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1980s

Essay by review  •  November 24, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  2,597 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,170 Views

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This report is to inform you on the decade of the 1980s. People's jobs, income, ideas, opinions changed so much from 1980 to 1989.

Fewer Americans belonged to labor unions in the 1980s. In 1980 there were nearly 21 million union members; that number had declined to 17 million by 1985. The most important "aspect" of a job for the majority of Americans was a "feeling of accomplishment, beating out high pay by a better than 2 to 1 margin." In the mid-Eighties, 88% of Americans said they were satisfied with their jobs. In spite of this, less than 40% expected to remain in their current job for more than five years. Most Americans didn't think it would be difficult to get another job. This "indicated general optimism" about the economy and the job market in the mid- and late-Eighties.

In the late Forties, Americans went to the movies an average of at least twice a month, but by the 1980s, people only went to the movies an average of five times a year. About 67% of Americans attended a play or a live theater performance at least once a year, and 60% attended a concert or other musical performance.

In the 1980s the majority of Americans believed sex education should be taught in public schools. 85% of people who voted were for this. That included 68% of all "born-again Christians", 80% of Republicans, and 77% of "rural people". One reason that people wanted sex education in schools was that Aids was causing a sense of panic among the general public. Also they felt that if sex education were not available there would be even more unwanted teenage pregnancies.

A few years after the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade, 60% of Americans supported legalized abortions. But by the 1980s that had decreased to 50%. Some Americans compared abortion with murder, and felt that the fetus should have rights. On the other hand, some feared that if abortions weren't legal, more women would die from complications with illegal abortions. But most Americans said they could support a woman's decision to have an abortion if her life or mental health were in danger, or if she had been the victim of incest or rape. And while both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were opposed to abortion, and Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist's "goal" was to overturn Roe v Wade, three-fourths of all Americans were convinced that abortion would never be made illegal

In 1981 there were 2,422,000 marriages in the U.S. and 1,213,000 divorces. Between 1981 and 1985, the number of marriages rose 3% while the number of divorces declined 5%. This is the first time this had happened in modern times. Interracial marriages accounted for only 1.3% of the total in 1982. Three-fourths of all first marriages occurred in a religious setting the other third were done by eloping. A 1983 survey of 100,000 adults showed that 48% of married men and 38% of married women had affairs. This had increased the rate of divorce.

In 1984, "some level of government" employed 18 million Americans. The federal government employed 2.9 million. The Postal Service employed nearly 750,000 people this year. During this time, the average household spent $21,788 a year, paying for taxes, mortgage or rent, car payments, food, and clothing.

A 1984 study showed that 53% of 18-year old girls were having sex. A similar study showed that 66% of 18-year-old boys were doing to the same. Less than half of both boys and girls used any protection. This caused 4 out of 10 teenage girls to become pregnant before they were 20. Most young girls were single mothers between the ages 18-29.To add to this, nearly half of the 892,000 teenage pregnancies ended in abortion. Teenagers with poor school grades were more likely to be sexually experienced, while those with good grades were less likely.

In the Eighties, kids were not in very good physical condition. Only 2% of 18 million kids passed the "Presidential Physical Fitness" test in 1984. Only about one in three met the "Amateur Athletic Union's" standards for average health. Studies have shown that due to an increase in television watching and less physical education in schools, children were not as healthy.

In 1985, 77% of Americans lived in urban areas. The five most "populous" urban areas were New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Also that year, 6.1% of the workforce was unemployed. In the Eighties, the majority of workers were "white-collar". 55% of those employed were in "managerial, professional, sales or technical jobs," while only 28% held blue-collar jobs. 13% were in the service industry and 4% of working Americans were in agriculture, while 8% were self-employed. There were two women and no blacks among the 100 senators of the 99th Congress between 1985 and 1987. In the House of Representatives there were 22 women and 20 blacks; 251 of the representatives were lawyers. 116,985,000 Americans earned wages, while the rest received some kind of income from the government. In 1985, nearly 60% of Americans were paid hourly, and the "median" hourly wage for men was $7.45. For women it was $5.26. Among "salaried" workers, the highest paid occupations were airplane pilot, chemical engineer and lawyer. Half of one percent of the population earned more than $280,000.

Although the majority American population had good income, about 33 million lived in poverty. Two-thirds of them were white. The majority of the poor lived in rural areas. Most of the poor, however, did not remain poor; less than 3% were poor for 8 or more years.

In 1985, Americans paid $329 billion in taxes on $2.3 trillion dollars of "adjusted gross income" as revealed on 101,700,000 income tax returns. However, Americans were not only giving money to the government, they had given over $80 million to charitable organizations.

Also that year, 94% of American households had a television set, and 50% had a videocassette recorder, double the number from only a year earlier. After the "breakup" of AT&T, more and more Americans owned their telephones. Another item in the Eighties was the answering machine; while only 5% of households had one of those, nearly 20% did two years later. Also 12% of American households owned a computer.

Today almost every single household has pets. In 1985 60% of homes had at least one pet, including 46 million dogs, 45 million cats, 27 million birds, and 250 million fish.

There were 45,480,000 single adults between the ages of 20-64 in America during 1985. A five-year study revealed that women made the first

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