“Better off” in what way?
50 years ago, TV for the vast majority of Americans consisted of three channels in black and white that ended their broadcasts and shut down at midnight. Each household had one telephone shared by all, no voicemail or answering machine, no call waiting - if no one was home or someone was on the line when a call came in, you’d never know about it. Wristwatches had to be manually wound daily. All clocks had hands, and needed to be reset frequently because they just weren’t that accurate. And most families owned only one car, which got maybe 12 miles to the gallon and needed a tune-up twice a year. The annual vacation consisted of packing up the car and driving somewhere, typically a few hundred miles from home – most people had never been on an airplane because it was prohibitively expensive.
Beer and soft drink cans had to be opened with a can opener. Bottles had to be opened with a bottle opener. Fresh vegetables were available in the supermarket only in season; off season you had to settle for canned or frozen. Most of the country had never seen a taco, much less tasted one. Converse All-Stars were the top-of-the-line athletic shoe. Levi’s shrank when you washed them.
Cancer - any kind of cancer - was generally considered to be a death sentence.
The entire country was going through an agonizing social turmoil. A woman’s place was in the home; those who disagreed were considered troublemakers, and those who chose the traditional role were rewarded with degradation and humiliation by both sides. Homosexuals were generally considered to be mentally ill and in need of treatment if not imprisonment. Most police and fire departments even in major cities did not hire blacks. Parents and children fought bitterly, and daily, over the length of their hair.
Oh, and young men were being drafted to go die in Vietnam, for reasons no one has yet been able to adequately explain.
So tell me, exactly who was better off back then?