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What life was like 50 years ago in America, compared to now in 2022


A lot can change in 50 years.

Take a look at how America has evolved from 1972 to 2022. From music and fashion to monumental political events and notable economic statistics.

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Best song

In early 1972, the most popular song in the United States was “Brand New Key” by Melanie, according to Billboard’s Hot 100 list.

In 2022, Mariah Carey’s vacation hit “All i want for christmas is you“topped the Billboard Hot 100. The song was originally released in 1987.

Bell-Bottom

Detailed photo of a girl wearing flared jeans.
(iStock)

Elephant leg jeans were a fashion staple for both men and women in 1972. Fast forward 50 years and elephant legs are all the rage again among Gen Z.

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Space Shuttle Program

The International Space Station photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking.  Image from the ISS as of October 4, 2018.

The International Space Station photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking. Image from the ISS as of October 4, 2018.
(NASA)

President Richard Nixon and NASA Administrator James Fletcher presented the Space Shuttle program on January 5, 1972. Since then, the program has had a list of accomplishments, including building the International Space Station, launching of the Hubble Space Telescope and several space lab missions.

In 2022, billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are racing to build reliable space tourism.

Gas prices

On average, the cost of gasoline in the United States in 1972 was 36 cents per gallon.

On average, the cost of gasoline in the United States in 1972 was 36 cents per gallon.
(iStock)

On average, the cost of gas in the United States in 1972 was 36 cents per gallon, according to data from the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

Today, retail gasoline prices nationwide are on average around $ 4.49 per gallon, according to an updated forecast of the Energy Information Administration’s short-term energy outlook.

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Median income

According to the Census Bureau, the median family income was $ 11,120.

According to the Census Bureau, the median family income was $ 11,120.
(iStock)

According to the Census Bureau, the median family income was $ 11,120, coming from 54.4 million American families. That number had risen to $ 67,521 by 2020 – the most recent information available to the statistical agency.

Median cost of a house

In 1972, the median selling price of a new home sold in the United States was $ 27,600.

In 1972, the median selling price of a new home sold in the United States was $ 27,600.
(iStock)

In 1972, the median sale price of a new home sold in the United States was $ 27,600, according to data released by the Census Bureau. More recent figures from 2020 indicate that the median selling price of a new home was $ 336,900.

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Age of consumption

There was no standard federal age for alcohol consumption in 1972.

There was no standard federal age for alcohol consumption in 1972.
(iStock)

There was no standard federal drinking age in 1972. Several US states had a minimum drinking age of 18. The Uniform Federal Drinking Age Law of 1984 standardized the legal drinking age to 21, which is still the case to this day.

Water gate

A burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington in June 1972 turned into a wide-ranging political scandal that culminated in the resignation of President Richard Nixon two years later.

A burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington in June 1972 turned into a wide-ranging political scandal that culminated in the resignation of President Richard Nixon two years later.
(AFP via Getty Images)

On June 17, 1972, the Watergate scandal began when five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC. The scandal ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974. Learn more about the timeline of the Watergate scandal here.

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Vietnam War

People visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington, DC, November 11, 2015.

People visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington, DC, November 11, 2015.
(REUTERS / Carlos Barria)

On August 11, 1972, the United States withdrew its last ground troops from South Vietnam. The war was officially declared over in the summer of 1975 when North and South Vietnam united under the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The country remained a one-party communist state in Southeast Asia.

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Tags : united states
Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.