In the news, the main number you hear about the recession is the unemployment rate, which is hovering just below 10% — as compared to 5% just a couple years ago. If you were only hearing that, the recession can seem less dramatic (if still quite harsh) than it is: All this hubbub about a mere 5% of the population?
Obviously, the Great Recession has brought considerably greater–and more wide-reaching– changes to our society. To appreciate the scope, take a look at How the Recession Changed Us, a sprawling infographic created by The Atlantic.
It reveals a multitude of tectonic shifts, wrought in a short time. For example, since October 2007, our federal deficit has grown from $161 billion to $1.3 trilllion (a sevenfold gain); personal bankruptcies have doubled, from 775,334 to 1,538,033; and active militias have swollen from 43 to 127 (while firearm sales have spiked). Meanwhile, 24% of 18-29 year olds moved in with their parents at some point, and the savings rate — which economists used to scream about, but which never used to budge — has doubled. Again, this is all within just over two years.