Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Prices and Wages by Decade: 1930-1939

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, 1930-1939

 

WAGES by RACE

Wages by Occupation / Industry, 1930-1939

Manufacturing Wages, 1930-1939

WAGES in MANUFACTURING, 1930s -- General sources

See tabs above for specific industries

WAGES in FOOD MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in CLOTHING MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in TEXTILE MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in LEATHER MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in DRUGS and TOILETRIES MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in CIGARETTE MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in PAPER BOX MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in FURNITURE MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in RADIO MANUFACTURING, 1930s

WAGES in AMMUNITION and EXPLOSIVES MANUFACTURING, 1930s

Women's wages - 1930-1939

WOMEN'S WAGES by RACE

Wage reports for individual states - 1930s

Wages in MULTIPLE STATES, 1930s

Wages in ALABAMA, 1930s

Wages in ARKANSAS, 1930s

Wages in ARIZONA, 1930s

Wages in CALIFORNIA, 1930s

Wages in COLORADO, 1930s

Wages in CONNETICUT, 1930s

Wages in the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 1930s

Wages in DELAWARE, 1930s

Wages in FLORIDA, 1930s

Wages in GEORGIA, 1930s

Wages in HAWAII, 1930s

Wages in IOWA, 1930s

Wages in IDAHO, 1930s

Wages in ILLINOIS, 1930s

Wages in INDIANA, 1930s

Wages in KANSAS, 1930s

Wages in KENTUCKY, 1930s

Wages in LOUISIANA, 1930s

Wages in MASSACHUSETTS, 1930s

Wages in MARYLAND, 1930s

Wages in MAINE, 1930s

Wages in MICHIGAN, 1930s

Wages in MINNESOTA, 1930s

Wages in MISSOURI, 1930s

Wages in MISSISSIPPI, 1930s

Wages in MONTANA, 1930s

Wages in NORTH CAROLINA, 1930s

Wages in NORTH DAKOTA, 1930s

Wages in NEBRASKA, 1930s

Wages in NEW HAMPSHIRE, 1930s

Wages in NEW JERSEY, 1930s

Wages in NEW MEXICO, 1930s

Wages in NEVADA, 1930s

Wages in NEW YORK, 1930s

Wages in OHIO, 1930s

Wages in OKLAHOMA, 1930s

Wages in OREGON, 1930s

Wages in PENNSYLVANIA, 1930s

Wages in RHODE ISLAND, 1930s

Wages in SOUTH CAROLINA, 1930s

Wages in TENNESSEE, 1930s

Wages in TEXAS, 1930s

Wages in UTAH, 1930s

Wages in VIRGINIA, 1930s

Wages in VERMONT, 1930s

Wages in WASHINGTON, 1930s

Wages in WISCONSIN, 1930s

Wages in WEST VIRGINIA, 1930s

Wages in WYOMING, 1930s

Wages in Foreign Countries, 1930-1939

Wages in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, 1930s

See tabs above for individual countries.

Wages in ARGENTINA, 1930s

Wages in FRANCE, 1930s

Wages in GERMANY, 1930s

Wages in GREAT BRITAIN, 1930s

Wages in INDO-CHINA, 1930s

Wages in JAPAN, 1930s

Wages in MEXICO, 1930s

Wages in PALESTINE, 1930s

Wages in the SOVIET UNION, 1930s

Family income, 1930s

"It should be emphasized that income tax returns are frequently but erroneously used as an indication of the number of families at different income levels..... only about 4 million persons file returns whereas there are 30 million families in the United States."  -- Daniel Starch, Ph.D., writing in 1930 (Source)

Prices in the United States, 1930-1939

PRICES for FOOD, 1930s

PRICES for MERCHANDISE, 1930s

PRICES for HOUSING and UTILITIES, 1930s

HOUSEHOLD UTILITIES - RATES, 1930s

PRICES for HEALTH CARE, 1930s

PRICES for SERVICES, 1930s

PRICES for TRAVEL and TRANSPORTATION, 1930s

CAR PRICES

GASOLINE PRICES

TRAIN FARES

BUS FARES

AIR FARES

STEAMSHIP FARES

COST of a COLLEGE EDUCATION, 1930s

Cost of Living and Consumer Expenditures, 1930s

In addition to the links below, we highly recommend the book  America's Capacity to Consume, published in 1934 by the Brookings Institution.  It is unparalleled in its reporting of personal and household income as well as consumer expenditures in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  

Prices in Foreign Countries, 1930-1939

Sources showing prices in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, 1930s

Click the tabs above for single countries.

Prices in CENTRAL AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN, 1930s

Prices in FRANCE, 1930s

Prices in the SOVIET UNION, 1930s

Cost of Living in Foreign Countries, 1930-1939

Buying power of historic wages expressed in today's dollars

Quotable facts for the 1930-1939 decade

In the United States...

  • In 1938, minimum wages was $0.25 per hour. Source: U.S. Department of Labor
  • In 1930, bread cost an average of $0.09 per pound. Source: U.S. BLS
  • In 1930, milk cost an average of $0.28 per ½ gallon. Source: U.S. BLS
  • In 1930, eggs cost an average of $0.44 per dozen. Source: U.S. BLS
  • In 1930, sugar cost an average of $0.061 per pound. Source: U.S. BLS
  • In 1930, flour cost an average of $0.23 per 5lbs. Source: U.S. BLS 
  • In 1930, the cost of the popular car, the Ford Model A, was $435. Source: J.D. Power
  • In 1939, the average cost of a gallon of gasoline was 18.6¢. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • In 1930, the average cost of a passenger train ticket per mile was $0.0272. Source: Section of Transportation Service
  • In 1938, the median monthly salaries of public health staff nurses started at $122 per month. Source: U.S. BLS
  • In 1930, public school teachers made a median salary between $2,077 for kindergarten teachers and $3,436 for department leaders at high schools. Source: U.S. BLS 
  • In 1932, the median income for engineers at various ages and professional degrees was $2, 574. Source: U.S. BLS

Timeline -- Major Economic Events 1930-1938

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1930

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1931

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1932

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

1933

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1934

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1935

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1936

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1938

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935" (with 1936-1938 supplement)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

Legend

Ask a Question

Reference service is available Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Marie Concannon, Government Information Librarian
Government Documents Department
106B Ellis Library (1st Floor East)
University of Missouri, Columbia
Phone (573) 882-0748