Between 1850 and 1860 the total "pauper rate"-the number of individuals receiving public assistance per 1,000 population-increased from 5.8 to 10.2. We explore the determinants of the rise in antebellum pauperism using previously enexploited archival data. Changing labor market conditions, urbanization, and immigration led to a marked increase in the demand for public assistance. Antebellum taxpayers, however, were unwilling to maintain the generosity of relief at existing levels in the face of the rise in demand.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics