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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1880-1889

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.

Wages in the United States, 1880-1889

Jump down to WAGES ...
in INDIVIDUAL STATES
In FOREIGN COUNTRIES
ANALYSIS OF WAGE TRENDS

  • Farm wages by state - 1880
    This table is shown in a section of the book for wages on farms, and includes breakouts for blacksmiths, carpenters, machine makers, wheelwrights and shoemakers. Also breaks out wages for transient and non-transient workers, during harvest or not.
  • Farm wages by state - 1881
    Same breakouts as above but also includes wage data for Indian Territory.
  • Farm labor wages by state - 1866-1892
    Reported with and without board. Data for years: 1866, 1869, 1875, 1879, 1882, 1885, 1888, 1890, 1892. This book also contains an explanation of labor and wage conditions in the South following the Civil War.
  • Farm labor - Average wages by state, 1866-1909
    Tables 11-13 on pages 29-31 show average wages with and without board. Table 17 shows average wages per day without board, and Table 18 shows the daily wages with board.
    Section titled "Extras Received by Laborers" explains the prevalence and value of non-monetary benefits paid to farm laborers, such as the use of a house or dwelling and garden plot, firewood for heat, stable and pasture for the worker's horse or cow, laundry service, occasional use of a buggy or a team for hauling, and one meal per day, pp. 49-52. Starting on page 53, there is discussion of the purchasing power of farm wages over the years.
  • Farm labor wages in Missouri, 1866-1930
    Shows average farm labor wage in Missouri with and without board, during harvest time or at other times. Source: Missouri State Dept of Agriculture.
  • Farm laborer monthly earnings, 1818-1948
    Lists average monthly earnings with board, by geographic divisions. Data for years: 1818, 1826, 1830, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1909, 1919, 1929, 1940, 1948. Read the explanation and historical context for this table.
  • Farm labor wages - 1866-1922
    In one simple table, this source shows the national average for daily and monthly wages of hired farm labor, with board or without, at harvest or at other times. Data available for years 1866, 1869, 1875, 1879, 1882, 1885, 1888, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1898, 1899, 1902, and each year from 1910-1922.
  • Average daily wages for occupations before and after labor strikes, 1881-1886
    Hundreds of pages document labor strikes taking place in the US from 1881-1886, showing wages paid before and after the strike. Data is broken out by male and female workers. Tables arranged by state then locality, and by the occupational group on strike. How to use this source -- Each table is horizontal and continues for a total of four book pages. Scroll forward to the third page of each table in order to find "AVERAGE DAILY WAGE" in the column headings.
  • Wages before strikes, 1887-1894
    Annual report of the US Commissioner of Labor lists all strikes in the United States by state, locality and occupation of the strikers. A description field tells the reason for each strike, and in some entries, it will tell the workers' present wage and the increase they wanted. The table also tells whether each strike was successful. Note that each table is horizontal and extends across four book pages.
  • Railroad employees - Average pay by company - 1880
    Provides average monthly wage across all jobs at each railroad company. Some companies represented include Union Pacific; Chicago Burlington & Quincy; Baltimore & Ohio; Philadelphia & Reading, and more.
  • Railroad employees - Average pay by job title and company, 1881
    The state of Illinois required all RR companies operating in that state to report average pay given to employees by job title, such as civil engineers, clerks, flagmen, brakemen, passenger conductors, machinists, freight conductors, baggage men, firemen, station agents, telegraph operators, and more.

WAGES -- GENERAL SOURCES  (all occupations and worker types)

Wages reported by State and Local Government, 1880-1889

WAGES reported by STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, 1880s
Click the tabs above for individual states.

Unlike the federal sources above which can show wages in many places, the links below point to publications that focus only on individual states. 

WAGES in CALIFORNIA, 1880s

WAGES in CONNECTICUT, 1880s

WAGES in ILLINOIS, 1880s

WAGES in KANSAS, 1880s

WAGES in MAINE, 1880s

WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS, 1880s

WAGES in MICHIGAN, 1880s

WAGES in MINNESOTA, 1880s

WAGES in NEW YORK, 1880s

WAGES in PENNSYLVANIA, 1880s

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Wages in Foreign Countries, 1880-1889

Sources showing wages in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

Click the tabs above for individual countries.

Wages in AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND, 1880s

Wages in CANADA, 1880s

Wages in FRANCE, 1880s

Wages in GERMANY, 1880s

Wages in INDIA, 1880s

Wages in IRELAND, 1880s

Wages in ITALY, 1880s

Wages in SWEDEN, 1880s

Wages in the UNITED KINGDOM, 1880s

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Wages, 1880s - Analysis

Prices in the United States, 1880-1889

PRICES for FOOD and ALCOHOL, 1880s

PRICES for MEALS, 1880s

PRICES for HOUSING AND LAND, 1880s

PRICES for TRAVEL, 1880s

PRICES for CLOTHING AND MERCHANDISE in government sources, 1880s

 

PRICES for CLOTHING AND MERCHANDISE in mail order catalogs, 1880s

PRICES for SERVICES, 1880s

HEALTH CARE COSTS, 1880s

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Cost of Living / Consumer Expenditures - 1880s

Prices in Foreign Countries, 1880-1889

Prices in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, 1880s

Click the tabs above for single countries.

Prices in AUSTRALIA, 1880s

Prices in CANADA, 1880s

Prices in GREAT BRITAIN, 1880s

Prices in INDIA, 1880s

Prices in IRELAND, 1880s

Prices in ITALY, 1880s

Prices in SWEDEN, 1880s

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Timeline -- Major economic events of the 1880s

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1880

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1881

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1882

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1883

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1884

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1885

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1886

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1887

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1888

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1889

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

Legend

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Phone (573) 882-0748