UK inflation rate in 1939: 2.98%

UK Inflation Calculator


Inflation in 1939 and Its Effect on Pound Value

Purchasing power decreased by 2.98% in 1939 compared to 1938. On average, you would have to spend 2.98% more money in 1939 than in 1938 for the same item.

In other words, £1 in 1938 is equivalent in purchasing power to about £1.03 in 1939.

The 1938 inflation rate was 1.20%. The inflation rate in 1939 was 2.98%. The 1939 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 5.35% per year between 1939 and 2019.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the composite price index (CPI). The CPI in 1939 was 17.30. It was 16.80 in the previous year, 1938. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Office for National Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 1938 to 1939
Average inflation rate 2.98%
Converted amount (£1 base) £1.03
Price difference (£1 base) £0.03
CPI in 1938 16.800
CPI in 1939 17.300
Inflation in 1938 1.20%
Inflation in 1939 2.98%

UK inflation chart from 1988 to 2017. Based on the UK Consumer Price Index.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for £1, 1938 to 1939

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1939CPI in 1938
1938 GBP value
1939 GBP value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The UK CPI was 16.8 in the year 1938 and 17.3 in 1939:


£1 in 1938 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as £1.03 in 1939.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1938 and 1939, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1939 - CPI in 1938CPI in 1938
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

17.3 - 16.816.8

News headlines from 1938

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

  • Anthony Eden resigns as United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary after stating that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain has appeased Nazi Germany.
  • Czechoslovakia is forced to give territory to Germany after the Treaty of Munich was signed by Hitler, Mussolini, Daladier and Chamberlain.
  • Joseph Kennedy is named the 44th US Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Data Source & Citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the composite price index published by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). A composite index is created by combining price data from several different published sources, both official and unofficial. The Consumer Price Index, normally used to compute inflation, has only been tracked since 1988. All inflation calculations after 1988 use the Office for National Statistics' Consumer Price Index, except for 2017, which is based on The Bank of England's forecast.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “Inflation Rate in 1939 | UK Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 19 Apr. 2019,

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images. is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.

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