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We explore pre- and early industrial inequality of numeracy using the age heaping method and anthropometric strategies. For France, we map differential numeracy between the upper and lower segments of a sample population for 26 regions during the seventeenth century. For the US, inequality of numeracy is estimated for 25 states during the 19th century. Testing the hypothesis of a negative impact of inequality on welfare growth, we find evidence that lower inequality increased industrial development in the US, whereas for France such an effect was only evident in interactions with political variables such as proximity to central government.