numbers are astonishing. 

 In 1930, the average cost of a home was $3,900 according to Newsweek. This correlates with a little less than $70,000 nowadays. 

 In spite of that, the average cost of a home in America, independent of the quality or amount of land associated with it, is $416,000 according to the Motley Fool Research team.  

 These are frightening numbers. These are the kinds of data voters need to take into consideration when voting in the upcoming presidential election. 

 The Silent Depression needs to be acknowledged and properly addressed. Inflation and price hikes are not costing the politicians and legislators; they are costing the middle and lower-class American people.  

 The middle class is the smallest it’s ever been because of this recession, and the middle class is what drives our country. As the election campaigns persist, continue to observe and collect your own data before you vote. 

 Do we want to elect leaders who help tank the economy for our future and the future of our children? You have the power to decide.