From Country to City
The Industrial Revolution changed how people lived. Now men and women could take wage-earning jobs in the growing factories.
Women were still the primary caregivers for their children. Though they no longer needed to make as much clothing for their families, they did the washing and mending. Women still cooked and cleaned the home. Many women helped support their families
by working in factories. These women often relied on older family members, neighbors, or even older children to care for the younger ones while they were at work.
The Growth of Cities
Before factory jobs drew them to the cities, many more people lived in the country and farmed. One major city, Chicago, had 300,000 inhabitants in 1870. By 1890 there were more than 1 million. Most warehouses, factories, and docks were in the center of the cities. By the late 1800s, streetcars, railroads, and
trolleys enabled cities to expand because people did not have to live within walking distance of their jobs.
Most people chose to live near those who shared their culture and financial status. Immigrants sought out others from their home countries to live with. They ate food and spoke languages that reminded them of home.
The working poor, those who were employed but still fell below the poverty line, included many new immigrants. These workers filled the cities and worked many of the new jobs created by the Industrial Revolution. They lived in small apartments near the factories in which they worked. Landlords made money by renting to the many families that moved to the city for jobs.
Government services could not keep up with the quick growth of the cities. Clean water, Page 37 | Top of Articlegarbage collection, and sewage systems were not sufficient, contributing to poor living conditions. The biggest problem with the cramped living spaces and poor sanitation systems was the outbreak of illnesses, such as cholera, in the cities. This caused illness and even death throughout the late 1800s.