The U.S. Census Bureau's Historical Statistics of the United States does not appear to break GDP down.

I'm aware that the terminology is imprecise:

  1. GDP is a modern term, but is much shorter than the contemporary understanding, "What was the total value of goods and services produced by sector?"

  2. "Industry" is also an imprecise term, but is much clearer than "what was the total value of goods and services produced in agriculture, craft, finance, and other sectors including nascent industrial activity".

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    The concept of GDP as we use it today didn't even really exist until the 20th century. Most likely anyone wanting that exact information broken down that exact way is going to have to do a ton of research to compile it from other sources. You might luck out and find someone else has already done that for you, I suppose. However, I'm thinking it might be better to ask what kind of financial information of that ilk is available. What exactly are you looking to see or compare?
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 16, 2019 at 19:22
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    See The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790–1860, Prentice Hall, 1961.. It has a ton of info about how the US economy was organized. Cotton was the biggest, of course. Selling food from the North Midwest to the slave owners in the south was second. Jan 16, 2019 at 19:31
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    I'm very reluctant to close a question when @axsvl77 has provided a legitimate answer. (Hey Axsvl77, can you move that to an answer). I'll grant you that the term "GDP" is an anachronism, but the British Empire was calculating the value of goods and services imported & exported by colony from an early period. I think the question is excellent.
    – MCW
    Jan 16, 2019 at 21:16
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    @MarkC.Wallace - I've also seen industrial age countries compared by tonnage of production of particular goods, which was useful enough for the purpose it was being put to. Based on the edit, I think that information in an answer would be welcome?
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 16, 2019 at 21:52
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    @MarkC.Wallace Thanks! Unfortunately, I won't have time to dig that book out of my closet to give a substantive answer. The data exists though Jan 16, 2019 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


According to this source (page 70), the shares of labor devoted to "industry" in the U.S. economy were 11.9% in 1800, 14.9% in 1810, 19.0% in 1820, and 20.0% in 1830, with the remainder devoted to agriculture.

'"Industrialization" was only getting started in the first half of the 19th century, but picked up greatly in the second half.

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