I might be biased (or maybe it’s just because this is the first full decade I lived through and remember), but the ’90s sure was a special time, wasn’t it? I came of age during this decade. It was the decade that spawned the Digital Age. It was the decade that gave us a glimpse into a certain president’s very, very private life. It was the decade that had us screaming over the revival of teen pop music. And it was the decade that had the nation brimming with fear over a little something called Y2K.
The ’90s By The Numbers
*Population: 281,421,906 (2000 Census)
*Unemployment: 5.8 million, or 4.2% (Sept 99)
*National Debt: $5,413.l Million (1997)
*Average Salary: $13.37/hr (1999) | Teacher’s Salary: $39,347 (1998)
*Minimum Wage: $5.15/hr (1997)
*Life Expectancy: Male 73.1 Female 79.1(1997)
*Auto Deaths: 49,772 (1997)
*The Americans With Disabilities Act, effective in July, 1990, began the decade on a positive note by protecting the rights of all Americans with physical or mental disabilities.
*The decade began with Sadam Husein’s invasion of Kuwait and the resultant Gulf War.
*Big issues were health care, social security reform, and gun control – unresolved and debated during the whole decade.
*Violence and sex scandals dominated the media.
*In 1992 South-Central Los Angeles rioted after four white policemen were acquitted of video-taped assault charges for beating a black motorist, Rodney King.
*Americans were glued to their TV sets in 1995 as the football hero, O.J. Simpson, was tried for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her male friend, Ron Goldman.
*The shock of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995.
*In the months between February 1996 and April 1999 there were at least fourteen incidents of school shootings with the most lethal being on April 20, 1999 when 14 students and 1 teacher were killed and 23 wounded at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
*For youth, the fashion of the decade began with Grunge on one hand and preppie on the other. Hip Hop style was popular.
*Boys’ jeans have grown bigger and bigger, worn low on the hips, and girls are wearing bellbottoms and poor boy tops reminiscent of the 70s.
*Fads included Tae-bo, in-line skates, beanie babies, Furby, Tickle Me Elmo, Yo-yos, tattoos and body piercing, and the ubiquitous video games.
*Popular musical artists included Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Hootie & the Blowfish, Alanis Morrisette, Janet Jackson, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion and Madonna. The Spice Girls were a group created by the music industry for their diversity and sex appeal.
*For teens, it was all about *Nsync, the Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore.
*Television graced 98% of the households in the U.S. in 1998 (according to the Statistical Abstract chart 910, online p. 5) with the average viewer spending seven hours a day watching ‘the tube.’