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A Century of Economic Development

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The last century has witnessed major changes in how and where Americans work and live—and in the characteristics of our workers. In 1900, the U.S. was an agrarian economy, where about 40% of all employment was in farm work. Just 100 years later, agriculture accounts for less than 2% of total employment, while the distribution and services sector accounts for about 50%. At the same time, the U.S. has become much more urbanized. In 1900, approximately 40% of Americans lived in urban areas; today, the cities are home to more than 75% of the population.


Suggested citation: "A Century of Economic Development," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 00-01, pp. 12, 01.01.2000.

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