$1,700,000 in 1871 → $33,026,959.02 in 2015

U.S. Inflation Rate, $1,700,000 from 1871 to 2015

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2015 are 1,842.76% higher than average prices since 1871. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.08% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $1,700,000 in 1871 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $33,026,959.02 in 2015, a difference of $31,326,959.02 over 144 years.

The 1871 inflation rate was -6.87%. The inflation rate in 2015 was 0.12%. The 2015 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 1.71% per year between 2015 and 2020.


Inflation from 1871 to 2015
Cumulative price change 1,842.76%
Average inflation rate 2.08%
Converted amount ($1,700,000 base) $33,026,959.02
Price difference ($1,700,000 base) $31,326,959.02
CPI in 1871 12.200
CPI in 2015 237.017
Inflation in 1871 -6.87%
Inflation in 2015 0.12%

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

Buying power of $1,700,000 in 1871

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1,700,000 in 1871 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1,700,000, you would need to end with $33,026,959.02 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1,700,000 is equivalent to $33,026,959.02 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 1871 dollars, the chart below shows how $1,700,000 buys less over the past 144 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
1871 $1,700,000.00 -6.87%
1872 $1,700,000.00 0.00%
1873 $1,672,131.15 -1.64%
1874 $1,588,524.59 -5.00%
1875 $1,532,786.89 -3.51%
1876 $1,490,983.61 -2.73%
1877 $1,463,114.75 -1.87%
1878 $1,393,442.62 -4.76%
1879 $1,393,442.62 0.00%
1880 $1,421,311.48 2.00%
1881 $1,421,311.48 0.00%
1882 $1,421,311.48 0.00%
1883 $1,407,377.05 -0.98%
1884 $1,365,573.77 -2.97%
1885 $1,351,639.34 -1.02%
1886 $1,309,836.07 -3.09%
1887 $1,323,770.49 1.06%
1888 $1,323,770.49 0.00%
1889 $1,281,967.21 -3.16%
1890 $1,268,032.79 -1.09%
1891 $1,268,032.79 0.00%
1892 $1,268,032.79 0.00%
1893 $1,254,098.36 -1.10%
1894 $1,198,360.66 -4.44%
1895 $1,170,491.80 -2.33%
1896 $1,170,491.80 0.00%
1897 $1,156,557.38 -1.19%
1898 $1,156,557.38 0.00%
1899 $1,156,557.38 0.00%
1900 $1,170,491.80 1.20%
1901 $1,184,426.23 1.19%
1902 $1,198,360.66 1.18%
1903 $1,226,229.51 2.33%
1904 $1,240,163.93 1.14%
1905 $1,226,229.51 -1.12%
1906 $1,254,098.36 2.27%
1907 $1,309,836.07 4.44%
1908 $1,281,967.21 -2.13%
1909 $1,268,032.79 -1.09%
1910 $1,323,770.49 4.40%
1911 $1,323,770.49 0.00%
1912 $1,351,639.34 2.11%
1913 $1,379,508.20 2.06%
1914 $1,393,442.62 1.01%
1915 $1,407,377.05 1.00%
1916 $1,518,852.46 7.92%
1917 $1,783,606.56 17.43%
1918 $2,104,098.36 17.97%
1919 $2,410,655.74 14.57%
1920 $2,786,885.25 15.61%
1921 $2,494,262.30 -10.50%
1922 $2,340,983.61 -6.15%
1923 $2,382,786.89 1.79%
1924 $2,382,786.89 0.00%
1925 $2,438,524.59 2.34%
1926 $2,466,393.44 1.14%
1927 $2,424,590.16 -1.69%
1928 $2,382,786.89 -1.72%
1929 $2,382,786.89 0.00%
1930 $2,327,049.18 -2.34%
1931 $2,118,032.79 -8.98%
1932 $1,909,016.39 -9.87%
1933 $1,811,475.41 -5.11%
1934 $1,867,213.11 3.08%
1935 $1,909,016.39 2.24%
1936 $1,936,885.25 1.46%
1937 $2,006,557.38 3.60%
1938 $1,964,754.10 -2.08%
1939 $1,936,885.25 -1.42%
1940 $1,950,819.67 0.72%
1941 $2,048,360.66 5.00%
1942 $2,271,311.48 10.88%
1943 $2,410,655.74 6.13%
1944 $2,452,459.02 1.73%
1945 $2,508,196.72 2.27%
1946 $2,717,213.11 8.33%
1947 $3,107,377.05 14.36%
1948 $3,358,196.72 8.07%
1949 $3,316,393.44 -1.24%
1950 $3,358,196.72 1.26%
1951 $3,622,950.82 7.88%
1952 $3,692,622.95 1.92%
1953 $3,720,491.80 0.75%
1954 $3,748,360.66 0.75%
1955 $3,734,426.23 -0.37%
1956 $3,790,163.93 1.49%
1957 $3,915,573.77 3.31%
1958 $4,027,049.18 2.85%
1959 $4,054,918.03 0.69%
1960 $4,124,590.16 1.72%
1961 $4,166,393.44 1.01%
1962 $4,208,196.72 1.00%
1963 $4,263,934.43 1.32%
1964 $4,319,672.13 1.31%
1965 $4,389,344.26 1.61%
1966 $4,514,754.10 2.86%
1967 $4,654,098.36 3.09%
1968 $4,849,180.33 4.19%
1969 $5,113,934.43 5.46%
1970 $5,406,557.38 5.72%
1971 $5,643,442.62 4.38%
1972 $5,824,590.16 3.21%
1973 $6,186,885.25 6.22%
1974 $6,869,672.13 11.04%
1975 $7,496,721.31 9.13%
1976 $7,928,688.52 5.76%
1977 $8,444,262.30 6.50%
1978 $9,085,245.90 7.59%
1979 $10,116,393.44 11.35%
1980 $11,481,967.21 13.50%
1981 $12,666,393.44 10.32%
1982 $13,446,721.31 6.16%
1983 $13,878,688.52 3.21%
1984 $14,477,868.85 4.32%
1985 $14,993,442.62 3.56%
1986 $15,272,131.15 1.86%
1987 $15,829,508.20 3.65%
1988 $16,484,426.23 4.14%
1989 $17,278,688.52 4.82%
1990 $18,212,295.08 5.40%
1991 $18,978,688.52 4.21%
1992 $19,550,000.00 3.01%
1993 $20,135,245.90 2.99%
1994 $20,650,819.67 2.56%
1995 $21,236,065.57 2.83%
1996 $21,863,114.75 2.95%
1997 $22,364,754.10 2.29%
1998 $22,713,114.75 1.56%
1999 $23,214,754.10 2.21%
2000 $23,995,081.97 3.36%
2001 $24,677,868.85 2.85%
2002 $25,068,032.79 1.58%
2003 $25,639,344.26 2.28%
2004 $26,322,131.15 2.66%
2005 $27,213,934.43 3.39%
2006 $28,091,803.28 3.23%
2007 $28,891,918.03 2.85%
2008 $30,001,237.70 3.84%
2009 $29,894,500.00 -0.36%
2010 $30,384,852.46 1.64%
2011 $31,343,959.02 3.16%
2012 $31,992,606.56 2.07%
2013 $32,461,221.31 1.46%
2014 $32,987,803.28 1.62%
2015 $33,026,959.02 0.12%
2016 $33,443,598.36 1.26%
2017 $34,156,065.57 2.13%
2018 $35,007,459.02 2.49%
2019 $35,624,405.74 1.76%
2020 $35,946,778.69 0.90%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 138 more rows

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1,700,000.00 in 1871 would be equivalent to £180,625,000.00 in 2015, an absolute change of £178,925,000.00 and a cumulative change of 10,525.00%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $31,326,959.02 and total percent change of 1,842.76%.


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 1871 and 2015.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.08% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1,700,000 in 1871 → 2015
Food and beverages 4.15 34,988.51 596,504,628.04
Housing 4.35 46,112.77 785,617,048.66
Apparel 2.11 1,934.66 34,589,200.47
Transportation 3.36 11,489.86 197,027,605.76
Medical care 5.28 164,126.59 2,791,852,041.38
Recreation 1.12 393.83 8,395,026.09
Education and communication 2.20 2,205.98 39,201,579.48
Other goods and services 5.28 165,531.00 2,815,726,945.08

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 1871. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1,700,000, 1871 to 2015

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2015CPI in 1871
×
1871 USD value
=
2015 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 12.2 in the year 1871 and 237.017 in 2015:

237.01712.2
×
$1,700,000
=
$33,026,959.02

$1,700,000 in 1871 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $33,026,959.02 in 2015.

To get the total inflation rate for the 144 years between 1871 and 2015, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2015 - CPI in 1871CPI in 1871
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (144 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

237.017 - 12.212.2
×
100
=
1,843%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.08% has a compounding effect between 1871 and 2015. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 1,842.76% over 144 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1,700,000 in the S&P 500 index in 1871, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $417,284,185,756.49 in 2015. This is a return on investment of 24,546,028.57%, with an absolute return of $417,282,485,756.49 on top of the original $1,700,000.

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 94.85% of returns ($395,805,274,681.63) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1,700,000 investment is $21,477,211,074.86. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $18,255,629,414 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1871-2015
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1,700,000 $417,284,185,756.49 24,546,028.57%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$1,700,000 $21,478,911,074.86 1,263,365.36%

Information displayed above may differ slightly from other S&P 500 calculators. Minor discrepancies can occur because we use the latest CPI data for inflation, annualized inflation numbers for previous years, and we compute S&P price and dividends from January of 1871 to latest available data for 2015 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1871 and 2015, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1871

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

  • The Second German Empire is proclaimed by Kaiser Wilhelm I and Otto von Bismarck.
  • Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his expedition to Africa.
  • Revolutionaries brought to power in Paris after Municipal elections form Commune government.
  • French regular troops attack the Commune of Paris in a skirmish that left 17,000 dead.

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: “$1,700,000 in 1871 → 2015 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 24 Feb. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1871-dollars-in-2015?amount=1700000.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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


Ian Webster

About the author

Ian Webster is an engineer and data expert based in San Mateo, California. He has worked for Google, NASA, and consulted for governments around the world on data pipelines and data analysis. Disappointed by the lack of clear resources on the impacts of inflation on economic indicators, Ian believes this website serves as a valuable public tool. Ian earned his degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.

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» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1871 to 2015
Cumulative price change 1,842.76%
Average inflation rate 2.08%
Converted amount ($1,700,000 base) $33,026,959.02
Price difference ($1,700,000 base) $31,326,959.02
CPI in 1871 12.200
CPI in 2015 237.017
Inflation in 1871 -6.87%
Inflation in 2015 0.12%