Yearly Income of $700? Compare then to now with Sears 1929 Kit Home Catalog. If you had to buy a house in the 20s what would you have paid?
A 2015 article from US News compares take-home pay in 2015 vs. 1915. Census Bureau data show that the median household income, measured from 2009 to 2013 (the most recent data available when the article was writeen), is $53,046. Back in 1915, two years after income tax came on the scene, you were doing about average if you were making $687 a year, according to the Census. That is, if you were a man. If you were a woman, cut that number by about half.
Today, that $687 would be comparable to earning $16,063 a year, according to an inflation calculator on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website. So Americans’ buying power has improved considerably in the last century.
There was no minimum wage in 1915, except in a few states experimenting with it, and only for women and children. The federal minimum wage wouldn’t be enacted until 1938. At a hearing in March 1915, Dorothy Miller told a state minimum wage committee in Albany, New York, that she made $6 a week, which came to $312 a year. Out of that $6, she paid her parents $2.50 a week for room and board. According to The New York Times, she told the committee: “After I paid my actual necessary expenses every week, I had 40 cents left for clothes and amusements. And I was the envy of all the girls I worked with.”