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The Great Depression - Using Census Data to Address an Economic Crisis

Activity Description

Students will identify the connection between government statistics and government programs by examining the problems from the Great Depression that led to the implementation of the New Deal. Students will also use census data to support a point of view on the New Deal.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

60-75 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to analyze map data on U.S. unemployment in 1937 and explain the value of collecting such data during the Great Depression (between decennial census years).
  • Students will be able to formulate a position on the New Deal and support it with specific data.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 6 pages; it contains images that should be printed in color.

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity. Items, their sources, and any relevant instructions for viewing them online appear at the end of this teacher version.

  • Unemployment Census Photo
  • Map of the United States Showing Geographic Divisions: 1937
  • Percentage of the Population 15 to 74 Years of Age in Enumerative Check Areas Unemployed
    (Including Emergency Workers) and Partly Unemployed, by Sex, for Geographic Divisions: 1937

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze 1937 unemployment data on a map.


High School History


  • Enumeration
  • The Great Depression
  • The New Deal

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing historical data
  • Formulating a position on a historical issue
  • Making inferences
  • Reading and interpreting maps
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