1980 History/Videos

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1980 As the continued miniaturization continues new technology allows for new consumer products that could never have existed to appear including Domestic Camcorders and Fax Machines, One other notable is the release of the Pac-Man arcade game. Politics enters the Olympic games with the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics and War breaks out between Iraq and Iran. This was also a bad year for natural disasters including Mount St. Helens eruption and a major heat wave in the US.

Cost of Living 1980

How Much things cost in 1980
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 13.58%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 963
Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 21.50%
Average Cost of new house $68,700.00
Average Income per year $19,500.00
Average Monthly Rent $300.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.19
Average cost new car $7,200.00
Mens Casual Shirt $14.00


What Events Happened in 1980

  • Start of Iran -- Iraq War
  • Zimbabwe formerly Rhodesia gains independence
  • Majority black rule in Zimbabwe
  • Solidarity Trade Union Formed in Poland and shipyard workers go on strike
  • Failed operation by US to free hostages in Iran
  • Yassar Arafat is elected the President of the Palestinian National Council
  • Ronald Reagan Elected President of the USA
  • Terrorists seize Iran embassy and hostages in London leading to the British SAS storming embassy and releasing hostages
  • Japan becomes the worlds largest auto maker
  • US leads boycott of Moscow Olympics in protest at Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
  • Mariel boat lift mass exodus of political refugees from Cuba to the United States
  • Spain and United Kingdom agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain, closed since 1969.
  • Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington killing 57
  • Latest Cencus reveals US Population is 226,504,825
  • Severe Summer Heat Wave in Southern US Causes 1,117 deaths in 20 States
  • Iran and Iraq begin a war that lasts 8 years
  • US Passes "Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act" to tax high profits by oil companies
  • The Killer Clown ( John Wayne Gacy Jr ) sentenced to death for the murder of 33 boys and young men.
  • Former Beatle John Lennon is shot to death
  • Israel Replaces the Pound with a new currency the Shekel
  • Fire Destroys the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas
  • Rioting Liberty City, Miami leaving 18 dead
  • A severe and destructive thunderstorm strikes four counties in western Wisconsin
  • Hurricane Allen hits landfall on Haiti and Jamaica
  • Alexander Kielland platform capsized in the North Sea with the loss of 123
  • The Winter Olympic Games are held in Lake Placid, New York, United States

Popular Culture 1980

  • Millions of viewers tune into the TV soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J.R. Ewing.
  • John Lennon is shot outside his New York apartment

Popular Films

  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Superman II
  • Nine to Five
  • Raging Bull
  • Coal Miner's Daughter

Popular Musicians

  • ABBA
  • AC/DC
  • Adam and the Ants
  • Black Sabbath
  • Blondie with " Call Me "
  • David Bowie
  • The Cars
  • Eric Clapton
  • Alice Cooper
  • Elvis Costello
  • KC and The Sunshine Band
  • Michael Jackson
  • Queen with "Another One Bites the Dust"
  • Pink Floyd
  • Diana Ross " Upside Down "
  • Paul McCartney
  • Olivia Newton-John with " Magic "
  • Electric Light Orchestra
  • David Bowie
  • The Police

Technology 1980

  • First available Domestic Camcorders available in Japan
  • First Available Fax Machines in Japan
  • 30% of US car sales are imports
  • In Mexico first ever natural birth in captivity of a Giant panda
  • Voyager 1 probe sends the first high resolution images of Saturn back to scientists and confirms the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn.
  • Release of Pac-Man arcade game
  • CNN becomes the first 24hrs News Station
  • Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel and Xerox introduce the DIX standard for Ethernet


Research for this year is provided by The People History.
See History By Year and Decade for more prices and information.
Find out more about the 80s at ThePeopleHistory.com.