Urban Life was in a really poor state during the gilded age and progressive era because of the political corruption, work conditions, and living conditions
Political machines controlled most of the major cities and stole millions of dollars across the country. They would help the poor to get their votes so they could stay in power and using their power they would steal money from the city. The most famous machine was the Tammany Hall led by Tweed as they stole millions.
Work conditions were extremely poor during progressive era and poverty forced many children to work. Work places were extremely crowded and safety was not values in the work place. In addition the wages were extremely low which made it hard to survive every day.
Living conditions were terrible during this time period. Because of the low wages families were forced to live in tenements, or on the streets. Those tenements were without heating, air conditioning, water, indoor bathrooms, and were very crowded.