Farm Wages

1904 Journal of Political Economy  
AN interesting statistical comparison of farm wages in the United States since I869 has just been published by the Department of Agriculture. In it are embodied the results of twelve investigations conducted by the department at intervals during the past thirty-five years. These tables show the number of farm laborers in each state in I900; the wages paid in each state to laborers hired by the month, with or without board; by the day, with or without board; also wages in harvest seasons. The
more » ... rage wages for the United States without board were lowest in I879, being only $I6.42 per month. From that a gradual increase is shown till I893, when the average was $I9.IO. With the depression of the following year wages declined, until only $I7.69 was the average wage paid farm laborers without board in 1895. This is $1.27 higher than the low point reached in I879. Each report since 1895 shows an increase in wages, and the farm wages of I902 are the highest that have ever been paid. And for the country as a whole they are only $22.14. If the laborer is employed for twelve months in the year, his annual earnings are only $265.68, while the average earnings of the laborers employed in manufacturing industry in the United States by the census of I900 are $437.96. When the proper deduction from the earnings of the farm laborer are made for enforced idleness due to climatic conditions, his annual income will not be more than one-half the wages paid in manufacturing industries in the United States. In this fact we find an explanation of the rapid growth of industrial, at the expense of agricultural, population. A study of the wages in different states shows the highest wages in the range states of the West. California, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada pay over $40 per month to men who furnish tlheir own board. The corn and wheat belt of the north central states pav about the same rate of wages as the New England states; i. e., from $30 to $36 per month. But the conditions determining the rates of wages in the two sections differ materially. The great 254
doi:10.1086/251035 fatcat:ajphzjgvrzg7tlfdqcpp3bbq6e