# \$500 in 1841 → \$14,438.51 in 2018

## Inflation Calculator

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👉 You may be interested in \$500 in 1841 → 2020

### U.S. Inflation Rate, \$500 from 1841 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 2,787.70% higher than average prices since 1841. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 1.92% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, \$500 in 1841 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$14,438.51 in 2018, a difference of \$13,938.51 over 177 years.

The 1841 inflation rate was 0.00%. The inflation rate in 2018 was 2.49%. The 2018 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 1.33% per year between 2018 and 2020.

 Cumulative price change 2,787.70% Average inflation rate 1.92% Converted amount (\$500 base) \$14,438.51 Price difference (\$500 base) \$13,938.51 CPI in 1841 8.700 CPI in 2018 251.230 Inflation in 1841 0.00% Inflation in 2018 2.49%

USD Inflation since 1635
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

### Buying power of \$500 in 1841

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$500 in 1841 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$500, you would need to end with \$14,438.51 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$500 is equivalent to \$14,438.51 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single U.S. dollar decreases over time. In other words, a dollar will pay for fewer items at the store.

This effect explains how inflation erodes the value of a dollar over time. By calculating the value in 1841 dollars, the chart below shows how \$500 buys less over the past 177 years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each of these USD amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1841 \$500.00 -
1842 \$471.26 -5.75%
1843 \$425.29 -9.76%
1844 \$431.03 1.35%
1845 \$436.78 1.33%
1846 \$442.53 1.32%
1847 \$471.26 6.49%
1848 \$454.02 -3.66%
1849 \$442.53 -2.53%
1850 \$448.28 1.30%
1851 \$442.53 -1.28%
1852 \$442.53 0.00%
1853 \$442.53 0.00%
1854 \$482.76 9.09%
1855 \$500.00 3.57%
1856 \$488.51 -2.30%
1857 \$500.00 2.35%
1858 \$471.26 -5.75%
1859 \$477.01 1.22%
1860 \$477.01 0.00%
1861 \$505.75 6.02%
1862 \$580.46 14.77%
1863 \$724.14 24.75%
1864 \$902.30 24.60%
1865 \$936.78 3.82%
1866 \$913.79 -2.45%
1867 \$850.57 -6.92%
1868 \$816.09 -4.05%
1869 \$781.61 -4.23%
1870 \$752.87 -3.68%
1871 \$701.15 -6.87%
1872 \$701.15 0.00%
1873 \$689.66 -1.64%
1874 \$655.17 -5.00%
1875 \$632.18 -3.51%
1876 \$614.94 -2.73%
1877 \$603.45 -1.87%
1878 \$574.71 -4.76%
1879 \$574.71 0.00%
1880 \$586.21 2.00%
1881 \$586.21 0.00%
1882 \$586.21 0.00%
1883 \$580.46 -0.98%
1884 \$563.22 -2.97%
1885 \$557.47 -1.02%
1886 \$540.23 -3.09%
1887 \$545.98 1.06%
1888 \$545.98 0.00%
1889 \$528.74 -3.16%
1890 \$522.99 -1.09%
1891 \$522.99 0.00%
1892 \$522.99 0.00%
1893 \$517.24 -1.10%
1894 \$494.25 -4.44%
1895 \$482.76 -2.33%
1896 \$482.76 0.00%
1897 \$477.01 -1.19%
1898 \$477.01 0.00%
1899 \$477.01 0.00%
1900 \$482.76 1.20%
1901 \$488.51 1.19%
1902 \$494.25 1.18%
1903 \$505.75 2.33%
1904 \$511.49 1.14%
1905 \$505.75 -1.12%
1906 \$517.24 2.27%
1907 \$540.23 4.44%
1908 \$528.74 -2.13%
1909 \$522.99 -1.09%
1910 \$545.98 4.40%
1911 \$545.98 0.00%
1912 \$557.47 2.11%
1913 \$568.97 2.06%
1914 \$574.71 1.01%
1915 \$580.46 1.00%
1916 \$626.44 7.92%
1917 \$735.63 17.43%
1918 \$867.82 17.97%
1919 \$994.25 14.57%
1920 \$1,149.43 15.61%
1921 \$1,028.74 -10.50%
1922 \$965.52 -6.15%
1923 \$982.76 1.79%
1924 \$982.76 0.00%
1925 \$1,005.75 2.34%
1926 \$1,017.24 1.14%
1927 \$1,000.00 -1.69%
1928 \$982.76 -1.72%
1929 \$982.76 0.00%
1930 \$959.77 -2.34%
1931 \$873.56 -8.98%
1932 \$787.36 -9.87%
1933 \$747.13 -5.11%
1934 \$770.11 3.08%
1935 \$787.36 2.24%
1936 \$798.85 1.46%
1937 \$827.59 3.60%
1938 \$810.34 -2.08%
1939 \$798.85 -1.42%
1940 \$804.60 0.72%
1941 \$844.83 5.00%
1942 \$936.78 10.88%
1943 \$994.25 6.13%
1944 \$1,011.49 1.73%
1945 \$1,034.48 2.27%
1946 \$1,120.69 8.33%
1947 \$1,281.61 14.36%
1948 \$1,385.06 8.07%
1949 \$1,367.82 -1.24%
1950 \$1,385.06 1.26%
1951 \$1,494.25 7.88%
1952 \$1,522.99 1.92%
1953 \$1,534.48 0.75%
1954 \$1,545.98 0.75%
1955 \$1,540.23 -0.37%
1956 \$1,563.22 1.49%
1957 \$1,614.94 3.31%
1958 \$1,660.92 2.85%
1959 \$1,672.41 0.69%
1960 \$1,701.15 1.72%
1961 \$1,718.39 1.01%
1962 \$1,735.63 1.00%
1963 \$1,758.62 1.32%
1964 \$1,781.61 1.31%
1965 \$1,810.34 1.61%
1966 \$1,862.07 2.86%
1967 \$1,919.54 3.09%
1968 \$2,000.00 4.19%
1969 \$2,109.20 5.46%
1970 \$2,229.89 5.72%
1971 \$2,327.59 4.38%
1972 \$2,402.30 3.21%
1973 \$2,551.72 6.22%
1974 \$2,833.33 11.04%
1975 \$3,091.95 9.13%
1976 \$3,270.11 5.76%
1977 \$3,482.76 6.50%
1978 \$3,747.13 7.59%
1979 \$4,172.41 11.35%
1980 \$4,735.63 13.50%
1981 \$5,224.14 10.32%
1982 \$5,545.98 6.16%
1983 \$5,724.14 3.21%
1984 \$5,971.26 4.32%
1985 \$6,183.91 3.56%
1986 \$6,298.85 1.86%
1987 \$6,528.74 3.65%
1988 \$6,798.85 4.14%
1989 \$7,126.44 4.82%
1990 \$7,511.49 5.40%
1991 \$7,827.59 4.21%
1992 \$8,063.22 3.01%
1993 \$8,304.60 2.99%
1994 \$8,517.24 2.56%
1995 \$8,758.62 2.83%
1996 \$9,017.24 2.95%
1997 \$9,224.14 2.29%
1998 \$9,367.82 1.56%
1999 \$9,574.71 2.21%
2000 \$9,896.55 3.36%
2001 \$10,178.16 2.85%
2002 \$10,339.08 1.58%
2003 \$10,574.71 2.28%
2004 \$10,856.32 2.66%
2005 \$11,224.14 3.39%
2006 \$11,586.21 3.23%
2007 \$11,916.21 2.85%
2008 \$12,373.74 3.84%
2009 \$12,329.71 -0.36%
2010 \$12,531.95 1.64%
2011 \$12,927.53 3.16%
2012 \$13,195.06 2.07%
2013 \$13,388.33 1.46%
2014 \$13,605.52 1.62%
2015 \$13,621.67 0.12%
2016 \$13,793.51 1.26%
2017 \$14,087.36 2.13%
2018 \$14,438.51 2.49%
2019 \$14,692.96 1.76%
2020 \$14,825.92 0.90%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
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### Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £500.00 in 1841 would be equivalent to £50,531.81 in 2018, an absolute change of £50,031.81 and a cumulative change of 10,006.36%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$13,938.51 and total percent change of 2,787.70%.

### 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 1841 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.92% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$500 in 1841 → 2018
Food and beverages 3.96 96,255.14 481,775.72
Housing 4.26 160,893.43 804,967.14
Apparel 2.05 3,538.79 18,193.95
Transportation 3.30 31,365.51 157,327.53
Medical care 5.17 747,339.42 3,737,197.10
Recreation 1.09 579.94 3,399.69
Education and communication 1.89 2,669.52 13,847.58
Other goods and services 5.10 661,409.96 3,307,549.81

The graph below compares inflation in categories of goods over time. Click on a category such as "Food" to toggle it on or off:

For all these visualizations, it's important to note that not all categories may have been tracked since 1841. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

### How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$500, 1841 to 2018

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 1841
×
1841 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.7 in the year 1841 and 251.23 in 2018:

251.238.7
×
\$500
=
\$14,438.51

\$500 in 1841 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$14,438.51 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 177 years between 1841 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1841CPI in 1841
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (177 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

251.23 - 8.78.7
×
100
=
2,788%

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

• The British gain control over Hong Kong during the First Opium War, after China conceded it to them.
• The first emigrant wagon train departs, heading from Independence, Missouri, to California.
• The first wagon train arrives in California.

### 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: “\$500 in 1841 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 24 Feb. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1841-dollars-in-2018?amount=500.