Millions of Americans lost their employment during the Great Depression. By 1932, there were twelve million jobless persons in the United States. One out of every four households in the United States no longer has a source of income. Renters in New York City alone were evicted almost 200,000 times in 1930 because they couldn't pay their payments.
The economy of the United States suffered considerable damage from the collapse of many large financial institutions and the inability of others to survive within the framework of existing law. The stock market declined by more than 90 percent from its peak in 1929 to its nadir in March 1933. Many small businesses did not have sufficient cash reserves to weather the crisis; they too failed. The number of companies listed on stock exchanges across the country dropped by more than half from about 23,000 in 1929 to about 10,000 in 1931.
During this time, millions of Americans lived beyond their means in order to maintain their standard of living or even increase it. They took out loans that they could not repay. The failure of these borrowers caused the lenders to seek compensation elsewhere, which forced more people into debt until the whole system collapsed. This is called "credit expansion" and it is one of the ways that banks increase their profits even when there is no actual profit to be made - they just want to make sure that nobody tries to do business with them otherwise things might get messy.
Most individuals were therefore taken aback by the Great Depression (1929–41). In 1930, there were 750,000 persons laid off without compensation out of a population of 122 million, and another 2.4 million qualified workers had no employment at all. America was far from being back on track. The economy showed no signs of improvement. In fact, things got worse in 1931 and 1932.
The severity of the crisis was such that even some prominent economists argued that it required a fundamental rethinking of the American economic system. Two major reforms were proposed: a federal jobs program and a social security system. Neither proposal was adopted at first, but both would later be widely supported by the public and government officials.
The New York financial industry was responsible for the crash, not the American people or their government. Banks failed en masse, causing the epidemic of mortgage foreclosures that plagued an entire generation. Taxpayers were forced to cover the debts of these failing institutions. The government's own actions also contributed to the disaster - specifically the Federal Reserve's decision to pump money into the banking system to prevent the collapse of the whole edifice. The more dollars flooding into the economy, the more people wanted them as investments, which led to more defaults and bank closures. This is called "monetary policy" and today's Fed leaders still follow this approach even though it ended up destroying the world economy.
As equities fell further in the early 1930s, businesses collapsed and unemployment skyrocketed. One out of every four workers was jobless by 1932. Many banks collapsed, and many Americans lost their life savings, leaving them homeless. Thousands of Americans were evicted from their houses because they lacked a job and no money. American agriculture also suffered greatly from the effects of the economic crisis, as well as poor management by federal agencies.
The economy has never recovered fully from the devastation of the Great Depression.
In conclusion, the great depression caused massive amounts of unemployment and poverty. It also affected almost all parts of society, with urban centers particularly hard-hit.