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I celebrated forty years of life on March 2, and though I’m not big on birthday celebrations, I am big on trivia. So in honor of my milestone birthday, this 28 Things List is throwing it back to my birth year, 1984. Join me in this blast to the past as we look at what was going on in the United States forty years ago.


1. The world population was 4.78 billion and the US Population was 236 million. (For comparison, today the world population is 7.888 billion and the US Population is 331.9 million.)

2. Minimum wage was $3.35/hour.

3. The medium family income was $26,430. (Today it’s $74,580.)

4. The average cost of a new home was $79,000 (compared with $454,900 in 2022).

5. A gallon of gas cost $1.27, a dozen eggs was $0.84, a movie ticket cost $2.50, and a postage stamp was just twenty cents.

6. US Life Expectancy was 71.1 years for males and 78.2 years for females. (Today the combined life expectancy for men and women is 79.11 years.)


7. Apple Computer Inc. unveiled the Macintosh personal computer. Computers sold for $1,995, and almost 250,000 were sold in 1984.

8. The Space Shuttle Discovery had its maiden voyage.

9. Sony and Phillips introduced the first commercial CD players.

10. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards.

11. In the 1984 U.S. presidential election, incumbent Republican President Ronald Reagan defeated former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate, carrying every state except for Washington, D.C. and Mondale’s home state of Minnesota, and winning 525 electoral votes to Mondale’s 13.

12. A&E Networks, Dell Computer, Kashi, LA Fitness, Morningstar, Papa John’s Pizza, Burt’s Bees, and Rita’s Italian Ice all opened for business in 1984.

13. Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympic Games, which were boycotted by the Soviet Union (following the US boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980).


14. Celebrity births in 1984 included Mark Zuckerberg, Scarlett Johansson, LeBron James, Mandy Moore, Katy Perry, Aubrey Plaza, Prince Harry, and Trevor Noah.

15. Celebrity deaths of 1984 included Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s), George Gallup (inventor of the Gallup survey poll), Richard Burton, and Truman Capote.

16. The Detroit Tigers won the MLB World Series and the Los Angeles Raiders won the Superbowl.

17. The highest grossing films of the year included Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, and Karate Kid.

18. Oscar Winners included Robert Duvall (Best Actor), Shirley McClain (Best Actress), and Terms of Endearment (Best Film).

19. Billboard’s Top Songs for the Year included “When Doves Cry” (Prince), “What’s Love Got to Do With It” (Tina Turner), “Say, Say, Say” (Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson), “Footloose” (Kenny Loggins), and “Against All Odds” (Phil Collins).

20. TV Show debuts included The Cosby Show, Miami Vice, Punky Brewster, The Muppet Babies, and Murder, She Wrote.

21. The five most popular TV Shows were Dynasty, Dallas, The Cosby Show, 60 Minutes, and Family Ties.

22. Clara Peller first asked “Where’s the Beef?” in a Wendy’s television commercial.

23. Notable bestselling books included Pet Cemetery by Steven King, Motherhood: the Second Oldest Profession by Erma Bombeck, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (the Newberry Winner that year), The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, and What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Arlene Eisenberg & Heidi Murkoff.

24. The Top Five Baby Girl Names were Jennifer, Jessica, Ashley, Amanda, and Sarah, and the Top Five Baby Boy Names were Michael, Christopher, Matthew, Joshua, and David. (Fun Fact: My parents had picked out the name Matthew for me if I was a boy.)

25. Popular fashions for men included Hawaiian shirts, Levi 501s, flannel shirts, parachute pants, muscle shirts, and leather jackets. Popular fashions for women included bright colors, bulky sweaters, miniskirts, cycling shorts, headbands, and acid wash jeans.

26. Various websites list the top food of the year as either Tiramisu, Potato Skins, or Blackened Fish. Other trendy foods from 1984 included Bagel Bites, Capri Sun, chocolate mousse, Cool Ranch Doritos, Diet Coke, Jell-O Pudding Pops, Lean Cuisine frozen dinners, quiche, and Sloppy Joes.

27. Bottled Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, Sugar-Free Jell-O, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, and the California Dancin’ Raisins were introduced.

28. Most popular toys in 1984 included My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, Rubik’s Cube, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Lite-Brite, Glo Worm, Atari Games, and G.I. Joe and Transformers Action Figures.

If you’ve never “revisited” some of the big events and trends from your birth year, I would highly recommend it. This has been so fun, thanks for joining me!

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