UK inflation rate in 1940: 16.76%

UK Inflation Calculator


Inflation in 1940 and Its Effect on Pound Value

Purchasing power decreased by 16.76% in 1940 compared to 1939. On average, you would have to spend 16.76% more money in 1940 than in 1939 for the same item.

In other words, £1 in 1939 is equivalent in purchasing power to about £1.17 in 1940.

The 1939 inflation rate was 2.98%. The inflation rate in 1940 was 16.76%. The 1940 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 5.22% per year between 1940 and 2019.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the composite price index (CPI). The CPI in 1940 was 20.20. It was 17.30 in the previous year, 1939. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Office for National Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 1939 to 1940
Average inflation rate 16.76%
Converted amount (£1 base) £1.17
Price difference (£1 base) £0.17
CPI in 1939 17.300
CPI in 1940 20.200
Inflation in 1939 2.98%
Inflation in 1940 16.76%

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

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for £1, 1939 to 1940

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1940CPI in 1939
1939 GBP value
1940 GBP value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The UK CPI was 17.3 in the year 1939 and 20.2 in 1940:


£1 in 1939 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as £1.17 in 1940.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1939 and 1940, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1940 - CPI in 1939CPI in 1939
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

20.2 - 17.317.3

News headlines from 1939

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

  • Hitler makes a speech to the German Reichstag where he threatens Jews.
  • Mahatma Gandhi begins his fast in protest against Britain’s autocratic rule in India
  • The Battle of Nanchang takes place between the Kuomintang ant the Japanese, during Sino-Japanese War.
  • The Spanish Civil War ends when Madrid falls to Francisco Franco.
  • Britain and France declare war on Germany after it invades Poland, signaling the start of World War II.
  • Mussolini’s Italy joins Hitler's war against Great Britain and France.
  • Winston Churchill is named British Prime Minister, succeeding Neville Chamberlain.
  • Nazi blitzkrieg conquest of France begins when the Germans cross the Muese River.
  • Auschwitz concentration camp is opened in Nazi-controlled Poland.

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 1940 | UK Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 May. 2019,

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

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