$1 in 1940 → $1.29 in 1945

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$1 in 1940 → $1.29 in 1945

U.S. Inflation Rate, $1 in 1940 to 1945

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1945 are 28.57% higher than average prices throughout 1940. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 5.15% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $1 in 1940 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.29 in 1945, a difference of $0.29 over 5 years.

The 1940 inflation rate was 0.72%. The inflation rate in 1945 was 2.27%. The 1945 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 3.66% per year between 1945 and 2019.


Inflation from 1940 to 1945
Cumulative price change 28.57%
Average inflation rate 5.15%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.29
Price difference ($1 base) $0.29
CPI in 1940 14.000
CPI in 1945 18.000
Inflation in 1940 0.72%
Inflation in 1945 2.27%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
Download

Buying power of $1 in 1940

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $1 in 1940 (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
1940 $1.00 0.72%
1941 $1.05 5.00%
1942 $1.16 10.88%
1943 $1.24 6.13%
1944 $1.26 1.73%
1945 $1.29 2.27%
1946 $1.39 8.33%
1947 $1.59 14.36%
1948 $1.72 8.07%
1949 $1.70 -1.24%
1950 $1.72 1.26%
1951 $1.86 7.88%
1952 $1.89 1.92%
1953 $1.91 0.75%
1954 $1.92 0.75%
1955 $1.91 -0.37%
1956 $1.94 1.49%
1957 $2.01 3.31%
1958 $2.06 2.85%
1959 $2.08 0.69%
1960 $2.11 1.72%
1961 $2.14 1.01%
1962 $2.16 1.00%
1963 $2.19 1.32%
1964 $2.21 1.31%
1965 $2.25 1.61%
1966 $2.31 2.86%
1967 $2.39 3.09%
1968 $2.49 4.19%
1969 $2.62 5.46%
1970 $2.77 5.72%
1971 $2.89 4.38%
1972 $2.99 3.21%
1973 $3.17 6.22%
1974 $3.52 11.04%
1975 $3.84 9.13%
1976 $4.06 5.76%
1977 $4.33 6.50%
1978 $4.66 7.59%
1979 $5.19 11.35%
1980 $5.89 13.50%
1981 $6.49 10.32%
1982 $6.89 6.16%
1983 $7.11 3.21%
1984 $7.42 4.32%
1985 $7.69 3.56%
1986 $7.83 1.86%
1987 $8.11 3.65%
1988 $8.45 4.14%
1989 $8.86 4.82%
1990 $9.34 5.40%
1991 $9.73 4.21%
1992 $10.02 3.01%
1993 $10.32 2.99%
1994 $10.59 2.56%
1995 $10.89 2.83%
1996 $11.21 2.95%
1997 $11.46 2.29%
1998 $11.64 1.56%
1999 $11.90 2.21%
2000 $12.30 3.36%
2001 $12.65 2.85%
2002 $12.85 1.58%
2003 $13.14 2.28%
2004 $13.49 2.66%
2005 $13.95 3.39%
2006 $14.40 3.23%
2007 $14.81 2.85%
2008 $15.38 3.84%
2009 $15.32 -0.36%
2010 $15.58 1.64%
2011 $16.07 3.16%
2012 $16.40 2.07%
2013 $16.64 1.46%
2014 $16.91 1.62%
2015 $16.93 0.12%
2016 $17.14 1.26%
2017 $17.51 2.13%
2018 $17.94 2.44%
2019 $18.38 2.48%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1940 to 1945 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 5 years between 1940 and 1945 (5.85%).

Houston, Texas experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 5 years between 1940 and 1945 (4.58%).

Note that some locations showing 0% inflation may have not yet reported latest data.


Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1940 would be equivalent to £1.30 in 1945, an absolute change of £0.30 and a cumulative change of 29.70%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1940 would be equivalent to CA$1.12 in 1945, an absolute change of CA$0.12 and a cumulative change of 12.20%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.29 and total percent change of 28.57%.


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 1940 and 1945.

Compare these values to the overall average of 5.15% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1940 → 1945
Food 7.57 44.03 1.44
Shelter 0.00 0.00 1.00
Energy 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 7.52 43.70 1.44
New vehicles 0.00 0.00 1.00
Used cars and trucks 0.00 0.00 1.00
Transportation services 1.16 5.93 1.06
Medical care services 3.05 16.24 1.16
Medical care commodities 1.11 5.66 1.06

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 1940. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1940 to 1945

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1945CPI in 1940
×
1940 USD value
=
1945 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 14 in the year 1940 and 18 in 1945:

1814
×
$1
=
$1.29

$1 in 1940 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.29 in 1945.

To get the total inflation rate for the 5 years between 1940 and 1945, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1945 - CPI in 1940CPI in 1940
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (5 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

18 - 1414
×
100
=
29%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 5.15% has a compounding effect between 1940 and 1945. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 28.57% over 5 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1940, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $2.08 in 1945. This is a return on investment of 7.76%, with an absolute return of $1.08 on top of the original $1.

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 22.22% of returns ($0.24) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.84. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $1 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1940-1945
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $2.08 7.76%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.84 6.04%

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 1940 → 1945 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 16 Nov. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1940-dollars-in-1945?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 1940 to 1945
Cumulative price change 28.57%
Average inflation rate 5.15%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.29
Price difference ($1 base) $0.29
CPI in 1940 14.000
CPI in 1945 18.000
Inflation in 1940 0.72%
Inflation in 1945 2.27%
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