$1 in 1840 → $1.07 in 1838

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$1 in 1840 → $1.07 in 1838

U.S. Inflation Rate, $1 in 1840 to 1838

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1838 are 6.90% higher than average prices throughout 1840. The dollar experienced an average deflation rate of -3.28% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar increased.

In other words, $1 in 1840 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.07 in 1838, a difference of $0.07 over 2 years.

The 1838 inflation rate was -3.12%. The inflation rate in 1840 was -6.45%. The 1840 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 1.91% per year between 1840 and 2019.


Inflation from 1840 to 1838
Cumulative price change 6.90%
Average inflation rate -3.28%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.07
Price difference ($1 base) $0.07
CPI in 1840 8.700
CPI in 1838 9.300
Inflation in 1838 -3.12%
Inflation in 1840 -6.45%

U.S. inflation chart since 1665


Buying power of $1 in 1838

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $1 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 Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1838 $1.00 -3.12%
1839 $1.00 0.00%
1840 $0.94 -6.45%
1841 $0.94 0.00%
1842 $0.88 -5.75%
1843 $0.80 -9.76%
1844 $0.81 1.35%
1845 $0.82 1.33%
1846 $0.83 1.32%
1847 $0.88 6.49%
1848 $0.85 -3.66%
1849 $0.83 -2.53%
1850 $0.84 1.30%
1851 $0.83 -1.28%
1852 $0.83 0.00%
1853 $0.83 0.00%
1854 $0.90 9.09%
1855 $0.94 3.57%
1856 $0.91 -2.30%
1857 $0.94 2.35%
1858 $0.88 -5.75%
1859 $0.89 1.22%
1860 $0.89 0.00%
1861 $0.95 6.02%
1862 $1.09 14.77%
1863 $1.35 24.75%
1864 $1.69 24.60%
1865 $1.75 3.82%
1866 $1.71 -2.45%
1867 $1.59 -6.92%
1868 $1.53 -4.05%
1869 $1.46 -4.23%
1870 $1.41 -3.68%
1871 $1.31 -6.87%
1872 $1.31 0.00%
1873 $1.29 -1.64%
1874 $1.23 -5.00%
1875 $1.18 -3.51%
1876 $1.15 -2.73%
1877 $1.13 -1.87%
1878 $1.08 -4.76%
1879 $1.08 0.00%
1880 $1.10 2.00%
1881 $1.10 0.00%
1882 $1.10 0.00%
1883 $1.09 -0.98%
1884 $1.05 -2.97%
1885 $1.04 -1.02%
1886 $1.01 -3.09%
1887 $1.02 1.06%
1888 $1.02 0.00%
1889 $0.99 -3.16%
1890 $0.98 -1.09%
1891 $0.98 0.00%
1892 $0.98 0.00%
1893 $0.97 -1.10%
1894 $0.92 -4.44%
1895 $0.90 -2.33%
1896 $0.90 0.00%
1897 $0.89 -1.19%
1898 $0.89 0.00%
1899 $0.89 0.00%
1900 $0.90 1.20%
1901 $0.91 1.19%
1902 $0.92 1.18%
1903 $0.95 2.33%
1904 $0.96 1.14%
1905 $0.95 -1.12%
1906 $0.97 2.27%
1907 $1.01 4.44%
1908 $0.99 -2.13%
1909 $0.98 -1.09%
1910 $1.02 4.40%
1911 $1.02 0.00%
1912 $1.04 2.11%
1913 $1.06 2.06%
1914 $1.08 1.01%
1915 $1.09 1.00%
1916 $1.17 7.92%
1917 $1.38 17.43%
1918 $1.62 17.97%
1919 $1.86 14.57%
1920 $2.15 15.61%
1921 $1.92 -10.50%
1922 $1.81 -6.15%
1923 $1.84 1.79%
1924 $1.84 0.00%
1925 $1.88 2.34%
1926 $1.90 1.14%
1927 $1.87 -1.69%
1928 $1.84 -1.72%
1929 $1.84 0.00%
1930 $1.80 -2.34%
1931 $1.63 -8.98%
1932 $1.47 -9.87%
1933 $1.40 -5.11%
1934 $1.44 3.08%
1935 $1.47 2.24%
1936 $1.49 1.46%
1937 $1.55 3.60%
1938 $1.52 -2.08%
1939 $1.49 -1.42%
1940 $1.51 0.72%
1941 $1.58 5.00%
1942 $1.75 10.88%
1943 $1.86 6.13%
1944 $1.89 1.73%
1945 $1.94 2.27%
1946 $2.10 8.33%
1947 $2.40 14.36%
1948 $2.59 8.07%
1949 $2.56 -1.24%
1950 $2.59 1.26%
1951 $2.80 7.88%
1952 $2.85 1.92%
1953 $2.87 0.75%
1954 $2.89 0.75%
1955 $2.88 -0.37%
1956 $2.92 1.49%
1957 $3.02 3.31%
1958 $3.11 2.85%
1959 $3.13 0.69%
1960 $3.18 1.72%
1961 $3.22 1.01%
1962 $3.25 1.00%
1963 $3.29 1.32%
1964 $3.33 1.31%
1965 $3.39 1.61%
1966 $3.48 2.86%
1967 $3.59 3.09%
1968 $3.74 4.19%
1969 $3.95 5.46%
1970 $4.17 5.72%
1971 $4.35 4.38%
1972 $4.49 3.21%
1973 $4.77 6.22%
1974 $5.30 11.04%
1975 $5.78 9.13%
1976 $6.12 5.76%
1977 $6.52 6.50%
1978 $7.01 7.59%
1979 $7.81 11.35%
1980 $8.86 13.50%
1981 $9.77 10.32%
1982 $10.38 6.16%
1983 $10.71 3.21%
1984 $11.17 4.32%
1985 $11.57 3.56%
1986 $11.78 1.86%
1987 $12.22 3.65%
1988 $12.72 4.14%
1989 $13.33 4.82%
1990 $14.05 5.40%
1991 $14.65 4.21%
1992 $15.09 3.01%
1993 $15.54 2.99%
1994 $15.94 2.56%
1995 $16.39 2.83%
1996 $16.87 2.95%
1997 $17.26 2.29%
1998 $17.53 1.56%
1999 $17.91 2.21%
2000 $18.52 3.36%
2001 $19.04 2.85%
2002 $19.34 1.58%
2003 $19.78 2.28%
2004 $20.31 2.66%
2005 $21.00 3.39%
2006 $21.68 3.23%
2007 $22.29 2.85%
2008 $23.15 3.84%
2009 $23.07 -0.36%
2010 $23.45 1.64%
2011 $24.19 3.16%
2012 $24.69 2.07%
2013 $25.05 1.46%
2014 $25.46 1.62%
2015 $25.49 0.12%
2016 $25.81 1.26%
2017 $26.36 2.13%
2018 $27.00 2.44%
2019 $27.61 2.25%*
* 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 £1.00 in 1840 would be equivalent to £0.92 in 1838, an absolute change of £-0.08 and a cumulative change of -8.11%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.07 and total percent change of 6.90%.


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 1840 and 1838.

Compare these values to the overall average of -3.28% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1838 → 1840
Food 0.00 0.00 1.00
Shelter 0.00 0.00 1.00
Energy 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 0.00 0.00 1.00
New vehicles 0.00 0.00 1.00
Used cars and trucks 0.00 0.00 1.00
Transportation services 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care services 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care commodities 0.00 0.00 1.00

The graph below compares inflation in categories of goods over time. Click on a category such as "Food" to toggle it on or off:

For all these visualizations, it's important to note that not all categories may have been tracked since 1840. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1838 to 1840

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1838CPI in 1840
×
1840 USD value
=
1838 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.7 in the year 1840 and 9.3 in 1838:

9.38.7
×
$1
=
$1.07

$1 in 1840 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.07 in 1838.

To get the total inflation rate for the 2 years between 1838 and 1840, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1838 - CPI in 1840CPI in 1840
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (2 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

9.3 - 8.78.7
×
100
=
7%

News headlines from 1838

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

  • Identification of Antarctica as a new continent by American naval expedition lead by Charles Wilkes.
  • Charles Wilkes discovers Antarctica in an American naval expedition.
  • Charles Wilkes discovers the Shackleton Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
  • The world’s first postage stamp, the Penny Black, is released.
  • Samuel Morse patents the telegraph.

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: “$1 in 1840 → 1838 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 12 Nov. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1840-dollars-in-1838?amount=1.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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


About the author

Ian Webster is an engineer and data expert based in San Mateo, California. He has worked for Google, NASA, and consulted for governments around the world on data pipelines and data analysis. Disappointed by the lack of clear resources on the impacts of inflation on economic indicators, Ian believes this website serves as a valuable public tool. Ian earned his degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.

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» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1840 to 1838
Cumulative price change 6.90%
Average inflation rate -3.28%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.07
Price difference ($1 base) $0.07
CPI in 1840 8.700
CPI in 1838 9.300
Inflation in 1838 -3.12%
Inflation in 1840 -6.45%
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