United States Agriculture Data, 1840 - 2012 (ICPSR 35206)

Published: Jun 29, 2016

Principal Investigator(s):
Michael Haines, Colgate University; Price Fishback, University of Arizona; Paul Rhode, University of Michigan


Version V3

This collection includes county-level data from the United States Censuses of Agriculture for the years 1840 to 2012. The files provide data about the number, types, output, and prices of various agricultural products, as well as information on the amount, expenses, sales, values, and production of machinery. Most of the basic crop output data apply to the previous harvest year. Data collected also included the population and value of livestock, the number of animals slaughtered, and the size, type, and value of farms. Part 46 of this collection contains data from 1980 through 2010. Variables in part 46 include information such as the average value of farmland, number and value of buildings per acre, food services, resident population, composition of households, and unemployment rates.

Haines, Michael, Fishback, Price, and Rhode, Paul. United States Agriculture Data, 1840 - 2012. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-06-29. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35206.v3

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National Science Foundation (NSF-SES-0921732; 0648045)

United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health (R01 HD057929)

FIPS code

1840 -- 2012

This information was obtained from the United States Census Bureau's Web site.

The data contain basic information from 1850 to 1950 taken from ICPSR Study #3, "Historical, Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-1970." Additionally, data files for years 1840-1900 and 1910, 1920, and the Farm Land Value dataset were taken from ICPSR #2896 "Historical, Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-2002."

The size of the datasets resulted in many limitations during processing; therefore this collection has been minimally processed by ICPSR.

Please note that part 46 of this collection contains very large data files.

The sample was the universe of agricultural operating units. For 1969-2007, data were taken from computer files from the Census Bureau and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Time Series

Farms within United States counties and states.


Operating units (farms) except the annual production data


Data were compiled from published government documents and census information obtained from the United States Census Bureau and the United States Department of Agriculture. Please refer to the ICPSR codebook for complete source information pertaining to each dataset.

aggregate data

census/enumeration data

Not applicable



2015-08-05 The data, setup files, and documentation for 1964 Dataset 1 have been updated to reflect changes from the producer.

2014-12-22 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

2016-06-29 The data and documentation for 2012 County and State (data set 47) have been added to this collection. The collection and documentation titles have been updated to reflect the new year.

The data are not weighted.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.