U.S. inflation rate in 1938: -2.08%

Inflation Calculator


U.S. Inflation Rate, 1938-2018 ($1)

The consumer price index (CPI) in 1938 was 14.1. the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses this CPI value to track inflation on a monthly basis.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.65% per year. Prices in 2018 are 1666.0% higher than prices in 1938.

In other words, $1 in the year 1938 is equivalent in purchasing power to $17.66 in 2018, a difference of $16.66 over 80 years.

The current inflation rate in 2018 is 1.72%1. If this number holds, $1 today will be equivalent to $1.02 next year.

Inflation from 1938 to 2018
Cumulative price change 1666.00%
Average inflation rate 3.65%
Price difference ($1 base) $16.66
CPI in 1938 14.1
CPI in 2018 248.991

U.S. inflation from 1913 to 2017

Inflation rates for specific categories

Gasoline (all types) · Bread · Juices and nonalcoholic drinks · More

Inflation-adjusted measures

S&P 500 price · S&P 500 earnings · Shiller P/E

How to calculate the inflation rate for $1 since 1938

Start with the inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018 / CPI in 1938 * 1938 USD value = 2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 14.1 in the year 1938 and 248.991 in 2018:

248.991 / 14.1 * $1 = $17.66

$1 in 1938 has the same "purchasing power" as $17.66 in 2018.

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.

Inflation Data Source

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 1938 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, 23 Apr. 2018, http://www.in2013dollars.com/inflation-rate-in-1938.

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