$100 in 1838 → $2,548.57 in 2015

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $100 in 1838 to 2015

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2015 are 2,448.57% higher than prices in 1838. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 1.85% per year during this period.

In other words, $100 in 1838 is equivalent in purchasing power to $2,548.57 in 2015, a difference of $2,448.57 over 177 years.

The 1838 inflation rate was -3.12%. The inflation rate in 2015 was 0.12%. The 2015 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.07% per year between 2015 and 2018.


Inflation from 1838 to 2015
Cumulative price change 2,448.57%
Average inflation rate 1.85%
Converted amount ($100 base) $2,548.57
Price difference ($100 base) $2,448.57
CPI in 1838 9.300
CPI in 2015 237.017
Inflation in 1838 -3.12%
Inflation in 2015 0.12%


U.S. inflation chart since 1665


Buying power of $100 since 1838

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $100 in 1838 (price index tracking began in 1635).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each of these USD amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Year USD Value Inflation Rate
1838 $100.00 -3.12%
1839 $100.00 0.00%
1840 $93.55 -6.45%
1841 $93.55 0.00%
1842 $88.17 -5.75%
1843 $79.57 -9.76%
1844 $80.65 1.35%
1845 $81.72 1.33%
1846 $82.80 1.32%
1847 $88.17 6.49%
1848 $84.95 -3.66%
1849 $82.80 -2.53%
1850 $83.87 1.30%
1851 $82.80 -1.28%
1852 $82.80 0.00%
1853 $82.80 0.00%
1854 $90.32 9.09%
1855 $93.55 3.57%
1856 $91.40 -2.30%
1857 $93.55 2.35%
1858 $88.17 -5.75%
1859 $89.25 1.22%
1860 $89.25 0.00%
1861 $94.62 6.02%
1862 $108.60 14.77%
1863 $135.48 24.75%
1864 $168.82 24.60%
1865 $175.27 3.82%
1866 $170.97 -2.45%
1867 $159.14 -6.92%
1868 $152.69 -4.05%
1869 $146.24 -4.23%
1870 $140.86 -3.68%
1871 $131.18 -6.87%
1872 $131.18 0.00%
1873 $129.03 -1.64%
1874 $122.58 -5.00%
1875 $118.28 -3.51%
1876 $115.05 -2.73%
1877 $112.90 -1.87%
1878 $107.53 -4.76%
1879 $107.53 0.00%
1880 $109.68 2.00%
1881 $109.68 0.00%
1882 $109.68 0.00%
1883 $108.60 -0.98%
1884 $105.38 -2.97%
1885 $104.30 -1.02%
1886 $101.08 -3.09%
1887 $102.15 1.06%
1888 $102.15 0.00%
1889 $98.92 -3.16%
1890 $97.85 -1.09%
1891 $97.85 0.00%
1892 $97.85 0.00%
1893 $96.77 -1.10%
1894 $92.47 -4.44%
1895 $90.32 -2.33%
1896 $90.32 0.00%
1897 $89.25 -1.19%
1898 $89.25 0.00%
1899 $89.25 0.00%
1900 $90.32 1.20%
1901 $91.40 1.19%
1902 $92.47 1.18%
1903 $94.62 2.33%
1904 $95.70 1.14%
1905 $94.62 -1.12%
1906 $96.77 2.27%
1907 $101.08 4.44%
1908 $98.92 -2.13%
1909 $97.85 -1.09%
1910 $102.15 4.40%
1911 $102.15 0.00%
1912 $104.30 2.11%
1913 $106.45 2.06%
1914 $107.53 1.01%
1915 $108.60 1.00%
1916 $117.20 7.92%
1917 $137.63 17.43%
1918 $162.37 17.97%
1919 $186.02 14.57%
1920 $215.05 15.61%
1921 $192.47 -10.50%
1922 $180.65 -6.15%
1923 $183.87 1.79%
1924 $183.87 0.00%
1925 $188.17 2.34%
1926 $190.32 1.14%
1927 $187.10 -1.69%
1928 $183.87 -1.72%
1929 $183.87 0.00%
1930 $179.57 -2.34%
1931 $163.44 -8.98%
1932 $147.31 -9.87%
1933 $139.78 -5.11%
1934 $144.09 3.08%
1935 $147.31 2.24%
1936 $149.46 1.46%
1937 $154.84 3.60%
1938 $151.61 -2.08%
1939 $149.46 -1.42%
1940 $150.54 0.72%
1941 $158.06 5.00%
1942 $175.27 10.88%
1943 $186.02 6.13%
1944 $189.25 1.73%
1945 $193.55 2.27%
1946 $209.68 8.33%
1947 $239.78 14.36%
1948 $259.14 8.07%
1949 $255.91 -1.24%
1950 $259.14 1.26%
1951 $279.57 7.88%
1952 $284.95 1.92%
1953 $287.10 0.75%
1954 $289.25 0.75%
1955 $288.17 -0.37%
1956 $292.47 1.49%
1957 $302.15 3.31%
1958 $310.75 2.85%
1959 $312.90 0.69%
1960 $318.28 1.72%
1961 $321.51 1.01%
1962 $324.73 1.00%
1963 $329.03 1.32%
1964 $333.33 1.31%
1965 $338.71 1.61%
1966 $348.39 2.86%
1967 $359.14 3.09%
1968 $374.19 4.19%
1969 $394.62 5.46%
1970 $417.20 5.72%
1971 $435.48 4.38%
1972 $449.46 3.21%
1973 $477.42 6.22%
1974 $530.11 11.04%
1975 $578.49 9.13%
1976 $611.83 5.76%
1977 $651.61 6.50%
1978 $701.08 7.59%
1979 $780.65 11.35%
1980 $886.02 13.50%
1981 $977.42 10.32%
1982 $1,037.63 6.16%
1983 $1,070.97 3.21%
1984 $1,117.20 4.32%
1985 $1,156.99 3.56%
1986 $1,178.49 1.86%
1987 $1,221.51 3.65%
1988 $1,272.04 4.14%
1989 $1,333.33 4.82%
1990 $1,405.38 5.40%
1991 $1,464.52 4.21%
1992 $1,508.60 3.01%
1993 $1,553.76 2.99%
1994 $1,593.55 2.56%
1995 $1,638.71 2.83%
1996 $1,687.10 2.95%
1997 $1,725.81 2.29%
1998 $1,752.69 1.56%
1999 $1,791.40 2.21%
2000 $1,851.61 3.36%
2001 $1,904.30 2.85%
2002 $1,934.41 1.58%
2003 $1,978.49 2.28%
2004 $2,031.18 2.66%
2005 $2,100.00 3.39%
2006 $2,167.74 3.23%
2007 $2,229.48 2.85%
2008 $2,315.09 3.84%
2009 $2,306.85 -0.36%
2010 $2,344.69 1.64%
2011 $2,418.70 3.16%
2012 $2,468.75 2.07%
2013 $2,504.91 1.46%
2014 $2,545.55 1.62%
2015 $2,548.57 0.12%
2016 $2,580.72 1.26%
2017 $2,635.70 2.13%
2018 $2,710.09 2.82%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £100.00 in 1838 would be equivalent to £10,000.00 in 2015, an absolute change of £9,900.00 and a cumulative change of 9,900.00%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $2,448.57 and total percent change of 2,448.57%.


Inflation by Spending Category

CPI is the weighted combination of many categories of spending that are tracked by the government. This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1838 and 2015.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.85% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $100 in 1838 → 2015
Food 3.20 26,401.75 26,501.75
Shelter 4.14 132,011.45 132,111.45
Energy 3.95 94,184.27 94,284.27
Apparel 2.11 3,958.39 4,058.39
New vehicles 1.17 681.90 781.90
Used cars and trucks 0.87 362.68 462.68
Transportation services 3.35 33,982.01 34,082.01
Medical care services 5.20 783,310.29 783,410.29
Medical care commodities 4.40 203,872.18 203,972.18

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1838. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $100, 1838 to 2015

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2015CPI in 1838
×
1838 USD value
=
2015 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.3 in the year 1838 and 237.017 in 2015:

237.0179.3
×
$100
=
$2,548.57

$100 in 1838 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $2,548.57 in 2015.

To get the total inflation rate for the 177 years between 1838 and 2015, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2015 - CPI in 1838CPI in 1838
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (177 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

237.017 - 9.39.3
×
100
=
2,449%

News headlines from 1838

Politics and news often influence economic performance. Here's what was happening at the time:

  • Samuel Morse sends the first telegraph message to Alfred Vail, in a public demonstration of the machine.
  • Queen Victoria's is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
  • Huskar Colliery Mining Disaster occurs in England, resulting in 26 children losing their lives. This leads to the "Mines and Collieries Act" which banned underground work for women and children.

Data Source & Citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (CPI), established in 1913. Inflation data from 1665 to 1912 is sourced from a historical study conducted by political science professor Robert Sahr at Oregon State University.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “1838 dollars in 2015 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 16 Dec. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1838-dollars-in-2015.

in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.


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