Population, labor force, and occupations
Excel and Word file sources: As footnoted in the text, all Excel files and data referenced in this Appendix can be found in two internet archives. The unchanging set underlying the estimates in this article are downloadable from the “supplementary materials” folder of this article at the Journal’s internet site. A growing set of files for our larger project on America’s First Century: Growth and Inequality 1774-1870 are available in http://gpih.ucdavis.edu (click on the folder “American incomes 1774-1870”). The references to Excel files in this Appendix are to the versions archived by the Journal.
To construct the social tables, we estimate population by age, gender, slave/free status, rural/urban residence, and region. Indigenous native populations are excluded throughout. The three regions for the 1774 “original 13” include: New England = New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island; Middle Atlantic = Middle Colonies = New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware; and South = South Atlantic = Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The 1800 “original 13” consists of the same regions, but with Maine, Vermont, and the District of Columbia identified separately in the original data. Second, we estimate the distribution of that population between urban (big city = Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston; lesser towns = other places with populations over 2,500; and a rural residual. Third, the urban and rural populations are assigned occupations by gender and slave/free status.
1774 and 1800 population by age, gender, slave/free, region, and urban/rural:
1774 Source: The colonial censuses in Historical Statistics, Millennial Edition (Carter et al. 2006). Some colonies have less evidence on the age/gender breakdown than others, in which case for missing evidence we “clone” by assuming that the age/gender distribution of the most similar contiguous colony applies. Excel file “Labor force 1774 by colony”, worksheet (1)”.
1800 Source: The US censuses of 1800 in Michael R. Haines (the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research), Historical, Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-2000 [Computer file]. ICPSR02896-v2. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University/Ann Arbor: MI: ICPSR [producers], 2004. Ann Arbor, MI: ICPSR [distributor], 2005-04-29. We divided the populations into over- and under-16 age groups by sex, race, and region in Excel files “LF 1800 free & slave (Weiss)” and “Slave LF 1800.xlsx”.
The urban/rural decomposition for 1800 by state (and big city from the rest) is taken from the census as reported in ICPSR 2896 by Michael Haines (Computer File Compilation of the 1800 Census Compendium). The 1800 data are reported in Excel file “Urban data”. For 1774, the urban/rural decomposition is based on Price (1974: Appendix B, pp. 176-7). The 1774 data are reported in Excel file “LF 1774-1790 regions and sectors”. These sources allowed us to separate out the 1774 big city populations (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston) from the rest of the 1774 urban population by colony.
1774 and 1800 labor force participation:
Labor participation rates by category are not published in official sources until well into the nineteenth century. For 1774, we use estimated rates for 1800 supplied by Thomas Weiss by personal correspondence. How they were constructed can be found in his “U.S. Labor Force Estimates and Economic Growth, 1800-1860” (1992). See Excel file “Labor force 1774 by colony”, worksheet (2). We applied these to the population breakdowns to generate labor force numbers by age, sex, slave/free status, rural/urban residence, and region. See the Excel file “LF 1774-1790 regions and sectors”. For the labor force in 1800, see our presentation of estimates made available by Tom Weiss in “LF 1800 free & slave (Weiss)”, and regional rearrangement of the slave labor force in the file “Slave LF 1800”.
Household headship rates 1774 and 1800:
Following the leads of Billy Gordon Smith (1981, 1984, 1990), and the late Lucy Simler (1990, 2007) in particular, we estimate the number of household heads from population data for c1774 invoking the following assumptions:
For free whites, we use the number of free white males 21 and older as a proxy for the number of free white household heads. This implicitly assumes a net cancelation of two opposing errors: the failure to include female household heads other than the few (usually widows) identified in the data, versus the inclusion of free adult white males who were non-heads in somebody else's household.
For free non-whites in the North, we assume that 1/6 of that total free non-white population were household heads. It appears unlikely that many free non-whites in the slave South were household heads of the sort that would be considered such by the recorders of population censuses or tax assessments. The assumption made in this case is that 1/10 of them were heads of households defined as separate economic units. Thus we use a headship rate of 1/10 for free non-whites in Maryland, Delaware, and colonies/states further South.
For 1800, we pursued aggregate labor incomes and aggregate property incomes separately, for each state. Since the property returns are aggregate data not allowing a breakdown by occupation, we had to abandon the hope of calculating inequality of total incomes from occupational social tables for 1800. This meant there was no need to try to extract numbers of households. Rather, the labor income estimates use members of the labor force, and the property tax totals rest on returns from residences, rather than households.
For 1774, see Excel file “Labor force 1774 by colony”, worksheet (2). The corresponding estimates for 1800 can be found in Excel file “LF 1800 free & slave (Weiss)”.
Occupational Distribution of the Labor Force in 1774:
There are 99 occupational codes in our 1774 database (see Excel file “Occ codes, Lindert-Williamson”), but lack of data detail forced us to aggregate the occupational categories into the broader occupational groups described in Section II.A of the article’s text.
Our occupational allocations vary from region to region, and by residential sector (big city, lesser city, and rural). For a region-by-region explanation of the LW occupational weights, see Appendix 3, which contrasts our weights to those of Alice Hanson Jones in the context of estimating the distribution of property income. We continue here with the occupational source materials by residential sector within each region.
The big city occupational allocations are based on the following: “Big cities c1774 by occ” and “Big cities 1800 by occ”. These draw on our demographically adjusted counts in business directories, tax lists and probates for Baltimore 1790, Boston 1771, several places around 1780 (using Main 1965), Charleston 1774 (Jones 1977) and 1790, New York City 1786 and 1799, Philadelphia 1772 (data underlying Smith 1984, 1990), and Philadelphia 1774 and 1780-83 (data reported in Price 1974). As noted in the text, the Charleston 1774 occupational mix from Alice Hanson Jones was adjusted based on tax assessments for three rural North Carolina counties 1779-1782 (see Excel file “NC 3 counties 1779-82”). See the corresponding files at the gpih.ucdavis.edu site.
For lesser cities and small towns, the occupational distributions for New England are based on the following: 1765-1788 “frontier towns and subsistence communities”, “more commercial towns with access to markets”, and “lesser urban centers” (Main 1965); and small towns in Lancaster County (PA) 1800 plus the Chester County (PA) c1774 rural non-farm mix (Simler 1990, 2007; Marietta 1995). For towns in the Middle Colonies, the occupational mix is based on that in Lancaster Borough 1773. Since the town population numbers in the South are very small, we use the rural non-farm mix (see below) for the region’s few lesser cities and small towns. See the Excel file “Small town occ dists 1774, c1800”.
The rural non-farm labor force shares are for 1790 and they are given for that date by region in the Excel file “LF 1774-1790 regions sectors.xls”. The New England rural non-farm occupation mix was assumed to be the same as in lesser cities (above). For the Middle Colonies rural non-farm occupation mix, we used eight rural townships in Chester County (PA) 1800 (Simler 1990, 2007; Marietta 1995). See the Excel file “Rural Chester Co 8 towns 1799-1802”. For the South, we use Alice Hanson Jones’ (1977) rural w weights from four colonies (MD, VA, NC, SC), applying the same adjustment already applied to Charleston (above) by using three NC rural counties.
Occupational Distribution of the Labor Force in 1800:
We grouped the labor force data according to the same 99 occupational codes as for 1774 (again see Excel file “Occ codes, Lindert-Williamson”). However, a scarcity of data detail forced us to aggregate the urban and rural non-farm categories into the same ones described for 1774, for each urban/rural group: the free non-farm big city group, the free non-farm lesser cities and small town group, and the free rural non-farm group. Farms have only farm laborers, some of whom are family members of the heads’ household, some of whom are operators, and some of whom are owner-operators.
The big city occupational allocations for 1800 are based on the following: Baltimore 1799 city directory; Boston 1800 city directory; Charleston 1800 city directory; Norfolk 1801 city directory; New York City 1799 city directory; and Philadelphia 1800 city directory. See the Excel file “Big cities 1800 by occ.xls”.
The lesser city and small town occupational distributions for 1800 are based on the following: directories and tax lists from Hartford (CT) 1799, Lancaster Borough (PA) 1800, and Lexington (KY) 1806. See Excel file “Small town occ dists 1774, c1800” for a more detailed discussion and the data.
The rural non-farm labor force share for 1800 is based on Weiss (1992: Tables 1A.1, 1A.7, 1A.9) (see Excel file “LF 1800 free & slave (Weiss)”). Its occupational distribution, like that for 1774, is based on tax lists from eight Chester County (PA) rural townships, reported in Marietta (1995) and supported by Simler (1990, 2007). Again see Excel file “Rural Chester Co 8 towns 1799-1802.xls”).