JF Ptak Science Books Post 2314
[Source: The Nation, May 1, 1943.]
Average 1942 salary of $2,500 = $34,00; Average hourly salary of 30 cents/hour = $4.12; Average cost of house, $8,000 (which is also about three times the average yearly salary) = $109,000 ; Bread, 9 cents = $1.24; Milk, 62 cents = $8.52 First class stamp, 3 cents = 41 cents. (Disappointingly I've seen some pretty wide discrepancies in these figures, not the least of which is housing, where I've seen upper-end estimates of $8,500 for a house...)
Just for the record, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fair exchange for a one 1942 dollar would be about $13.75 2014 dollars. *These figures too are bumppy--I've chosen to use The figures above are disappointing because they're figured per capita, which is a little difficult to work with, especially when trying to compare the data to family-computed figures with the numbers I have on hand. In any event $204 is about 8% of the average income, which is less than the percentage a family will spend on food per year nowadays, which seems to be in the 20+% neighborhood.
On the other hand, Gallup reports widely different numbers for that time, namely $15/week or $60/month of $720 a year, per family, which is about 30% of an annual income, which seems more in keeping with expectations. Adjusted for inflation, that figure is about $200/week in 2012, which is about 25% more than the average family spends today:
[Source: Gallup, here.]
The shocking thing from this little adventure is seeing the 8% figure at $50/week, and 25% (!) at the <$100 level.