How Much? How Many?
Numbers of WPA employees fluctuated. In April 1936, 120,267 people in Massachusetts – about 2.8% of the state population – worked for the WPA. The lowest statewide number of WPA workers in 1936 was 96,400 in August.
In Massachusetts in 1936:
* 470,000 people (10.5% of the state population) – including WPA workers and their dependent family members – survived on WPA wages
* the WPA spent $98,334,785 – about $1.5 billion today
* all other federal works programs employed 10,000 people
* 23.7% of state residents received public assistance.
Adapted from William Haber, “The Public Welfare Problem in Massachusetts,” The Social Service Review 12.2 (1938).