$50 in 1875 → $1,147.45 in 2018

Inflation Calculator

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $50 in 1875 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 2,194.90% higher than prices in 1875. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.28% per year during this period.

In other words, $50 in 1875 is equivalent in purchasing power to $1,147.45 in 2018, a difference of $1,097.45 over 143 years.

The 1875 inflation rate was -3.51%. The current inflation rate (2017 to 2018) is now 2.28%1. If this number holds, $50 today will be equivalent to $51.14 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1875 to 2018
Cumulative price change 2,194.90%
Average inflation rate 2.28%
Converted amount ($50 base) $1,147.45
Price difference ($50 base) $1,097.45
CPI in 1875 11.000
CPI in 2018 252.439
Inflation in 1875 -3.51%
Inflation in 2018 2.28%


U.S. inflation chart since 1665


Buying power of $50 since 1875

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $50 in 1875 (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
1875 $50.00 -3.51%
1876 $48.64 -2.73%
1877 $47.73 -1.87%
1878 $45.45 -4.76%
1879 $45.45 0.00%
1880 $46.36 2.00%
1881 $46.36 0.00%
1882 $46.36 0.00%
1883 $45.91 -0.98%
1884 $44.55 -2.97%
1885 $44.09 -1.02%
1886 $42.73 -3.09%
1887 $43.18 1.06%
1888 $43.18 0.00%
1889 $41.82 -3.16%
1890 $41.36 -1.09%
1891 $41.36 0.00%
1892 $41.36 0.00%
1893 $40.91 -1.10%
1894 $39.09 -4.44%
1895 $38.18 -2.33%
1896 $38.18 0.00%
1897 $37.73 -1.19%
1898 $37.73 0.00%
1899 $37.73 0.00%
1900 $38.18 1.20%
1901 $38.64 1.19%
1902 $39.09 1.18%
1903 $40.00 2.33%
1904 $40.45 1.14%
1905 $40.00 -1.12%
1906 $40.91 2.27%
1907 $42.73 4.44%
1908 $41.82 -2.13%
1909 $41.36 -1.09%
1910 $43.18 4.40%
1911 $43.18 0.00%
1912 $44.09 2.11%
1913 $45.00 2.06%
1914 $45.45 1.01%
1915 $45.91 1.00%
1916 $49.55 7.92%
1917 $58.18 17.43%
1918 $68.64 17.97%
1919 $78.64 14.57%
1920 $90.91 15.61%
1921 $81.36 -10.50%
1922 $76.36 -6.15%
1923 $77.73 1.79%
1924 $77.73 0.00%
1925 $79.55 2.34%
1926 $80.45 1.14%
1927 $79.09 -1.69%
1928 $77.73 -1.72%
1929 $77.73 0.00%
1930 $75.91 -2.34%
1931 $69.09 -8.98%
1932 $62.27 -9.87%
1933 $59.09 -5.11%
1934 $60.91 3.08%
1935 $62.27 2.24%
1936 $63.18 1.46%
1937 $65.45 3.60%
1938 $64.09 -2.08%
1939 $63.18 -1.42%
1940 $63.64 0.72%
1941 $66.82 5.00%
1942 $74.09 10.88%
1943 $78.64 6.13%
1944 $80.00 1.73%
1945 $81.82 2.27%
1946 $88.64 8.33%
1947 $101.36 14.36%
1948 $109.55 8.07%
1949 $108.18 -1.24%
1950 $109.55 1.26%
1951 $118.18 7.88%
1952 $120.45 1.92%
1953 $121.36 0.75%
1954 $122.27 0.75%
1955 $121.82 -0.37%
1956 $123.64 1.49%
1957 $127.73 3.31%
1958 $131.36 2.85%
1959 $132.27 0.69%
1960 $134.55 1.72%
1961 $135.91 1.01%
1962 $137.27 1.00%
1963 $139.09 1.32%
1964 $140.91 1.31%
1965 $143.18 1.61%
1966 $147.27 2.86%
1967 $151.82 3.09%
1968 $158.18 4.19%
1969 $166.82 5.46%
1970 $176.36 5.72%
1971 $184.09 4.38%
1972 $190.00 3.21%
1973 $201.82 6.22%
1974 $224.09 11.04%
1975 $244.55 9.13%
1976 $258.64 5.76%
1977 $275.45 6.50%
1978 $296.36 7.59%
1979 $330.00 11.35%
1980 $374.55 13.50%
1981 $413.18 10.32%
1982 $438.64 6.16%
1983 $452.73 3.21%
1984 $472.27 4.32%
1985 $489.09 3.56%
1986 $498.18 1.86%
1987 $516.36 3.65%
1988 $537.73 4.14%
1989 $563.64 4.82%
1990 $594.09 5.40%
1991 $619.09 4.21%
1992 $637.73 3.01%
1993 $656.82 2.99%
1994 $673.64 2.56%
1995 $692.73 2.83%
1996 $713.18 2.95%
1997 $729.55 2.29%
1998 $740.91 1.56%
1999 $757.27 2.21%
2000 $782.73 3.36%
2001 $805.00 2.85%
2002 $817.73 1.58%
2003 $836.36 2.28%
2004 $858.64 2.66%
2005 $887.73 3.39%
2006 $916.36 3.23%
2007 $942.46 2.85%
2008 $978.65 3.84%
2009 $975.17 -0.36%
2010 $991.16 1.64%
2011 $1,022.45 3.16%
2012 $1,043.61 2.07%
2013 $1,058.90 1.46%
2014 $1,076.07 1.62%
2015 $1,077.35 0.12%
2016 $1,090.94 1.26%
2017 $1,114.18 2.13%
2018 $1,147.45 2.99%*
* 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 £50.00 in 1875 would be equivalent to £5,603.43 in 2018, an absolute change of £5,553.43 and a cumulative change of 11,106.86%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $1,097.45 and total percent change of 2,194.90%.


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 1875 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.28% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $50 in 1875 → 2018
Food 3.13 8,140.21 4,120.11
Shelter 4.10 31,240.76 15,670.38
Energy 3.88 23,181.72 11,640.86
Apparel 2.05 1,729.63 914.81
New vehicles 1.05 347.79 223.90
Used cars and trucks 0.61 139.98 119.99
Transportation services 3.35 10,951.10 5,525.55
Medical care services 5.11 123,927.79 62,013.89
Medical care commodities 4.29 40,300.50 20,200.25

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1875. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $50 since 1875

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 1875
×
1875 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 11 in the year 1875 and 252.439 in 2018:

252.43911
×
$50
=
$1,147.45

$50 in 1875 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1,147.45 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 143 years between 1875 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1875CPI in 1875
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (143 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

252.439 - 1111
×
100
=
2,195%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.28% has a compounding effect between 1875 and 2018. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,194.90% over 143 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $50 in the S&P 500 index in 1875, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $14,008,311.42 in 2018. This is a return on investment of 28,016,522.83%, with an absolute return of $14,008,261.42.

These numbers are not inflation adjusted, so they are considered nominal. In order to evaluate the real return on our investment, we must calculate the return with inflation taken into account.

The compounding effect of inflation would account for 95.64% of returns ($13,397,853.06) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $50 investment is $610,408.36.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1875-2018
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $50 $14,008,311.42 28,016,522.83%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$50 $610,408.36 1,220,816.72%


News headlines from 1875

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

  • Verney Cameroon becomes the first European to reach Benguela in Angola.
  • Alexander Graham Bell makes the first sound transmission.
  • The Pacific Stock Exchange is opened for the first time.

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: “$50 in 1875 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 13 Nov. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1875-dollars?amount=50.

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


» Read more about inflation and investment.