American incomes ca. 1650-1870


Data and estimates from a research project by Peter H. Lindert and Jeffrey G. Williamson, as summarized in these writings: -“American Incomes before and after the Revolution”, Journal of Economic History 73, 3 (September 2013): 725-765.
-“American Colonial Incomes, 1650–1774”, forthcoming in the Economic History Review.
-Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality since 1700 (Princeton University Press, 2016).

(A) Four data heroes: As noted in the Unequal Gains book, the estimates have drawn heavily on the pioneering work of these four scholars (click on names for their photos):
-Alice Hanson Jones
-Jackson Turner Main
-Gloria Lund Main
-Steven Ruggles
Our thanks to Washington University, Gloria Main, and Steven Ruggles for the photos.

(B) Thirteen colonies, up to c1774

-Allen subsistence bundle costs, colonial America versus England, as of 2013
-Backcasting Chesapeake incomes from 1774 back to 1675
-Backcasting Middle Colonies' incomes from 1774 back to 1725
-Backcasting New England incomes from 1774 back to 1650
-Chesapeake income clues 1650-1774a (revised)
-Mains' 18,509 probates for colonial New England, 1631-1776
-Mains' probates for colonial New England, regression equation
-Mains' probates for colonial New England, backcast results

(C) Revolutionary America, circa 1774

  • Occupation codes and counts c1774

-Big cities 1774, occupational codes (Lindert - Williamson)
-Charleston population and occupations, 1790, 1774
-City populations and occupations 1746-1795
-Lancaster PA (borough) occupations, 1773
-North Carolina, local assessments for 3 rural counties, 1779-1782
-Occupation codes (Lindert -Williamson)
-Philadelphia occupations 1772, per B.G. Smith
-St. Louis census 1776
-Estimated mix of occupations 1774 by region
-American labor force by colony

-Wage data c1774
-Own-labor incomes 1774
-American incomes 1774, full-time assumptions
-American incomes 1774, baseline part-time assumptions
-Work days per year, 1774-1860
-Splitting Southern incomes 1774 between two regions
-->A guide to the 1774 and 1800 estimates

(D) Fifteen Eastern States, circa 1800

-1798-1800 property totals
-1800 total incomes, using baseline part-time assumptions
-Age shares under and over 16 for the white population in 1774 and 1800, by colony/state

-Baltimore occupations 1799
-Boston occupations 1800
-Charleston occupations 1800
-Chester County PA occupations and realty, 8 rural townships 1799-1802
-Georgia, Burke County 1798 tax returns
-Hartford CT occupations 1799
-Lancaster PA 1800 -- occupations and realty ownership
-Lexington KY occupations 1806
-New York City occupations 1799
-Norfolk VA occupational directory 1801
-Philadelphia occupations 1800
-Pittsburgh PA occupations 1815
-Slave earnings retention c1800
-Slave occupational distribution 1800
-Occupations c1800 for 6 cities, summary
-Occupations c1800, towns and rural
-Occupations in big cities 1800, detail
-Wage rate data 1800
-Own-labor incomes 1800
-US population and labor force, by state in 1800

US realty tax returns for 1798

-Pitkin's summary of the 1798 returns
-Wolcott summary of 1798 returns, state totals
-Wolcott summary of 1798 returns, local totals for Middle Atlantic
-Wolcott summary of 1798 returns, local totals for New England
-Wolcott summary of 1798 returns, local totals for South
-American property income totals 1798-1800
-1800 total incomes, using baseline part-time assumptions

(E) United States 1850

-Wage data summary 1850
-Occupational pay rates 1850
-Slave retained earnings 1850, 1860 (revised)
-Wage data summary 1850
-Regional income totals 1850
-American income inequality 1850

(F) United States 1860

-Wage data summary 1860
-Work days per year, 1774-1860
-Calculating slave retained earnings and slave households from IPUMS 1860
(a) South Atlantic
(b) East South Central
(c) West South Central
(d) Missouri
-Own labor incomes 1860
-Converting 1860 census wealth to property incomes
-Property inequality 1860 and comparisons
-Regional income totals 1860
-American income inequality 1860

(G) United States 1870

-Wage data summary for 1870
-Regional income totals 1870
-American income inequality 1870
-Incomes by race, 1850-1870
-Men's earnings by race, 1850-1870

For further wage series in the North American colonies and the United States, see Robert A. Margo's compilation of wage time-series in Susan Carter et al., Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), volume 2, pages 2-254 through 2-294.

For further price series there, see the compilation of retail and wholesale prices by Christopher Hanes, Robert A. Margo, Peter H. Lindert, and Michael R. Haines, in Susan Carter et al., Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), volume 3, pages 3-147 through 3-224.

(H) Locked-down set of appendices and Excel files for JEH, February 2013

Appendix 1 - Population, labor force, and occupations
Labor force 1774 by colony
Labor force 1774-1790 regions and sectors
Slave labor force 1800
Labor force 1800 free & slave (Weiss)
Occ codes (Lindert -Williamson)
Rural Chester Co 8 towns 1799-1802
Small town occ dists 1774, c1800
Big cities c1774 by occ
Big cities 1800 by occ
Occs 1774 by region

Appendix 2 - Labor earnings
Wage data 1774
Wage data 1800
Own-labor incomes 1774
Own-labor incomes 1800
Slave earnings retention 1774, 1800 (Word document)

Appendix 3 - Property income estimation for 1774 and 1798-1800
Property 1774, 4 MidCols
Property 1774, New Eng
Property 1774, South
Property totals 1798-1800
American incomes detail 1774
American social table 1774

Appendix 4 - The richer colonial South: More evidence