$1 in 1885 → $0.98 in 1888

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$1 in 1885 → $0.98 in 1888

U.S. Inflation Rate, $1 in 1885 to 1888

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1888 are 2.06% lower than average prices throughout 1885. The dollar experienced an average deflation rate of -0.69% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar increased.

In other words, $1 in 1885 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $0.98 in 1888, a difference of $-0.02 over 3 years.

The 1885 inflation rate was -1.02%. The inflation rate in 1888 was 0.00%. The 1888 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.55% per year between 1888 and 2019.


Inflation from 1885 to 1888
Cumulative price change -2.06%
Average inflation rate -0.69%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.98
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.02
CPI in 1885 9.700
CPI in 1888 9.500
Inflation in 1885 -1.02%
Inflation in 1888 0.00%

U.S. inflation chart since 1665


Buying power of $1 in 1885

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $1 in 1885 (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
1885 $1.00 -1.02%
1886 $0.97 -3.09%
1887 $0.98 1.06%
1888 $0.98 0.00%
1889 $0.95 -3.16%
1890 $0.94 -1.09%
1891 $0.94 0.00%
1892 $0.94 0.00%
1893 $0.93 -1.10%
1894 $0.89 -4.44%
1895 $0.87 -2.33%
1896 $0.87 0.00%
1897 $0.86 -1.19%
1898 $0.86 0.00%
1899 $0.86 0.00%
1900 $0.87 1.20%
1901 $0.88 1.19%
1902 $0.89 1.18%
1903 $0.91 2.33%
1904 $0.92 1.14%
1905 $0.91 -1.12%
1906 $0.93 2.27%
1907 $0.97 4.44%
1908 $0.95 -2.13%
1909 $0.94 -1.09%
1910 $0.98 4.40%
1911 $0.98 0.00%
1912 $1.00 2.11%
1913 $1.02 2.06%
1914 $1.03 1.01%
1915 $1.04 1.00%
1916 $1.12 7.92%
1917 $1.32 17.43%
1918 $1.56 17.97%
1919 $1.78 14.57%
1920 $2.06 15.61%
1921 $1.85 -10.50%
1922 $1.73 -6.15%
1923 $1.76 1.79%
1924 $1.76 0.00%
1925 $1.80 2.34%
1926 $1.82 1.14%
1927 $1.79 -1.69%
1928 $1.76 -1.72%
1929 $1.76 0.00%
1930 $1.72 -2.34%
1931 $1.57 -8.98%
1932 $1.41 -9.87%
1933 $1.34 -5.11%
1934 $1.38 3.08%
1935 $1.41 2.24%
1936 $1.43 1.46%
1937 $1.48 3.60%
1938 $1.45 -2.08%
1939 $1.43 -1.42%
1940 $1.44 0.72%
1941 $1.52 5.00%
1942 $1.68 10.88%
1943 $1.78 6.13%
1944 $1.81 1.73%
1945 $1.86 2.27%
1946 $2.01 8.33%
1947 $2.30 14.36%
1948 $2.48 8.07%
1949 $2.45 -1.24%
1950 $2.48 1.26%
1951 $2.68 7.88%
1952 $2.73 1.92%
1953 $2.75 0.75%
1954 $2.77 0.75%
1955 $2.76 -0.37%
1956 $2.80 1.49%
1957 $2.90 3.31%
1958 $2.98 2.85%
1959 $3.00 0.69%
1960 $3.05 1.72%
1961 $3.08 1.01%
1962 $3.11 1.00%
1963 $3.15 1.32%
1964 $3.20 1.31%
1965 $3.25 1.61%
1966 $3.34 2.86%
1967 $3.44 3.09%
1968 $3.59 4.19%
1969 $3.78 5.46%
1970 $4.00 5.72%
1971 $4.18 4.38%
1972 $4.31 3.21%
1973 $4.58 6.22%
1974 $5.08 11.04%
1975 $5.55 9.13%
1976 $5.87 5.76%
1977 $6.25 6.50%
1978 $6.72 7.59%
1979 $7.48 11.35%
1980 $8.49 13.50%
1981 $9.37 10.32%
1982 $9.95 6.16%
1983 $10.27 3.21%
1984 $10.71 4.32%
1985 $11.09 3.56%
1986 $11.30 1.86%
1987 $11.71 3.65%
1988 $12.20 4.14%
1989 $12.78 4.82%
1990 $13.47 5.40%
1991 $14.04 4.21%
1992 $14.46 3.01%
1993 $14.90 2.99%
1994 $15.28 2.56%
1995 $15.71 2.83%
1996 $16.18 2.95%
1997 $16.55 2.29%
1998 $16.80 1.56%
1999 $17.18 2.21%
2000 $17.75 3.36%
2001 $18.26 2.85%
2002 $18.55 1.58%
2003 $18.97 2.28%
2004 $19.47 2.66%
2005 $20.13 3.39%
2006 $20.78 3.23%
2007 $21.38 2.85%
2008 $22.20 3.84%
2009 $22.12 -0.36%
2010 $22.48 1.64%
2011 $23.19 3.16%
2012 $23.67 2.07%
2013 $24.02 1.46%
2014 $24.41 1.62%
2015 $24.43 0.12%
2016 $24.74 1.26%
2017 $25.27 2.13%
2018 $25.89 2.44%
2019 $26.53 2.48%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1885 would be equivalent to £0.99 in 1888, an absolute change of £-0.01 and a cumulative change of -1.14%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $-0.02 and total percent change of -2.06%.


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 1885 and 1888.

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

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1885 → 1888
Food 0.00 0.00 1.00
Shelter 0.00 0.00 1.00
Energy 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 0.00 0.00 1.00
New vehicles 0.00 0.00 1.00
Used cars and trucks 0.00 0.00 1.00
Transportation services 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care services 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care commodities 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 1885. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1885 to 1888

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1888CPI in 1885
×
1885 USD value
=
1888 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.7 in the year 1885 and 9.5 in 1888:

9.59.7
×
$1
=
$0.98

$1 in 1885 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $0.98 in 1888.

To get the total inflation rate for the 3 years between 1885 and 1888, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1888 - CPI in 1885CPI in 1885
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (3 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

9.5 - 9.79.7
×
100
=
-2%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of -0.69% has a compounding effect between 1885 and 1888. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of -2.06% over 3 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1885, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.49 in 1888. This is a return on investment of -50.55%, with an absolute return of $0.49 on top of the original $1.

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 -2.11% of returns ($-0.01) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.50. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $0 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1885-1888
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.49 -50.55%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.50 -51.62%


News headlines from 1885

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

  • King Leopold II of Belgium makes Congo his own personal, colonial possession.
  • Congo is given to Belgium whilst Nigeria is awarded to Great Britain during the Berlin Conference
  • Bismarck, German chancellor, conquers Cameron and Togoland
  • Louis Pasteur conducts the first successful test of an anti-rabies vaccine
  • Gottlieb Daimler invents the first motorcycle.

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 1885 → 1888 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 21 Nov. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1885-dollars-in-1888?amount=1.

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 1885 to 1888
Cumulative price change -2.06%
Average inflation rate -0.69%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.98
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.02
CPI in 1885 9.700
CPI in 1888 9.500
Inflation in 1885 -1.02%
Inflation in 1888 0.00%
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