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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1940-1949

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, 1940-1949

Jump down to WAGES ...

by RACE
by SEX (WOMEN)
by OCCUPATION
by COUNTRY

 

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

WAGES in CITIES AND STATES

 

WAGES by RACE

Women's wages, 1940-1949

Wages by occupation and industry (A to Z), 1940-1949

Farm workers, 1943In 1940, Pacific region farm workers averaged $43 per month compared to $17
in the South (source)
  • Government (federal) - Pay scales, 1930-1949
    Table shows the basic annual pay rates for federal employees of various services and grades (GS-1 through GS-18, P, SP, CAF and CPC). These are not salary averages.
  • Government (state) pay by occupation in Missouri, 1949
    Shows pay to state government employees such as chemists, financial officers, inspectors, actuaries, judges, janitors, librarians, highway patrolmen, statisticians, telephone operators, carpenters, typists, watchmen and many more. Also shows salaries for the top officials in executive agencies. Recommended: use the search in text feature to find occupations.
  • Government (municipal) salaries and earnings, 1944
    Average hourly earnings, hours or work, estimated annual salaries.

Click on a tab in the box below to see manufacturing wages.

  • Nurse earnings - 1946 and 1949
    Shows median monthly earnings of nurses in different fields of practice, for example, working in hospitals, in private duty, for industry, etc. Also shows different pay rates for nurses living in the hospitals and outside of them.
  • Nurses, see also "Medical services occupations" in this list.
  • Nurses - Median income by state, 1949
    Source: Table 47, Health Manpower Source Book
  • Veterinarians' income, 1941
    Breaks out veterinarians' income by age of workers, also by the type of job, for example, working in an independent practice, doing research/education, inspection of meat and milk, etc.
  • Veterinarians' income, 1949
    Source: Table 110, Health Manpower Source Book.

Manufacturing wages, 1940-1949

WAGES in MANUFACTURING, 1940s -- General sources

Foreign wages by country, 1940-1949

Wages in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, 1940s

Click the tabs above for single countries.

Wages in AUSTRALIA, 1940s

Wages in AUSTRIA, 1940s

Wages in BELGIUM, 1940s

Wages in CANADA, 1940s

Wages in DENMARK, 1940s

Wages in FRANCE, 1940s

Wages in GERMANY, 1940s

Wages in POLAND, 1940s

Wages in the SOVIET UNION, 1940s

Wages in SWEDEN, 1940s

Wages in SWITZERLAND, 1940s

Wages in GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, 1940s

Wages, analysis - 1940s

Food prices in the United States, 1940-1949

Housing, real estate and utility rates, 1940-1949

Merchandise prices, 1940-1949

Transportation costs, 1940-1949

 

 

 

 

1946 American Airlines timetableFind fares in timetables

 

  • Average RT fare and shipboard expenses, 1949
    Shows average price paid for roundtrip steamship tickets plus expenses on routes from New York to Europe or the Mediterranean. From Survey of Current Business article titled "American Expenditures for Foreign Travel in 1949," table 3, p. 18.

 

Education expenses, 1940-1949

In 1940, 15% of people aged 18-21 were enrolled in college (U.S. Bureau of Education) and 4.6% of people aged 25 years or older have completed 4 years (U.S. Census, Table A-2).

Cost of living and consumer expenditures, 1940s

Historic wages expressed in today's dollars

Foreign prices by country, 1940-1949

Prices in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES, 1940s

Click the tabs above for single countries.

Prices in CANADA, 1940s

Prices in the EAST ASIA, 1940s

Prices in FRANCE, 1940s

Prices in ITALY, 1940s

Prices in LATIN AMERICA, 1940s

Prices in the MIDDLE EAST, 1940s

Prices in SCANDINAVIA, 1940s

Prices in the SOVIET UNION, 1940s

Prices in SWITZERLAND, 1940s

Prices in the UNITED KINGDOM, 1940s

Quotable facts for the 1940-1949 decade

In the United States...

  • Federal minimum wage increased from 25¢ to 30¢ per hour in October 1939. Source: U.S. Department of Labor
  • In 1939, the median annual salary/wage income for whites was $956; and $364 for non-whites. Source: Census Bureau
  • Homes had a median value of $2,938 in 1940. Source: US Census Bureau
  • As of 1940, 59.5% of the population ages 25 and over had progressed no further than 8th grade in school.  Source: Census Bureau.
  • By 1947, food alone comprised almost one-third of all consumer expenditures (Source: U.S. BEA)
  • Milk cost an average of 26¢ per half gallon in 1940. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Coffee cost an average of 21¢ per pound in 1940. Source: U.S. BLS
  • The Ford Standard 4-Door Sedan automobile was $725 in 1940. Source: J.D. Power
  • Gasoline cost an average of 18¢ per gallon in 1940.  Source: Energy Information Administration
  • By 1941, nearly half of all American families lacked an automobile. By 1949, 56% had an automobile. Source: Automobile Facts and Figures, 1957 ed.
  • In 1948, 59% of car buyers made the purchase in full cash. Source: US Census Bureau 

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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