Dakota Datebook

Welfare in North Dakota

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Thirteen million people unemployed; 5,000 failed banks; industrial production down 45%; home-building down 80%.  When?  Between 1929 and 1932.  It was the beginning of the Great Depression, which lasted roughly ten years.

North Dakota was not spared.  On this date in 1938, the director of the state Welfare Board reported more than one in three people were on public assistance, and four out of ten farm families needed emergency aid in January. More than 60,000 households required some form of welfare that month, at a total cost of over 2 million dollars. McKenzie County was hardest hit, with eight out of ten people needing help.

Some public assistance was provided at county and state levels, but most was delivered through federal public works programs and the Farm Security Administration.

By Merry Helm


The Bismarck Tribune. 15 Mar 1938:1.
Broad, Mark.  “I remember the Wall Street Crash.”  BBC News.  6 Oct 2008. Web. (1 Jan 2009.)
New Deal agencies: Farm Security Administration.  Wikipedia.  Web.  (1 Jan 2009).

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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