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Were your ancestors’ work lives anything like yours?

See how the roles of men, women, and children in the workforce
evolved over the course of the 20th century.**

Percentage of workers with farming jobs

Percentage of workers with farming jobs

1900

38%

Percentage of workers with farming jobs

1990

3%

Percentage of women of working age in the workforce

Percentage of women of working age in the workforce

1900

19%

Percentage of women of working age in the workforce

1990

60%

Number of railroad workers killed on the job

Number of railroad workers killed on the job

1900

2,540

Number of railroad workers killed on the job

1990

56

Percentage of unemployed workers

Percentage of unemployed workers

1900

5%

Percentage of unemployed workers

1990

4.2%

Length of the average workweek

Length of the average workweek

1900

53 hours

Length of the average workweek

1990

43 hours

**Donald M. Fisk, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from the Fall 2001 issue of Compensation and Working Conditions