In the mid-1970s, you could find furnished apartments for rent in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood for $125 per month. These were at 4421 North Broadway. Note the condition of the store at street level. Today, Google Maps Street Vew shows this location to be a little nicer. The storefront appears to house a hair salon. The $125 per month sign is gone. But the sign post is badly in need of repair.
To put this rent in perspective, a cub copywriter starting at Leo Burnett in that era with a master’s degree from Northwestern might make $9,000 per year. That means he/she would gross about $700 per month, and take home about $500 per month after taxes. Many of the people who lived in Uptown, of course, never dreamed of making $9000 per year in those days. They were lucky to make $2/hour. At that rate, they would have to work two weeks each month to pay for the rent in this building after taxes. That left little for food, clothing, medical expenses and transportation.