The 1980s

Reagan & Gorbechev

The 1980s were both awesome and horrible at the same time. If you lived through them, you know what I mean.

Everything was neon and ugly. Color combinations were the worst. Fashion was weird, music was over-digitized and commercialism consumed everyone.

The Cold War ended, which was great. The Berlin Wall fell.

The best thing that came out of the 80s though? By far the movies. I mean, if you are in the mood for a cheesy comedy that’s actually funny, then nothing hits the spot quite like an 80s flick!

Dive much deeper into the 1980s below. Our in-depth profiles discuss a wide variety of topics, from fashion to cars to sports — all from the 1980s!

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1980s News Headlines

  • In 1980, the U.S. hockey team shocked the Soviets at the Olympics.
  • In 1980, John Lennon was assassinated in New York City.
  • In 1981, Microsoft was asked to create an operating system for IBM computers.
  • The Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion in the Soviet Union that resulted in deaths of an estimated 7,000 in 1986.
  • 1987 Cher won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the movie Moonstruck.
  • Space shuttle Challenger famously exploded on national television to the horror of an entire nation.
  • In 1988, Nike launched the ever popular marketing campaign containing the slogan “Just Do It”.
  • The Fresh Prince becomes an overnight sensation following the release of his hit song “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”
  • The Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989.
  • Starting in 1989, Energizer used an bunny to sell batteries that were designed to last longer.
  • In 1988, Dustin Hoffman played a mentally disabled man named Raymond Babbit in the critically acclaimed film, Rain Man.
  • 1980s Statistics & Facts in the U.S.

    Vital

    U.S. Population: 226,546,000
    – Urban/rural: 167/59
    – Farm: 4.8%
    Life Expectancy: Male (69.9), Female (77.6)
    Births per 1,000: 15.8
    Marriages per 1,000: 10.6
    Divorces per 1,000: 5.2
    Deaths per 1,000: 8.7
    Deaths per 100,000:
    – Heart: 435
    – Cancer: 183
    – Tuberculosis: 1
    – Car accidents: 24.3

    Economic

    Unemployed: 7,636,000
    GNP: $2.633 trillion
    Federal budget: $579.6 billion
    National debt: $914 billion
    Union membership: 21.7 million
    Strikes: 3,885
    Prime rate: 21.5%
    Car sales: 6,400,000
    Average salary: $15,757

    Social

    Homicides per 100,000: 12.4
    Suicides per 100,000: 10.2
    Labor force male/female ratio: 56/38
    Public education: $164.7 billion
    College Degrees
    – Bachelors: Male (526,000), Female (473,000)
    – Doctorates: Male (22,900), Female (9,700)
    Attendance
    – Movies (weekly): 20 million
    – Baseball (annually): 43.7 million

    Consumer

    Consumer Price Index (if 1967 = 100): 246.8
    Eggs: 84 cents per dozen
    Milk: $1.04 per quart
    Bread: 51 cents per loaf
    Butter: $1.87 per pound
    Bacon: $1.44 per pound
    Round steak: $2.37 per pound
    Oranges: $1.37 per dozen
    Coffee: $2.98 per pound

    In-Depth 1980s Profiles

    1980s Fashion

    Fashion in the 1980s »

    1980s fashion can be commended for its creativity. Some clothing designers abandoned history, some borrowed from it and others went back to the future.
    1980s Cars, Ferrari (1987)

    Cars in the 1980s »

    Luxury cars flourished much like the lavish lifestyles in the 80s. Ferrari & Lamborghini posters were showing up on the walls of suburban teens everywhere.
    1980s Movies Collage by Paul Phipps

    Movies in the 1980s »

    The 1980s was the best decade for movies ever. Both writing & special effects were climaxing at the same time & creativity was at an all-time high.
    The Facts of Life

    TV Shows in the 1980s »

    Yes! 1980s TV SHOWS! From Dallas and MASH to Facts of Life, let's break down year-by-year highlights from every year in the 1980s.
    1980s-toys

    Toys in the 1980s »

    Looking for information on the history of toys in the 1980s? Browse 150+ pics of 1980s toys, ranging from He-Man to Strawberry Shortcake.
    1980s Music Collage by Paul Phipps

    Music in the 1980s »

    Music in the 1980s was heavily produced. You know the classic 80s sound: huge reverby snare drums, delay on the vocals, electronic rhythms and synthesizers.
    1980s Sports Collage by Paul Phipps

    Sports in the 1980s »

    Joe Montana, one of the best QBs ever. Mike Tyson, the most feared boxer to walk the earth. Magic vs. Bird, the best rivalry in the history of sports.

    Unique 1980s Pictures

    Play the 1980s Trivia Game

    Play the 1980s Trivia Game

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    Last modified: Sep 09, 2015 | Written by Paul Phipps