Guides by Level of Government
Choose a time period tab in the gold bar above.
This guide points to government publications listing consumer prices for common items or "necessities of life." Retail prices for specific foods, articles of clothing and other physical goods fall within the domain of this guide. We included consumer prices for other types of common expenditures: transportation (gasoline or bus fare), housing, utilities, and school tuition for example. We avoid pointing to wholesale prices, prices for commodities, etc. unless it is the only kind of information available.
Here you will also find typical wages and earnings for workers dating back to the 1700s. Since it can be challenging to determine the number of hours that workers put in each week, earnings cannot necessarily be determined using only wage data.
We welcome your comments and suggestions: contact Marie Concannon, project coordinator.
Thanks to 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.