$500 in 1875 → $11,691.27 in 2019

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$500 in 1875 → $11,691.27 in 2019

U.S. Inflation Rate, $500 in 1875 to 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2019 are 2,238.25% higher than average prices throughout 1875. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.21% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $500 in 1875 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $11,691.27 in 2019, a difference of $11,191.27 over 144 years.

The 1875 inflation rate was -3.51%. The current inflation rate (2018 to 2019) is now 2.05%1. If this number holds, $500 today will be equivalent in buying power to $510.26 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1875 to 2019
Cumulative price change 2,238.25%
Average inflation rate 2.21%
Converted amount ($500 base) $11,691.27
Price difference ($500 base) $11,191.27
CPI in 1875 11.000
CPI in 2019 257.208
Inflation in 1875 -3.51%
Inflation in 2019 2.05%

U.S. inflation chart since 1665


Buying power of $500 in 1875

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $500 in 1875 (price index tracking began in 1635).

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
1875 $500.00 -3.51%
1876 $486.36 -2.73%
1877 $477.27 -1.87%
1878 $454.55 -4.76%
1879 $454.55 0.00%
1880 $463.64 2.00%
1881 $463.64 0.00%
1882 $463.64 0.00%
1883 $459.09 -0.98%
1884 $445.45 -2.97%
1885 $440.91 -1.02%
1886 $427.27 -3.09%
1887 $431.82 1.06%
1888 $431.82 0.00%
1889 $418.18 -3.16%
1890 $413.64 -1.09%
1891 $413.64 0.00%
1892 $413.64 0.00%
1893 $409.09 -1.10%
1894 $390.91 -4.44%
1895 $381.82 -2.33%
1896 $381.82 0.00%
1897 $377.27 -1.19%
1898 $377.27 0.00%
1899 $377.27 0.00%
1900 $381.82 1.20%
1901 $386.36 1.19%
1902 $390.91 1.18%
1903 $400.00 2.33%
1904 $404.55 1.14%
1905 $400.00 -1.12%
1906 $409.09 2.27%
1907 $427.27 4.44%
1908 $418.18 -2.13%
1909 $413.64 -1.09%
1910 $431.82 4.40%
1911 $431.82 0.00%
1912 $440.91 2.11%
1913 $450.00 2.06%
1914 $454.55 1.01%
1915 $459.09 1.00%
1916 $495.45 7.92%
1917 $581.82 17.43%
1918 $686.36 17.97%
1919 $786.36 14.57%
1920 $909.09 15.61%
1921 $813.64 -10.50%
1922 $763.64 -6.15%
1923 $777.27 1.79%
1924 $777.27 0.00%
1925 $795.45 2.34%
1926 $804.55 1.14%
1927 $790.91 -1.69%
1928 $777.27 -1.72%
1929 $777.27 0.00%
1930 $759.09 -2.34%
1931 $690.91 -8.98%
1932 $622.73 -9.87%
1933 $590.91 -5.11%
1934 $609.09 3.08%
1935 $622.73 2.24%
1936 $631.82 1.46%
1937 $654.55 3.60%
1938 $640.91 -2.08%
1939 $631.82 -1.42%
1940 $636.36 0.72%
1941 $668.18 5.00%
1942 $740.91 10.88%
1943 $786.36 6.13%
1944 $800.00 1.73%
1945 $818.18 2.27%
1946 $886.36 8.33%
1947 $1,013.64 14.36%
1948 $1,095.45 8.07%
1949 $1,081.82 -1.24%
1950 $1,095.45 1.26%
1951 $1,181.82 7.88%
1952 $1,204.55 1.92%
1953 $1,213.64 0.75%
1954 $1,222.73 0.75%
1955 $1,218.18 -0.37%
1956 $1,236.36 1.49%
1957 $1,277.27 3.31%
1958 $1,313.64 2.85%
1959 $1,322.73 0.69%
1960 $1,345.45 1.72%
1961 $1,359.09 1.01%
1962 $1,372.73 1.00%
1963 $1,390.91 1.32%
1964 $1,409.09 1.31%
1965 $1,431.82 1.61%
1966 $1,472.73 2.86%
1967 $1,518.18 3.09%
1968 $1,581.82 4.19%
1969 $1,668.18 5.46%
1970 $1,763.64 5.72%
1971 $1,840.91 4.38%
1972 $1,900.00 3.21%
1973 $2,018.18 6.22%
1974 $2,240.91 11.04%
1975 $2,445.45 9.13%
1976 $2,586.36 5.76%
1977 $2,754.55 6.50%
1978 $2,963.64 7.59%
1979 $3,300.00 11.35%
1980 $3,745.45 13.50%
1981 $4,131.82 10.32%
1982 $4,386.36 6.16%
1983 $4,527.27 3.21%
1984 $4,722.73 4.32%
1985 $4,890.91 3.56%
1986 $4,981.82 1.86%
1987 $5,163.64 3.65%
1988 $5,377.27 4.14%
1989 $5,636.36 4.82%
1990 $5,940.91 5.40%
1991 $6,190.91 4.21%
1992 $6,377.27 3.01%
1993 $6,568.18 2.99%
1994 $6,736.36 2.56%
1995 $6,927.27 2.83%
1996 $7,131.82 2.95%
1997 $7,295.45 2.29%
1998 $7,409.09 1.56%
1999 $7,572.73 2.21%
2000 $7,827.27 3.36%
2001 $8,050.00 2.85%
2002 $8,177.27 1.58%
2003 $8,363.64 2.28%
2004 $8,586.36 2.66%
2005 $8,877.27 3.39%
2006 $9,163.64 3.23%
2007 $9,424.64 2.85%
2008 $9,786.50 3.84%
2009 $9,751.68 -0.36%
2010 $9,911.64 1.64%
2011 $10,224.50 3.16%
2012 $10,436.09 2.07%
2013 $10,588.95 1.46%
2014 $10,760.73 1.62%
2015 $10,773.50 0.12%
2016 $10,909.41 1.26%
2017 $11,141.82 2.13%
2018 $11,413.95 2.44%
2019 $11,691.27 2.43%*
* 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 £500.00 in 1875 would be equivalent to £57,215.41 in 2019, an absolute change of £56,715.41 and a cumulative change of 11,343.08%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $11,191.27 and total percent change of 2,238.25%.


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 1875 and 2019.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.21% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $500 in 1875 → 2019
Food and beverages 3.92 25,140.70 126,203.48
Housing 4.23 38,966.86 195,334.32
Apparel 2.02 1,688.58 8,942.92
Transportation 3.26 10,047.26 50,736.29
Medical care 5.13 134,725.49 674,127.43
Recreation 1.09 377.90 2,389.49
Education and communication 1.85 1,295.14 6,975.68
Other goods and services 5.03 117,833.68 589,668.42

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 1875. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $500 since 1875

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2019CPI in 1875
×
1875 USD value
=
2019 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 11 in the year 1875 and 257.208 in 2019:

257.20811
×
$500
=
$11,691.27

$500 in 1875 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $11,691.27 in 2019.

To get the total inflation rate for the 144 years between 1875 and 2019, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2019 - CPI in 1875CPI in 1875
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (144 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

257.208 - 1111
×
100
=
2,238%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.21% has a compounding effect between 1875 and 2019. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,238.25% over 144 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $500 in the S&P 500 index in 1875, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $164,316,515.52 in 2019. This is a return on investment of 32,863,203.10%, with an absolute return of $164,316,015.52 on top of the original $500.

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 95.72% of returns ($157,289,200.39) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $500 investment is $7,026,815.13. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $5,972,793 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1875-2019
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $500 $164,316,515.52 32,863,203.10%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$500 $7,027,315.13 1,405,363.03%

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 1875 to latest available data for 2019.


News headlines from 1875

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

  • Verney Cameroon becomes the first European to reach Benguela in Angola.
  • Alexander Graham Bell makes the first sound transmission.
  • The Pacific Stock Exchange is opened for the first time.

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 1875 → 2019 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 14 Dec. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1875-dollars-in-2019?amount=500.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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


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 1875 to 2019
Cumulative price change 2,238.25%
Average inflation rate 2.21%
Converted amount ($500 base) $11,691.27
Price difference ($500 base) $11,191.27
CPI in 1875 11.000
CPI in 2019 257.208
Inflation in 1875 -3.51%
Inflation in 2019 2.05%
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