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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1910-1919

Links to government documents and primary sources listing retail prices for products and services, as well as wages for common occupations.

Wages in the United States, 1910-1919

Wages by race, 1910-1919

Wages by occupation, 1910-1919

See job duties and qualifications in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Descriptions of Occupations, published 1918.

  • Architects' earnings, ca. 1914
    "Architects ask from $75 to $100 for designing the average dwelling," according to this page of the Montgomery Ward catalog, Building Plans of Modern Homes.
  • Building and construction trades - Union wages, 1913-1930
    Arranged by occupation and then by city and year, this source shows wages and hours for union bricklayers, building laborers, carpenters, cement finishers, inside granite cutters, hod carriers, inside wiremen, painters, plasterers, plumbers, sheet-metal workers, stonecutters and structural iron workers.

  • Government salaries and wages
    • Federal
    • State
      • New York state, 1911-1931
        This source is entirely about compensation of state and local government employees in New York. See the table of contents for additional tables and discussion.
      • Missouri, 1917
        See the  salary of every employee at Missouri state agencies and institutions. The data is reported by occupations such as dentist, druggist, physician, chaplain, cook, night watchmen, cooks, nurses and attendants, professors and teachers. Source: Missouri official manual.
    • Local government
  • Higher education - Salaries for college teachers and administrators, 1913
    For each of the major state universities in the U.S., this source lists the minimum and maximum salaries paid to college professors, deans, instructors and tutors. Source: U.S. Bureau of Education Bulletin #60.
  • Iron and steel industry wages and hours, 1907-1931
  • Iron and steel industry workers, 1907-1924
    Earnings per hour, customary hours of labor, and actual hours and earnings in one pay period in 1924 are presented in this report for wage earners in ten departments of the iron and steel industry in the United States. Summary figures for preceding years are also shown for each department.
  • Judicial branch salaries (federal employees), 1908-1922
    Arranged geographically, this source shows the salaries of circuit judges, district judges, U.S. marshals, U.S. attorneys and their assistants, deputies, commissioners, court clerks, office boys, messengers, salaries and wages of employees at U.S. penitentiaries, and more. Source: Register of the Department of Justice and the Judicial Officers of the United States. Salaries were listed in this publication up through 1922.

Manufacturing wages, 1910-1919

WAGES in FOOD MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in CLOTHING MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in TEXTILE MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in FURNITURE MANUFACTURING, 1910s

WAGES in CIGAR MANUFACTURING, 1910s

Teacher salaries by location, 1910-1919

See tabs above for individual states

TEACHER SALARIES in GEORGIA, 1910s

TEACHER SALARIES in SOUTH CAROLINA, 1910s

TEACHER SALARIES in TEXAS, 1910s

Wages by state, 1910-1919

WAGES in CALIFORNIA, 1910s

WAGES in ILLINOIS, 1910s

WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS, 1910s

WAGES in MISSOURI, 1910s

WAGES in MICHIGAN, 1910s

WAGES in NEW YORK, 1910s

WAGES in OHIO, 1910s

WAGES in PENNSYLVANIA, 1910s

WAGES in VERMONT, 1910s

Wages by sex, 1910-1919

Army Nurse CorpsU. S. Army nurses earned $720-$960 annually in 1918

 

Click tabs above for individual states.

Because women's wages varied a great deal around the country in the 1910s, most wage data is reported by state.  In addition to the state links above, see also the links further above for school teachers, clothing manufacture and laundry work, as women workers were heavily concentrated in those jobs.  See list of the most common occupations for women in 1910 and 1920, outside of agricultural work.

WOMEN'S WAGES in CALIFORNIA, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in WASHINGTON, D.C., 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in INDIANA, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in KANSAS, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in MARYLAND, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in NEW YORK, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in OREGON, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in PENNSYLVANIA, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in SOUTH CAROLINA, 1910s

WOMEN'S WAGES in WASHINGTON, 1910s

MINIMUM WAGE for WOMEN, 1910s

Foreign wages by country, 1910-1919

Wages in ARGENTINA, 1910s

Wages in AUSTRALIA, 1910s

Includes bakers, engineers, store clerks, etc. Wages are categorized by industry, occupation, state capital, and sex. Expressed in shillings. Full list of years is provided below:

  • 1913, no. 6, pp. 1130-1138
  • 1914, no. 8, pp. 1013-1037
  • 1915, no.9, pp. 1063-1089
  • 1916, no. 10, pp. 1070-1102   
  • 1917, no. 11, pp. 1110-1142
  • 1918, no.12, pp. 1107-1144

Wages in AUSTRIA, 1910s

Wages in CANADA, 1910s

WAGES in CHILE, 1910s

Wages in DENMARK, 1910s

Wages in FRANCE, 1910s

Wages in GERMANY, 1910s

Wages in GREAT BRITAIN, 1910s

Wages in INDIA, 1910s

Wages in IRELAND, 1910s

Wages in ITALY, 1910s

Wages in JAPAN, 1910s

Wages in MEXICO, 1910s

Wages in NEW ZEALAND, 1910s

Wages in NORWAY, 1910s

Wages in THE PHILIPPINES, 1910s

Wages in POLAND, 1910s

Wages in RUSSIA, 1910s

Wages in SPAIN, 1910s

Wages in SWEDEN, 1910s

Wages in SWITZERLAND 1910s

Wages in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, 1910s

See tabs above for additional countries

Prices and wages analysis, 1910s

Critical analysis of government methods for collecting and reporting wage data in the 1910s.

Significant legislation about wages, 1910s-1920s

Food prices in the United States, 1910-1919

 

Jell-O advertisement, 1918
Some early food brands remain recognizable today.

PRICES for FOOD, 1910s

Girl with corn flakes (1915)A box of corn flakes cost 14 cents in 1919.

 

 

 

  • Economical menus for single women, 1917
    Shows a suggested meal plan for 10 days, having an average cost of 23 ¼ cents per person per day.  Source: How to cut food costs by Lenna Frances Cooper.

Housing and land prices, 1910-1919

Tip: check the introduction sections of the publications below to determine whether the estimated home costs include labor or just materials.

Transportation and travel prices, 1910-1919

 

 

 

  • Steamship fares to and from New York, 1909
    Shows lowest rates advertised between New York City, England and Europe. Breakouts for 1st, 2nd and 3rd class travel. More detail on amenities of 2nd class and steerage travel are also available in this source, The Scientific American Handbook of Travel, published 1910.
  • Steamship fares to Latin America, South America and Caribbean
    Taken from section titled "Steamship fares and itineraries" in the 1920 U.S. Dept of Commerce publication "Commercial Travelers' Guide to Latin America." Fares show city of departure in the U.S. and port of arrival. Departure cities include New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Key West.

 

 

 

 

  • Airfare - London to Paris, Spring 1919
    Fare was about $42 one-way on the Handley-Page and Airco lines, on former WWI planes redesigned for passenger service.  Source: Aviation magazine, Jan 2, 1922.

HOTEL RATES

LUGGAGE

 

  • Vacation package - Chicago to Yellowstone, 1911
    All-expense rates: 15-day tour for $160; a 22-day tour for $190.

Merchandise prices, 1910-1919

Health costs, 1910-1919

More prices in the United States, 1910-1919

PRICES for ANIMALS, 1910s

PRICES for COMMUNICATION, 1910s

COST OF COLLEGE or VOCATIONAL EDUCATION, 1910s

In the 1910s decade, 4% to 6% of people aged 18-21 enrolled in college. Source: U.S. Bureau of Education.

PRICES for SERVICES, 1910s

Cost of living and consumer expenditures, 1910s

Tools, calculators, and exchange rates

Analysis - Prices in the 1910s

Foreign prices by country, 1910-1919

Prices in ARGENTINA, 1910s

Prices in AUSTRALIA, 1910s

Prices in AUSTRIA, 1910s

Wages in BELGIUM, 1910s

Prices in BULGARIA, 1910s

Prices in CANADA, 1910s

Prices in FRANCE, 1910s

Prices in GERMANY, 1910s

Prices in GREAT BRITAIN, 1910s

Prices in GREECE, 1910s

Prices in HUNGARY, 1910s

Prices in ITALY, 1910s

Prices in INDIA, 1910s

Prices in IRELAND, 1910s

Prices in JAPAN, 1910s

Prices in MEXICO, 1910s

Prices in NETHERLANDS, 1910s

Prices in POLAND, 1910s

Prices in ROMANIA, 1910s

Prices in RUSSIA, 1910s

Prices in SCANDINAVIA, 1910s

Prices in SPAIN, 1910s

Prices in SWITZERLAND, 1910s

Prices in TURKEY, 1910s

Wages in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, 1910s

See tabs above for additional countries

Quotable facts for the 1910-1919 decade

In the United States...

  • 69% of earners in 1914 had a personal annual income of less than $2,000. Source: NBER
  • Cars cost an average of $2,214 in 1910 and $2,226 in 1919. Source: Automotive Industries
  • A gallon of gasoline cost an average of 19.8¢ in 1910-1914. This increased to 28.3¢ by 1919. Source: USDA
  • 19.7% of families purchased health insurance in 1918, at an average annual cost of $17. Source: U.S. BLS.
  • Carpenters earned 50¢ per hour in 1910 in Washington, D.C. Source: U.S. BLS
  • Engineers earned an average of $884 in their first year after graduating from college.  Source: Engineering News, Sep 1915.
  • Carpenter tool kits cost $15.30. Source: Sears Spring 1910 catalog
  • Men's work boots cost $1.35 a pair. Source: Sears Spring 1910 catalog
  • Bread cost an average of 5¢ per pound in 1912. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Milk cost an average of 17¢ per half gallon in 1910. Source: U.S. BLS
  • Coffee cost an average of 27¢ per pound in 1910. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture 
  • The cost of living increased at least 63% and possibly as much as 78% between 1914 and 1921.  Source: Nat. Industrial Conference Board. 

Timeline -- Major Economic Events of the 1910s

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

1910

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

1911

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

1912

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

1913

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

1914

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

1915

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

1916

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

1917

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

1918

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

1919

"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