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Prices and Wages by Decade: Introduction

Links to U. S. government documents listing retail prices for typical consumer purchases, and wages for common occupations. All data is for the United States unless specifically indicated.

Government Information Librarian

Marie Concannon
Contact:
106-B Ellis Library

Office phone: (573) 882-0748
Website / Blog Page

Prices and Wages by Decade

Choose a time period from the gold tabs above.

This guide points to government publications listing retail prices for common items or "necessities of life."   Prices for foods, articles of clothing, household items, appliances, hardware, fuel and other physical goods fall within the domain of this guide.  We included prices for other types of common expenditures as well: transportation, cars, homes, rent, utilities, and school tuition for example. 

Here you will also find typical wages, salaries, hours and earnings for workers dating back to the 1700s.  Again, we point to official government publications almost exclusively.

Thanks to Mizzou student assistants Amanda Krewson, Kamilah Jones, Scott Peterson, Carrie Carter, and Guinevere Lawson, as well as to Pamela Campbell of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Library who provided assistance in the enhancement of this web resource.

Buying power of historic wages expressed in today's dollars