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Graphs Showing Miners' Wages and Value of Gold Production, 1848-1860

In the early days of the Gold Rush, a miner could earn a typical year’s wages in a few days. With so much cash on hand, stores and boarding houses charged unheard-of prices for food, shelter and supplies. Increased competition, due to a continuous stream of immigrants and migrants from other parts of the U.S., also drove down wages. By 1856, a miner could barely break even and found himself working harder for less. All the while, the value of the gold mined in California rose, lining the pockets of investors who could afford to set up expensive dams and machinery to mine harder-to-reach pockets of gold.

Source | American Social History Project, 2011; adapted from Malcolm J. Rohrbough, Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997).
Creator | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning
Item Type | Quantitative Data
Cite This document | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, “Graphs Showing Miners' Wages and Value of Gold Production, 1848-1860,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 18, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1738.

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