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In a major city like Pittsburgh, In 1915, 100 million people lived in the United States, and more than half were under 25.One century later, the population is more than 300 million, but the share of people under age 25 has fallen to one-third.Loneliness was a financial impossibility, back then, as few could afford to live alone.

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Carol Boyd Leon paints a sociological portrait of America as it was 100 years ago, when technology was meager, financial ruin was one downturn away, war was ongoing in Europe, and the choices that Americans have come to expect—in their cars, clothes, food, and homes—were preceded by a monotonous consumer economy.

In 1915, Americans walked everywhere (or took a streetcar, if they lived in cities), lived in three-generation homes that they rarely owned, ate almost as much lard as chicken, and spent Friday nights dancing to player pianos.

In short: Everything was worse, except for the commute.

It’s hard to imagine many Americans begging to switch places with a 1915 gourmand.

Since the term applies to a group of youngish people who hang out together, their invention required an insulated environment where teens could behave, well, teenagery.

Teens didn’t create "high school." High schools created “teenagers."As the U. economy shifted from a disparate agrarian society to a mass production machine, families relocated closer to cities and, at least initially, many sent their children to work.

It might be a horrifying consideration for today’s singles, but a first date once meant an introductory chat in the living room with a girl’s parents.

This might have been followed by a deliciously awkward family dinner.

Meanwhile the share of people over 65 tripled, from 5 percent to 14 percent.

But in the early 20th century, the word “teen-ager” either didn’t exist or was scarcely used outside of development psychology.

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