U.S. inflation rate in 1951: 7.88%

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Inflation in 1951 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power decreased by 7.88% in 1951 compared to 1950. On average, you would have to spend 7.88% more money in 1951 than in 1950 for the same item.

In other words, $1 in 1950 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.08 in 1951.

The 1950 inflation rate was 1.26%. The inflation rate in 1951 was 7.88%. The 1951 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 3.42% per year between 1951 and 2019.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1951 was 26.00. It was 24.10 in the previous year, 1950. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 1950 to 1951
Average inflation rate 7.88%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.08
Price difference ($1 base) $0.08
CPI in 1950 24.100
CPI in 1951 26.000
Inflation in 1950 1.26%
Inflation in 1951 7.88%

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 1950 to 1951 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

Atlanta, Georgia experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1950 and 1951 (9.53%).

Boston, Massachusetts experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1950 and 1951 (6.69%).

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 1950 would be equivalent to £1.09 in 1951, an absolute change of £0.09 and a cumulative change of 9.09%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1950 would be equivalent to CA$1.11 in 1951, an absolute change of CA$0.11 and a cumulative change of 10.85%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.08 and total percent change of 7.88%.

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 1950 and 1951.

Compare these values to the overall average of 7.88% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1950 → 1951
Food 11.15 11.15 1.11
Shelter 0.00 0.00 1.00
Energy 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 9.03 9.03 1.09
New vehicles 0.00 0.00 1.00
Used cars and trucks 0.00 0.00 1.00
Transportation services 9.51 9.51 1.10
Medical care services 4.98 4.98 1.05
Medical care commodities 2.82 2.82 1.03

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1950. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1950 to 1951

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1951CPI in 1950
1950 USD value
1951 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 24.1 in the year 1950 and 26 in 1951:


$1 in 1950 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.08 in 1951.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1950 and 1951, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1951 - CPI in 1950CPI in 1950
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

26 - 24.124.1

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 1950, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.64 in 1951. This is a return on investment of 63.83%, with an absolute return of $0.64.

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 7.31% of returns ($0.05) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.59.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1950-1951
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.64 63.83%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.59 59.17%

News headlines from 1950

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

  • Jerusalem is proclaimed the capital of Israel by Knesset
  • North Korea invades South Korea.
  • Harry Truman announces that America will seek to develop a hydrogen bomb.
  • Chinese forces occupy Tibet.

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 1951 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 May. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1951.

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.