Home - The American Icon
Posted 25 March 2011 2:40 AM by Anonymous
Liberty has an icon, but it's not a statue.
While Miss Liberty stands as a welcoming symbol of freedom for the world, it is the single family home that has become the icon for the American dream. Only Ireland, Italy and Spain have a higher percentage of homeowners then the US.
In 1940 roughly 42% of Americans owned their own home. By 1960, thanks to the GI bill and America's post war prosperity, that number rose to 60%, spiking at 64% in 1965. That number remained relatively constant through the recession of the late 70's and early 80's, up until the mid 90's, when it began to climb upward again reaching a high of 69% in 2004*.
Suburban America, with it's white picket fences immortalized in 1950's and 60's situation comedies like "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", "Donna Reed" and "Leave it to Beaver", evoked a new frontier and marked the beginning of a population shift out of cities and into the suburbs,
One the most famous of the post war developments, Levittown, New York offered some the chance to own their own piece of the American dream. For others, such developments, with their cookie cutter houses represented the beginning of urban decay and suburban sprawl, a kind of commoditization of America.
Still for a generation, who had survived the great depression and the horror's of World War II, "there was no place like home."
*As of 2009, the percentage of Americans owning their own homes had dropped to 67.4