The Average American Works More Hours Than A Medieval Peasant


Research from Juliet Schor, currently a Professor of Sociology at Boston College, from her text The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, show that Americans today are putting in more hours of work than a Medieval peasant.

The average American worker in 1987 was working about 1,811 hours annually, while an adult male peasant in 13th-century U.K. racked up approximately 1620 yearly. This hours are based on a Pew analysis of 2015 Labor Department data — the most recent data available. Read more.



  1. Poor comparison. In the 1200s, there weren’t any electric lights – labor was pretty much regulated to daylight hours.

  2. Of course, the peasant didn’t work in the winter, but sat in his cold and dark hovel, awaiting longer days and warmer weather. To make the comparison even somewhat realistic, the author should list the fruits of the labor, as well – housing, amenities, lifestyle, and other suchlike benefits that result from the labor of that average American, versus the supposed peasant.

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