Working & Living Conditions During the Late 1800s

The uprisings in 1848 were encouraged by mass unemployment and reduced wages due to a decline in the textile industry, couple with increased food prices due to poor harvests. However, unemployment decreased in the 1850s when the industrial production and foreign trade in Berlin doubled. Amongst this working population, the living standards began to worsen. The spread of disease increased with the rapid urbanization brought on by this industrial revolution. Berlin became the financial and industrial capital of Germany after the 1871 war with the French. It also became a center for science and medicine at some point in the 50s. Living standards slowly increased but were still not at high levels. During 1890, the average income for a working-class family was 1700 marks, varying between the level of the job held. In order to pay for all expenses, such as rent, heating, and food, families had to be frugal.

Due to the industrial revolution in the late 1800s and the large influx of immigrants, the population of Berlin increased from two to four million people, becoming the 6th largest city in the world at the time.  The rapid growth industrial revolution contributed to the development of the worst industrial slums of Europe in Berlin at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Additionally, the industrial revolution attracted immigrants, as people moved to Berlin in search of new job opportunities.  The less than ideal working and living conditions were responsible for many protests and strikes that became more frequent during the time as well, especially those due to workers’ rights. However, Berlin had a number of regulations that protected workers against exploitation by employers, such as minimum wage, inspected working conditions and banishment of child labor.



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