Life in 1960 – Popular Culture Facts


This page offers an insight into life in 1960 and includes World news, political leaders, prices, population statistics and information about the popular culture of 1960.

The year 1960 began on a Friday and was a leap year. It was the first year of the decade that would be dubbed ‘The Swinging Sixties’.

1960 In The News

Life in 1960 - Valdiva Earthquake
Valdiva earthquake destruction

22nd January– Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh explored the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean

1st February– Civil rights demonstrators began lunch-counter sit-ins

22nd May– Valdiva 9.5 earthquake in Chile caused widespread destruction

1st October– Nigeria gained independence from Britain. It was one of 17 African nations to gain independence in 1960
1st December – Antarctic Treaty – Antarctica was declared a military free zone

8th November– John F Kennedy won the United States Presidential election.


Life in 1960 – Prices

dollar bill

Average house:
UK – £2,189; USA – $12,500
Petrol per gallon:
UK – £0.23; USA – $0.28
Loaf of Bread:
UK – £0.05; USA – $0.20
Gold per ounce:
UK – $35.27, USA – $35.3

Life in 1960 – Population

World Map

World: – 3,042,445,797
Australia: – 10,361,273
Canada: – 18,266,764
China: – 650,660,544
India: – 445,393,248
Soviet Union: 119,631,632
United States: – 179,979,008
United Kingdom: – 52,372,000


Life in 1960 – Music

Popular MusicBest Selling Single:
UK – It’s Now or Never – Elvis Presley
USA – Theme from ‘A Summer Place’ – Percy Faith
AUS – It’s Now or Never – Elvis Presley
CAN – He’ll Have To Go – Jim Reeves

Best Selling Album:
UK – South Pacific – Original Soundtrack
USA – The Sound of Music – Original Broadway Cast
AUS – No data – Charts began 1965
CAN – No data – Charts began 1968

Popular Artists:
Ray Charles, Chubby Checker, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin, The Drifters, Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Wilson


On the Bookshelves

BookshelfBooks Published in 1960:

Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds – Joy Adamson
Asterix the Gaul – Rene Goscinny
A Man For All Seasons – Robert Bolt

At the Movies

Movies Films1960 Top Movies (USA box office figures):

1. Spartacus – $14 million
2. Psycho – $9.1 million
3. Exodus – $8.5 million
4. Swiss Family Robinson – $8.1 million
5. The Alamo – $7.9 million


Life in 1960 – World Leaders

Dwight Eisenhower
Dwight Eisenhower

Australia Prime Minister – Robert Menzies 
Canada Prime Minister – John Diefenbaker
China President – Mao Zedong to 27th April; Liu Shaoqi after 27th April
India Prime Minister – Jawaharlal Nehru
Soviet Union Leader – Nikita Khruschchev
United States President – Dwight Eisenhower
United Kingdom Prime Minister – Harold MacMillan


Born in 1960

Prince Andrew born in 1960
Prince Andrew

19th February – Prince Andrew (Royal Family)
7th March – Ivan Lendl (Tennis Player)
11th April – Jeremy Clarkson (Journalist, TV Personality)
10th May – Bono (Singer)
9th September – Hugh Grant (Actor)
30th November – Gary Lineker (Footballer, Presenter)

Died in 1960

Albert Camus died 1960
Writer Albert Camus

4th January – Albert Camus (Writer)
17th April- Eddie Cochran (Singer)
30th May- Boris Pasternak (Writer)
3rd November – Bobby Wallace (Baseball Player)
16th November – Clark Gable (Actor)


1960 Sport Highlights

Olympic RingsFootball – Wolverhampton Wanderers won the FA Cup
Cycling – Gastone Nencini (ITA) won the Tour de France
Winter Olympics – Held in Squaw Valley USA, won by Soviet Union
Summer Olympics – Held in Rome, Italy, won by Soviet Union
Tennis – Rod Laver won the Australian Open – his first title
Baseball – Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series
Horse Racing – Pas Seul won the Cheltenham Gold Cup; Venetian Way won the Kentucky Derby


Christmas Wishlist

Barbie Doll first on sale

Barbie Doll
Etch A Sketch
Plastic Hula Hoop
Slinky Dog
Chatty Cathy doll
Troll dolls



What Was New?

Halogen Lamp 1960
Halogen Lamp

Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER) invented
Halogen Lamp developed
First coronary artery bypass surgery
First cordless shaver developed



First published 2020; updated and republished Mar 24 2022 @ 10:17 am – Updated – Mar 30, 2022 @ 12:15 pm