Child Day-Labourers in Agriculture: Evidence from Farm Accounts, 1740-1850

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


While child labour has always been an important part of the industrial revolutionstory, there is little quantitative evidence about the number of child workers in the1740–1850 period. This article estimates trends in the percentage of the agriculturalday-labouring workforce that were children. By using the wage level to identify childworkers, it is possible to estimate child labour for a large sample of English farms. Itis found that girls were rarely employed as day-labourers, while boys were employedabout as frequently as women. The percentage of boys in the day-labour workforceincreased until the 1820s and then declined.


  • Joyce Burnette
External organisations
  • Wabash College
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • child labor, agricultural labor, English agriculture
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1099
Number of pages23
JournalEconomic History Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes