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# \$1 in 1850 → \$1.06 in 1859

### U.S. Inflation Rate, \$1 in 1850 to 1859

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1859 are 6.41% higher than average prices since 1850. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 0.69% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, \$1 in 1850 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$1.06 in 1859, a difference of \$0.06 over 9 years.

The 1850 inflation rate was 1.30%. The inflation rate in 1859 was 1.22%. The 1859 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.16% per year between 1859 and 2020.

 Cumulative price change 6.41% Average inflation rate 0.69% Converted amount (\$1 base) \$1.06 Price difference (\$1 base) \$0.06 CPI in 1850 7.800 CPI in 1859 8.300 Inflation in 1850 1.30% Inflation in 1859 1.22%

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

### Buying power of \$1 in 1850

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$1 in 1850 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$1, you would need to end with \$1.06 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$1 is equivalent to \$1.06 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 1850 dollars, the chart below shows how \$1 buys less over the past 9 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
1850 \$1.00 1.30%
1851 \$0.99 -1.28%
1852 \$0.99 0.00%
1853 \$0.99 0.00%
1854 \$1.08 9.09%
1855 \$1.12 3.57%
1856 \$1.09 -2.30%
1857 \$1.12 2.35%
1858 \$1.05 -5.75%
1859 \$1.06 1.22%
1860 \$1.06 0.00%
1861 \$1.13 6.02%
1862 \$1.29 14.77%
1863 \$1.62 24.75%
1864 \$2.01 24.60%
1865 \$2.09 3.82%
1866 \$2.04 -2.45%
1867 \$1.90 -6.92%
1868 \$1.82 -4.05%
1869 \$1.74 -4.23%
1870 \$1.68 -3.68%
1871 \$1.56 -6.87%
1872 \$1.56 0.00%
1873 \$1.54 -1.64%
1874 \$1.46 -5.00%
1875 \$1.41 -3.51%
1876 \$1.37 -2.73%
1877 \$1.35 -1.87%
1878 \$1.28 -4.76%
1879 \$1.28 0.00%
1880 \$1.31 2.00%
1881 \$1.31 0.00%
1882 \$1.31 0.00%
1883 \$1.29 -0.98%
1884 \$1.26 -2.97%
1885 \$1.24 -1.02%
1886 \$1.21 -3.09%
1887 \$1.22 1.06%
1888 \$1.22 0.00%
1889 \$1.18 -3.16%
1890 \$1.17 -1.09%
1891 \$1.17 0.00%
1892 \$1.17 0.00%
1893 \$1.15 -1.10%
1894 \$1.10 -4.44%
1895 \$1.08 -2.33%
1896 \$1.08 0.00%
1897 \$1.06 -1.19%
1898 \$1.06 0.00%
1899 \$1.06 0.00%
1900 \$1.08 1.20%
1901 \$1.09 1.19%
1902 \$1.10 1.18%
1903 \$1.13 2.33%
1904 \$1.14 1.14%
1905 \$1.13 -1.12%
1906 \$1.15 2.27%
1907 \$1.21 4.44%
1908 \$1.18 -2.13%
1909 \$1.17 -1.09%
1910 \$1.22 4.40%
1911 \$1.22 0.00%
1912 \$1.24 2.11%
1913 \$1.27 2.06%
1914 \$1.28 1.01%
1915 \$1.29 1.00%
1916 \$1.40 7.92%
1917 \$1.64 17.43%
1918 \$1.94 17.97%
1919 \$2.22 14.57%
1920 \$2.56 15.61%
1921 \$2.29 -10.50%
1922 \$2.15 -6.15%
1923 \$2.19 1.79%
1924 \$2.19 0.00%
1925 \$2.24 2.34%
1926 \$2.27 1.14%
1927 \$2.23 -1.69%
1928 \$2.19 -1.72%
1929 \$2.19 0.00%
1930 \$2.14 -2.34%
1931 \$1.95 -8.98%
1932 \$1.76 -9.87%
1933 \$1.67 -5.11%
1934 \$1.72 3.08%
1935 \$1.76 2.24%
1936 \$1.78 1.46%
1937 \$1.85 3.60%
1938 \$1.81 -2.08%
1939 \$1.78 -1.42%
1940 \$1.79 0.72%
1941 \$1.88 5.00%
1942 \$2.09 10.88%
1943 \$2.22 6.13%
1944 \$2.26 1.73%
1945 \$2.31 2.27%
1946 \$2.50 8.33%
1947 \$2.86 14.36%
1948 \$3.09 8.07%
1949 \$3.05 -1.24%
1950 \$3.09 1.26%
1951 \$3.33 7.88%
1952 \$3.40 1.92%
1953 \$3.42 0.75%
1954 \$3.45 0.75%
1955 \$3.44 -0.37%
1956 \$3.49 1.49%
1957 \$3.60 3.31%
1958 \$3.71 2.85%
1959 \$3.73 0.69%
1960 \$3.79 1.72%
1961 \$3.83 1.01%
1962 \$3.87 1.00%
1963 \$3.92 1.32%
1964 \$3.97 1.31%
1965 \$4.04 1.61%
1966 \$4.15 2.86%
1967 \$4.28 3.09%
1968 \$4.46 4.19%
1969 \$4.71 5.46%
1970 \$4.97 5.72%
1971 \$5.19 4.38%
1972 \$5.36 3.21%
1973 \$5.69 6.22%
1974 \$6.32 11.04%
1975 \$6.90 9.13%
1976 \$7.29 5.76%
1977 \$7.77 6.50%
1978 \$8.36 7.59%
1979 \$9.31 11.35%
1980 \$10.56 13.50%
1981 \$11.65 10.32%
1982 \$12.37 6.16%
1983 \$12.77 3.21%
1984 \$13.32 4.32%
1985 \$13.79 3.56%
1986 \$14.05 1.86%
1987 \$14.56 3.65%
1988 \$15.17 4.14%
1989 \$15.90 4.82%
1990 \$16.76 5.40%
1991 \$17.46 4.21%
1992 \$17.99 3.01%
1993 \$18.53 2.99%
1994 \$19.00 2.56%
1995 \$19.54 2.83%
1996 \$20.12 2.95%
1997 \$20.58 2.29%
1998 \$20.90 1.56%
1999 \$21.36 2.21%
2000 \$22.08 3.36%
2001 \$22.71 2.85%
2002 \$23.06 1.58%
2003 \$23.59 2.28%
2004 \$24.22 2.66%
2005 \$25.04 3.39%
2006 \$25.85 3.23%
2007 \$26.58 2.85%
2008 \$27.60 3.84%
2009 \$27.50 -0.36%
2010 \$27.96 1.64%
2011 \$28.84 3.16%
2012 \$29.44 2.07%
2013 \$29.87 1.46%
2014 \$30.35 1.62%
2015 \$30.39 0.12%
2016 \$30.77 1.26%
2017 \$31.43 2.13%
2018 \$32.21 2.49%
2019 \$32.78 1.76%
2020 \$32.95 0.51%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 3 more rows

### Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1850 would be equivalent to £1.07 in 1859, an absolute change of £0.07 and a cumulative change of 7.14%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$0.06 and total percent change of 6.41%.

### 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 1850 and 1859.

Compare these values to the overall average of 0.69% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$1 in 1850 → 1859
Food and beverages 0.00 0.00 1.00
Housing 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 0.00 0.00 1.00
Transportation 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care 0.00 0.00 1.00
Recreation 0.00 0.00 1.00
Education and communication 0.00 0.00 1.00
Other goods and services 0.00 0.00 1.00

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 1850. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

### How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$1, 1850 to 1859

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1859CPI in 1850
×
1850 USD value
=
1859 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 7.8 in the year 1850 and 8.3 in 1859:

8.37.8
×
\$1
=
\$1.06

\$1 in 1850 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$1.06 in 1859.

To get the total inflation rate for the 9 years between 1850 and 1859, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1859 - CPI in 1850CPI in 1850
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (9 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

8.3 - 7.87.8
×
100
=
6%

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

• The first National Women's Rights Convention takes place in Wocester, Massachusetts.
• The California Exchange is opened.
• Britain blockades Piraeus, a Greek port.
• The HMS Investigator sets sail from Woolwich, England, becoming the first ship to explore the Northwest Passage.

### 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: “\$1 in 1850 → 1859 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 25 Jan. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1850-dollars-in-1859?amount=1.