# \$0.50 in 1878 → \$12.00 in 2016

## Inflation Calculator

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👉 You may be interested in \$0.50 in 1878 → 2019

### U.S. Inflation Rate, \$0.50 in 1878 to 2016

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2016 are 2,300.07% higher than average prices throughout 1878. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.33% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, \$0.50 in 1878 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$12.00 in 2016, a difference of \$11.50 over 138 years.

The 1878 inflation rate was -4.76%. The inflation rate in 2016 was 1.26%. The 2016 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 1.93% per year between 2016 and 2019.

 Cumulative price change 2,300.07% Average inflation rate 2.33% Converted amount (\$0.50 base) \$12.00 Price difference (\$0.50 base) \$11.50 CPI in 1878 10.000 CPI in 2016 240.007 Inflation in 1878 -4.76% Inflation in 2016 1.26%

### Buying power of \$0.50 in 1878

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for \$0.50 in 1878 (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
1878 \$0.50 -4.76%
1879 \$0.50 0.00%
1880 \$0.51 2.00%
1881 \$0.51 0.00%
1882 \$0.51 0.00%
1883 \$0.51 -0.98%
1884 \$0.49 -2.97%
1885 \$0.49 -1.02%
1886 \$0.47 -3.09%
1887 \$0.48 1.06%
1888 \$0.48 0.00%
1889 \$0.46 -3.16%
1890 \$0.45 -1.09%
1891 \$0.45 0.00%
1892 \$0.45 0.00%
1893 \$0.45 -1.10%
1894 \$0.43 -4.44%
1895 \$0.42 -2.33%
1896 \$0.42 0.00%
1897 \$0.42 -1.19%
1898 \$0.42 0.00%
1899 \$0.42 0.00%
1900 \$0.42 1.20%
1901 \$0.43 1.19%
1902 \$0.43 1.18%
1903 \$0.44 2.33%
1904 \$0.45 1.14%
1905 \$0.44 -1.12%
1906 \$0.45 2.27%
1907 \$0.47 4.44%
1908 \$0.46 -2.13%
1909 \$0.45 -1.09%
1910 \$0.48 4.40%
1911 \$0.48 0.00%
1912 \$0.49 2.11%
1913 \$0.50 2.06%
1914 \$0.50 1.01%
1915 \$0.51 1.00%
1916 \$0.55 7.92%
1917 \$0.64 17.43%
1918 \$0.76 17.97%
1919 \$0.87 14.57%
1920 \$1.00 15.61%
1921 \$0.89 -10.50%
1922 \$0.84 -6.15%
1923 \$0.86 1.79%
1924 \$0.86 0.00%
1925 \$0.88 2.34%
1926 \$0.89 1.14%
1927 \$0.87 -1.69%
1928 \$0.86 -1.72%
1929 \$0.86 0.00%
1930 \$0.84 -2.34%
1931 \$0.76 -8.98%
1932 \$0.68 -9.87%
1933 \$0.65 -5.11%
1934 \$0.67 3.08%
1935 \$0.68 2.24%
1936 \$0.70 1.46%
1937 \$0.72 3.60%
1938 \$0.71 -2.08%
1939 \$0.70 -1.42%
1940 \$0.70 0.72%
1941 \$0.74 5.00%
1942 \$0.82 10.88%
1943 \$0.87 6.13%
1944 \$0.88 1.73%
1945 \$0.90 2.27%
1946 \$0.98 8.33%
1947 \$1.12 14.36%
1948 \$1.21 8.07%
1949 \$1.19 -1.24%
1950 \$1.21 1.26%
1951 \$1.30 7.88%
1952 \$1.33 1.92%
1953 \$1.34 0.75%
1954 \$1.35 0.75%
1955 \$1.34 -0.37%
1956 \$1.36 1.49%
1957 \$1.41 3.31%
1958 \$1.44 2.85%
1959 \$1.46 0.69%
1960 \$1.48 1.72%
1961 \$1.50 1.01%
1962 \$1.51 1.00%
1963 \$1.53 1.32%
1964 \$1.55 1.31%
1965 \$1.58 1.61%
1966 \$1.62 2.86%
1967 \$1.67 3.09%
1968 \$1.74 4.19%
1969 \$1.84 5.46%
1970 \$1.94 5.72%
1971 \$2.03 4.38%
1972 \$2.09 3.21%
1973 \$2.22 6.22%
1974 \$2.47 11.04%
1975 \$2.69 9.13%
1976 \$2.85 5.76%
1977 \$3.03 6.50%
1978 \$3.26 7.59%
1979 \$3.63 11.35%
1980 \$4.12 13.50%
1981 \$4.55 10.32%
1982 \$4.83 6.16%
1983 \$4.98 3.21%
1984 \$5.20 4.32%
1985 \$5.38 3.56%
1986 \$5.48 1.86%
1987 \$5.68 3.65%
1988 \$5.92 4.14%
1989 \$6.20 4.82%
1990 \$6.53 5.40%
1991 \$6.81 4.21%
1992 \$7.02 3.01%
1993 \$7.23 2.99%
1994 \$7.41 2.56%
1995 \$7.62 2.83%
1996 \$7.85 2.95%
1997 \$8.03 2.29%
1998 \$8.15 1.56%
1999 \$8.33 2.21%
2000 \$8.61 3.36%
2001 \$8.86 2.85%
2002 \$9.00 1.58%
2003 \$9.20 2.28%
2004 \$9.45 2.66%
2005 \$9.77 3.39%
2006 \$10.08 3.23%
2007 \$10.37 2.85%
2008 \$10.77 3.84%
2009 \$10.73 -0.36%
2010 \$10.90 1.64%
2011 \$11.25 3.16%
2012 \$11.48 2.07%
2013 \$11.65 1.46%
2014 \$11.84 1.62%
2015 \$11.85 0.12%
2016 \$12.00 1.26%
2017 \$12.26 2.13%
2018 \$12.56 2.44%
2019 \$12.71 1.23%*
* 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 £0.50 in 1878 would be equivalent to £54.62 in 2016, an absolute change of £54.12 and a cumulative change of 10,823.16%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$11.50 and total percent change of 2,300.07%.

### 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 1878 and 2016.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.33% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$0.50 in 1878 → 2016
Food 3.17 7,358.07 37.29
Shelter 4.13 26,592.96 133.46
Energy 3.76 16,185.65 81.43
Apparel 2.09 1,647.66 8.74
New vehicles 1.14 375.81 2.38
Used cars and trucks 0.76 185.55 1.43
Transportation services 4.07 24,599.99 123.50
Medical care services 5.18 106,278.51 531.89
Medical care commodities 3.07 6,380.80 32.40

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1878. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

### How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$0.50, 1878 to 2016

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2016CPI in 1878
×
1878 USD value
=
2016 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 10 in the year 1878 and 240.007 in 2016:

240.00710
×
\$0.50
=
\$12.00

\$0.50 in 1878 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$12.00 in 2016.

To get the total inflation rate for the 138 years between 1878 and 2016, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2016 - CPI in 1878CPI in 1878
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (138 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

240.007 - 1010
×
100
=
2,300%

### Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.33% has a compounding effect between 1878 and 2016. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,300.07% over 138 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$0.50 in the S&P 500 index in 1878, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$126,511.83 in 2016. This is a return on investment of 25,302,265.23%, with an absolute return of \$126,511.33.

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 95.83% of returns (\$121,240.17) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$0.50 investment is \$5,271.15.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1878-2016
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal \$0.50 \$126,511.83 25,302,265.23%
Real
\$0.50 \$5,271.15 1,054,230.30%

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

• Berlin Congress begins with goal to determine the territories of the states in the Balkans after the Russo-Turkish war.
• King Leopold II's agent secretly meets Henry Morton Stanley.
• Thomas Edison patents the gramophone.

### 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: “\$0.50 in 1878 → 2016 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 25 Apr. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1878-dollars-in-2016?amount=0.50.