NBER Historical Working Paper No. 71
Issued in August 1995
Though the geographic, occupational, and financial mobility of average Americans were important aspects of nineteenth century U.S. economic development, the extent and correlates of this economic mobility have remained open to debate in the absence of individual- level longitudinal data. This essay describes a new sample of 4,837 individuals linked from the 1850 Public Use Micro Sample of the federal census of population to the 1860 federal census manuscript schedules, using the new national 1860 federal census index. The linked sample provides information on occupation, wealth, family structure, and location in both 1850 and 1860. The construction of the sample is described in detail, along with tests of its representativeness and examples of potential uses.