A Christmas Carol Background

Poverty and Families in the Victorian Era

Increase in Population

During the nineteenth century, Great Britain saw a huge growth in population. People from Ireland came over to Great Britain to escape famine and unemployment in their country. Rates in populations were rising quickly. Soon towns and cities became overcrowded.

Searching for Jobs

During the Victorian Era, work was hard to find. People who came to Great Britain wanted jobs. Often times, people had to scramble for jobs. When people found jobs, wages were extremely low. Sometimes during a season if there was no work, people were laid off. Families often had no extra money to use if they needed it. Children were often forced to work to make extra money for their families. When children were forced to work it was called Child Labor. They worked in factories, mines, and in machinery for very low wages. Some jobs were dangerous for kids to work for. Some kids worked as errand boys or girls and sold goods such as flowers, matches, etc.

Housing and Unsanitary Conditions

Some families could not afford their houses during the Victorian Era. If they could no longer afford their house, they would move into a Slum house. A Slum house was where 30 or more people lived together at one time. These houses were unsanitary. Diseases were spread often times from living in these houses. Living in Slums was miserable to people. Overcrowding became worse than ever. There was a point where people would dump sewage into the streets and unclean water ran through the streets.


The rich people of the Victorian Era would say to the poor people "The poor spent their money on drinking and gambling." Disease was spreading fast. Children, men and women were dying of starvation. Reports were made of dying people looking like skeletons. A child was found on the street close to looking like a skeleton.
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Children and poverty

These conditions really affected children. Children would often live on the streets with their families. Kids would become greatly ill because of all the diseases going around, and starvation was making the kids sick as well. Often to get what they needed for free, kids would often steal from the rich.

Overall Points

The Victorian Era was a hard time in history. There was overcrowding in population, famine and destitution. Also there was unemployment, unsanitary conditions and poverty. There were sicknesses, child labor, and slum housings. Lastly, sewage was dumped into the streets and there was scarce, unclean water. I would not have wanted to live back in the Victorian Era!