U.S. inflation rate in 1946: 8.33%

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Inflation in 1946 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power decreased by 8.33% in 1946 compared to 1945. On average, you would have to spend 8.33% more money in 1946 than in 1945 for the same item.

In other words, $1 in 1945 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.08 in 1946.

The 1945 inflation rate was 2.27%. The inflation rate in 1946 was 8.33%. The 1946 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 3.58% per year between 1946 and 2019.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1946 was 19.50. It was 18.00 in the previous year, 1945. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 1945 to 1946
Average inflation rate 8.33%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.08
Price difference ($1 base) $0.08
CPI in 1945 18.000
CPI in 1946 19.500
Inflation in 1945 2.27%
Inflation in 1946 8.33%

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 1945 to 1946 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

New York experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1945 and 1946 (9.87%).

Atlanta, Georgia experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1945 and 1946 (6.10%).

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 1945 would be equivalent to £1.03 in 1946, an absolute change of £0.03 and a cumulative change of 3.05%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1945 would be equivalent to CA$1.05 in 1946, an absolute change of CA$0.05 and a cumulative change of 5.43%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.08 and total percent change of 8.33%.

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 1945 and 1946.

Compare these values to the overall average of 8.33% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1945 → 1946
Food 14.80 14.80 1.15
Shelter 0.00 0.00 1.00
Energy 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 9.72 9.72 1.10
New vehicles 0.00 0.00 1.00
Used cars and trucks 0.00 0.00 1.00
Transportation services 1.92 1.92 1.02
Medical care services 6.07 6.07 1.06
Medical care commodities 1.79 1.79 1.02

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1945. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1945 to 1946

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1946CPI in 1945
1945 USD value
1946 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 18 in the year 1945 and 19.5 in 1946:


$1 in 1945 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.08 in 1946.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1945 and 1946, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1946 - CPI in 1945CPI in 1945
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

19.5 - 1818

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 1945, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.23 in 1946. This is a return on investment of 22.55%, with an absolute return of $0.23.

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 7.69% of returns ($0.02) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.21.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1945-1946
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.23 22.55%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.21 20.81%

News headlines from 1945

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

  • The USSR captures Budapest from Germany in a battle that kills 159,000 people.
  • The US Fleet captures Iwo Jima.
  • 1,500 US Navy ships bomb Okinawa: the operation is believed to be the largest of World War II
  • Iwo Jima is occupied by America, costing 6,000 American lives and a further 18,000 Japanese lives.
  • Buchenwald, the first Nazi concentration camp, is liberated.

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 1946 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 24 Apr. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1946.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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

» Read more about inflation and investment.