1981 - The Worst of Times...

Michael Kruse has been doing a great series on American Social Indicators. In today's post he came up with 1981 as the worst year in the last 50. He has all kinds of science to back up his thoughts, but I found the real reason ... MTV started in 1981. :)

Here's a quote of some of the indicators:
    • The property crime rate hit its high in 1975 but violent crime was at its worst in 1981.
    • The highest murder rate was in 1980.
    • The suicide rate peaked in 1977.
    • The abortion rate peaked in 1981.
    • The divorce rate peaked in 1981.
    • The highest rate for illicit drug use for high school seniors was in 1979, and for illicit drug use excluding marijuana was in 1981.
    • The highest rate of cigarette use for high school seniors was in 1975, and for alcohol was in 1978.
    • The rate for all (combined) sexually transmitted diseases was highest in 1977.
    • The high school dropout rate declined steadily in the years prior to 1973. It flattened out and then peaked in 1979, before continuing the historical pattern of decline.
    • Composite SAT scores hit their lowest levels in 1980 and 1981.
    • The highest rate of inflation was in 1980.
    • The highest rate of poverty was in 1983.
    • Unemployment hit its highest rate in 1982.
    • Median household inflation adjusted income was lower in 1981-1983 than in it was in 1972.
And I thought I had a pleasant childhood. :)

What is so interesting about these indicators it that by most of the standards we are actually doing better, but people feel that things are worse.

Are these the best of times or the worst of times? Or both?


Kari said…
Wow! What a year to be born. :) Since it was my birth year and being a glass is half-full kinda gal, I had to take a look on the internet and see if I could find anything that was "great" in the news to add to 1981. Let me tell you, I was disappointed. I didn't find much and what I did, was baseball games being won and a guy who won the Indi-500...hmmm, not so significant. I couldn't believe it. Oh well, I was born in the Dec, it was a "good" year for me I suppose. :)
Travis Penn said…
I'm sure that 1981 is one of Eric's favorite years!


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