Cost of Living Survey Series

Investigator(s): United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Cost of Living Survey series was created by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with the goal of estimating the cost of living of a "typical" American family. ICPSR's holdings of such surveys conducted periodically by the Bureau since 1888 consist of: COST OF LIVING OF INDUSTRIAL WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE, 1888-1890 (ICPSR 7711), COST OF LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES, 1917-1919 (ICPSR 8299), and STUDY OF CONSUMER PURCHASES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1935-1936 (ICPSR 8908). The original survey materials from the second of such investigation, conducted in 1901, were deemed to have been destroyed several years ago. A total of 12,817 families of wage earners or salaried workers in industrial locales were originally interviewed in 99 cities throughout the United States. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities provided ICPSR with funds to convert to computer-readable form the original completed questionnaires housed in the National Archives of the United States. The data include a rich array of information about the income and expenses of the families surveyed, as well as basic demographic characteristics of each of the members of the families or households studied, selected to represent the urban working class of the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics began a similar survey series in 1941 titled, Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Most Recent Studies

Related Publications ?

Most Recent Publications

2012
Ferrie, Joseph P.,  Rolf, Karen,  Troesken, Werner . Cognitive disparities, lead plumbing, and water chemistry: Prior exposure to water-borne lead and intelligence test scores among World War Two U.S. Army enlistees. Economics and Human Biology. 10, (1), 98-111.
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2004
Hargis, Peggy G.,  Horan, Patrick M. Bounded by Culture or Culture Bound: Ethnicity, Schooling, and the Interplay of Theory and Evidence. Historical Methods. 37, (1), 23-33.
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2002
Moen, Jon . Child Earnings in the Great Depression: A View from the 1935-36 Survey of Consumer Purchases. Fourth European Social Science History Conference. The Hague.
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2000
Berry, William D.,  Fording, Richard C.,  Hanson, Russell L. An annual cost of living index for the American states, 1960-1995. Journal of Politics. 62, (2), 550-567.
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2000
Costa, Dora L. American Living Standards, 1888-1994: Evidence from Consumer Expenditures. NBER Working Paper Series. 7650, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
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2000
Fishback, Price V.,  Kantor, Shawn Everett . A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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2000
Moen, Jon R.,  Gratton, Brian . Tracking the Majority: Households, Older Workers, and Retirement During the Great Depression. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. 55B, (1), S28-S32.
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1999
Costa, Dora L. American Living Standards: Evidence from Recreational Expenditures. NBER Working Paper Series. 7148, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
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1997
Costa, Dora L. Less of a Luxury: The Rise of Recreation Since 1888. NBER Working Paper Series. 6054, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
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1996
Kantor, Shawn Everett,  Fishback, Price V. Precautionary Saving, Insurance, and the Origins of Workers' Compensation. Journal of Political Economy. 104, (2), 419-442.
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