A State and Local Consumer Price Index for the United States in 1890
NBER Historical Working Paper No. 2
This paper estimates a cost of living index for 39 states of the United States and the District of Columbia, as well as for 70 individual cities and towns, for the year 1890. It gives an overall index in addition to seven commodity subindices (food, clothing, housing, fuel and lighting, furniture, liquor and tobacco, and other coITllTlCX1ities). The cost of housing is only provided for 21 of the states and 5 of the cities, however. separate overall indices are calculated with and without housing costs. The source is the Aldrich Report for all the prices except housing. Housing costs were derived from the 1889/90 U.S. Commissioner of Labor Survey and from the earlier work of Albert Rees on real wages in American manufacturing. These price indices constitute simple fixed-weight Lespeyres indices and are not "true" constant utility cost of living indices.
Published: Historical Methods, vol.22, no.3 Summer 1989