U.S. inflation rate in 1934: 3.08%

Inflation Calculator


Inflation in 1934 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power decreased by 3.08% in 1934 compared to 1933. On average, you would have to spend 3.08% more money in 1934 than in 1933 for the same item.

In other words, $1 in 1933 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.03 in 1934.

The 1933 inflation rate was -5.11%. The inflation rate in 1934 was 3.08%. The 1934 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 3.52% per year between 1934 and 2019.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1934 was 13.40. It was 13.00 in the previous year, 1933. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 1933 to 1934
Average inflation rate 3.08%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.03
Price difference ($1 base) $0.03
CPI in 1933 13.000
CPI in 1934 13.400
Inflation in 1933 -5.11%
Inflation in 1934 3.08%

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

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1933 to 1934 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

Detroit, Michigan experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1933 and 1934 (5.66%).

Chicago, Illinois experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1933 and 1934 (0.66%).

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 1933 would be equivalent to £1.00 in 1934, an absolute change of £0.00 and a cumulative change of 0.00%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1933 would be equivalent to CA$1.01 in 1934, an absolute change of CA$0.01 and a cumulative change of 1.41%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.03 and total percent change of 3.08%.

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 1933 and 1934.

Compare these values to the overall average of 3.08% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1933 → 1934
Food 11.45 11.45 1.11
Shelter 0.00 0.00 1.00
Energy 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 8.39 8.39 1.08
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 1933. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1933 to 1934

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1934CPI in 1933
1933 USD value
1934 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 13 in the year 1933 and 13.4 in 1934:


$1 in 1933 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.03 in 1934.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1933 and 1934, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1934 - CPI in 1933CPI in 1933
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

13.4 - 1313

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 1933, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.44 in 1934. This is a return on investment of 44.19%, with an absolute return of $0.44.

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 2.99% of returns ($0.01) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.43.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1933-1934
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.44 44.19%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.43 42.87%

News headlines from 1933

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

  • Coining of the name "Pakistan" by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, this is later accepted by Muslims in the Indian sub-continent who use it to push for a separate Muslim homeland in South Asia.
  • Adolf Hitler is appointed Reich Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated President of the United States.
  • The first Nazi concentration camp, Dachau, is completed.
  • The Nazi party is declared the only political party in Germany.

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 1934 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 Apr. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1934.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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

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