$50 in 1950 → $523.73 in 2018

Inflation Calculator

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $50 in 1950 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 947.46% higher than prices in 1950. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.28% per year during this period.

In other words, $50 in 1950 is equivalent in purchasing power to $523.73 in 2018, a difference of $473.73 over 68 years.

The 1950 inflation rate was 1.26%. 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 1950 to 2018
Cumulative price change 947.46%
Average inflation rate 2.28%
Converted amount ($50 base) $523.73
Price difference ($50 base) $473.73
CPI in 1950 24.1
CPI in 2018 252.439
Inflation in 1950 1.26%
Inflation in 2018 2.28%


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

Buying power of $50 since 1950

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $50 in 1950 (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
1950 $50.00 1.26%
1951 $53.94 7.88%
1952 $54.98 1.92%
1953 $55.39 0.75%
1954 $55.81 0.75%
1955 $55.60 -0.37%
1956 $56.43 1.49%
1957 $58.30 3.31%
1958 $59.96 2.85%
1959 $60.37 0.69%
1960 $61.41 1.72%
1961 $62.03 1.01%
1962 $62.66 1.00%
1963 $63.49 1.32%
1964 $64.32 1.31%
1965 $65.35 1.61%
1966 $67.22 2.86%
1967 $69.29 3.09%
1968 $72.20 4.19%
1969 $76.14 5.46%
1970 $80.50 5.72%
1971 $84.02 4.38%
1972 $86.72 3.21%
1973 $92.12 6.22%
1974 $102.28 11.04%
1975 $111.62 9.13%
1976 $118.05 5.76%
1977 $125.73 6.50%
1978 $135.27 7.59%
1979 $150.62 11.35%
1980 $170.95 13.50%
1981 $188.59 10.32%
1982 $200.21 6.16%
1983 $206.64 3.21%
1984 $215.56 4.32%
1985 $223.24 3.56%
1986 $227.39 1.86%
1987 $235.68 3.65%
1988 $245.44 4.14%
1989 $257.26 4.82%
1990 $271.16 5.40%
1991 $282.57 4.21%
1992 $291.08 3.01%
1993 $299.79 2.99%
1994 $307.47 2.56%
1995 $316.18 2.83%
1996 $325.52 2.95%
1997 $332.99 2.29%
1998 $338.17 1.56%
1999 $345.64 2.21%
2000 $357.26 3.36%
2001 $367.43 2.85%
2002 $373.24 1.58%
2003 $381.74 2.28%
2004 $391.91 2.66%
2005 $405.19 3.39%
2006 $418.26 3.23%
2007 $430.17 2.85%
2008 $446.69 3.84%
2009 $445.10 -0.36%
2010 $452.40 1.64%
2011 $466.68 3.16%
2012 $476.34 2.07%
2013 $483.31 1.46%
2014 $491.15 1.62%
2015 $491.74 0.12%
2016 $497.94 1.26%
2017 $508.55 2.13%
2018 $523.73 2.99%*
* 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 1950 to 2018 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $50):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 68 years between 1950 and 2018 (3.83%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 68 years between 1950 and 2018 (3.36%).


Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £50.00 in 1950 would be equivalent to £1,664.05 in 2018, an absolute change of £1,614.05 and a cumulative change of 3,228.10%.

In Canada, CA$50.00 in 1950 would be equivalent to CA$516.67 in 2018, an absolute change of CA$466.67 and a cumulative change of 933.33%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $473.73 and total percent change of 947.46%.


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 1950 and 2018.

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

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $50 in 1950 → 2018
Food 3.44 897.13 498.57
Shelter 4.10 1,438.02 769.01
Energy 3.88 1,235.28 667.64
Apparel 1.69 212.58 156.29
New vehicles 1.05 103.99 101.99
Used cars and trucks 0.61 51.63 75.81
Transportation services 3.35 836.89 468.45
Medical care services 5.58 3,924.78 2,012.39
Medical care commodities 4.29 1,635.40 867.70

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1950. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $50 since 1950

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 1950
×
1950 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 24.1 in the year 1950 and 252.439 in 2018:

252.43924.1
×
$50
=
$523.73

$50 in 1950 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $523.73 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 68 years between 1950 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1950CPI in 1950
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (68 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

252.439 - 24.124.1
×
100
=
947%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.28% during these years has a compounding effect. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate produces an overall price difference of 947.46% over 68 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if you had invested $50 in the S&P 500 index in 1950, your investment would be worth approximately $74,827.11 in 2018. This is a change of 149,554.23%.

This means the nominal return on a $50 investment is $74,777.11, but inflation would eat into your real returns.

Inflation would account for 90.45% of your returns ($67,638.25), for an inflation-adjusted real return of about $7,138.87.


News headlines from 1950

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

  • Jerusalem is proclaimed the capital of Israel by Knesset
  • North Korea invades South Korea.
  • Harry Truman announces that America will seek to develop a hydrogen bomb.
  • Chinese forces occupy Tibet.

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 1950 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 Oct. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1950-dollars?amount=50.

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


» Read more about inflation.