Date of Award

January 1961

Degree Type



In recent decades civilized society in the general line of welfare included low rent housing. Public housing is one of the social actions necessary for the attainment of material requisites of well-being because individual actions in the ordinary business of life will not satisfy the needs of men in this direction. Although some strides have been made along these lines, our nation-wide housing predicament is still among the domestic problems most in need of our immediate attention. We must face the fact that our metropolitan areas, in which more than 90 percent of our population will soon be living, are today in an acutely dangerous financial position. The exodus from our urban centers of the upper middle-income class and professional groups has resulted in a loss, for the cities, of taxable income. The urban movement of great numbers of large-sized, low-income families has, at the same time, resulted in the social as well as the economic cost of overcrowding, undermaintenance and inadequate city services. These long-term population trends pose financial problems to city and suburban areas. We have made only minor efforts to solve them. The solution of our difficulties seems more remote when one considers that the annual subsidy to potato growers alone is larger than all federal contributions to urban renewal. It may cost the federal government five billion dollars a year for the next ten years to support a nation-wide program for developing and renewing our cities, towns and suburbs. If so, this will amount to less than 7 percent of the total budget. It will be no more than the cost of current aids and subsidies to agriculture which benefit directly one-tenth of our population. Today, four-fifths of all American families live in cities or in the suburbs which surround them. By 1975, our growing population will sweep approximately fifty-five million additional people into metropolitan areas. Fifty million of these people will be compelled by economic circumstances to accept the then existing and decaying areas, vacated by those of more adequate means, thus perpetuating the dilemma of the slums of tomorrow.1 1The Advisory Council of the Democratic National Committee, The State of Our Cities and Suburbs in a Changing America (Washington, D.C., 1960), p. 3.