Profile America: Regulating Child Labor


Profile America — Children have worked for family enterprises like farms and small shops for countless generations. But child labor in mines and the often-dangerous factories arising from the Industrial Revolution was quickly regarded as a social ill. In response, Massachusetts became the first state to regulate child labor on this date in 1842. The modest measure prohibited children under the age of 12 from working more than 10 hours a day. Now, all states have statutes regulating child labor, and nationally, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 provides basic protection for children under 16. In the U.S. today, out of a population of some 323 million people, over 70 million are age 16 and younger. Meanwhile, more than 160 million Americans over the age of 16 are in the workforce.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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