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# U.S. inflation rate in 1873: -1.64%

### Inflation in 1873 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power increased by 1.64% in 1873 compared to 1872. On average, you would have to spend 1.64% less money in 1873 than in 1872 for the same item. This is an example of deflation.

In other words, \$1 in 1872 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$0.98 in 1873.

The 1872 inflation rate was 0.00%. The inflation rate in 1873 was -1.64%. The 1873 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.12% per year between 1873 and 2019.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1873 was 12.00. It was 12.20 in the previous year, 1872. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation. Because the 1873 CPI is less than 1872 CPI, negative inflation (also known as deflation) has occurred.

 Average inflation rate -1.64% Converted amount (\$1 base) \$0.98 Price difference (\$1 base) \$-0.02 CPI in 1872 12.200 CPI in 1873 12.000 Inflation in 1872 0.00% Inflation in 1873 -1.64%

### Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1872 would be equivalent to £1.04 in 1873, an absolute change of £0.04 and a cumulative change of 4.00%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$-0.02 and total percent change of -1.64%.

### 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 1872 and 1873.

Compare these values to the overall average of -1.64% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$1 in 1872 → 1873
Food 0.00 0.00 1.00
Shelter 0.00 0.00 1.00
Energy 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 0.00 0.00 1.00
New vehicles 0.00 0.00 1.00
Used cars and trucks 0.00 0.00 1.00
Transportation services 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care services 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care commodities 0.00 0.00 1.00

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1872. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

### How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$1, 1872 to 1873

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1873CPI in 1872
×
1872 USD value
=
1873 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 12.2 in the year 1872 and 12 in 1873:

1212.2
×
\$1
=
\$0.98

\$1 in 1872 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$0.98 in 1873.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1872 and 1873, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1873 - CPI in 1872CPI in 1872
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

12 - 12.212.2
×
100
=
-2%

### Comparison to S&P 500 Index

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$1 in the S&P 500 index in 1872, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$1.08 in 1873. This is a return on investment of 8.37%, with an absolute return of \$0.08.

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 -1.67% of returns (\$0.00) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$1 investment is \$0.09.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1872-1873
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal \$1 \$1.08 8.37%
Real
\$1 \$0.09 8.51%

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

• Coronation of Yohannes IV Emperoro of Ethiopia, is the first imperial coronation in Axum for over 200 years.
• Yellowstone is declared the world's first national park.
• The Mary Celeste sets sail from Staten Island for Genoa and is found abandoned four weeks later.

### 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: “Inflation Rate in 1873 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 Oct. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1873.