# \$50,000 in 1886 is worth \$1,260,728.72 in 2015

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## Value of \$50,000 from 1886 to 2015

\$50,000 in 1886 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$1,260,728.72 in 2015, an increase of \$1,210,728.72 over 129 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.53% per year between 1886 and 2015, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,421.46%.

This means that prices in 2015 are 25.21 times higher than average prices since 1886, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The inflation rate in 1886 was -3.09%. The inflation rate in 2015 was 0.12%. The 2015 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.61% per year between 2015 and 2021.

 Cumulative price change 2,421.46% Average inflation rate 2.53% Converted amount (\$50,000 base) \$1,260,728.72 Price difference (\$50,000 base) \$1,210,728.72 CPI in 1886 9.400 CPI in 2015 237.017 Inflation in 1886 -3.09% Inflation in 2015 0.12% \$50,000 in 1886 \$1,260,728.72 in 2015

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

## Buying power of \$50,000 in 1886

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$50,000 in 1886 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$50,000, you would need to end with \$1,260,728.72 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$50,000 is equivalent to \$1,260,728.72 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 1886 dollars, the chart below shows how \$50,000 is worth less over 129 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:

Dollar inflation: 1886-2015
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1886 \$50,000.00 -3.09%
1887 \$50,531.91 1.06%
1888 \$50,531.91 0.00%
1889 \$48,936.17 -3.16%
1890 \$48,404.26 -1.09%
1891 \$48,404.26 0.00%
1892 \$48,404.26 0.00%
1893 \$47,872.34 -1.10%
1894 \$45,744.68 -4.44%
1895 \$44,680.85 -2.33%
1896 \$44,680.85 0.00%
1897 \$44,148.94 -1.19%
1898 \$44,148.94 0.00%
1899 \$44,148.94 0.00%
1900 \$44,680.85 1.20%
1901 \$45,212.77 1.19%
1902 \$45,744.68 1.18%
1903 \$46,808.51 2.33%
1904 \$47,340.43 1.14%
1905 \$46,808.51 -1.12%
1906 \$47,872.34 2.27%
1907 \$50,000.00 4.44%
1908 \$48,936.17 -2.13%
1909 \$48,404.26 -1.09%
1910 \$50,531.91 4.40%
1911 \$50,531.91 0.00%
1912 \$51,595.74 2.11%
1913 \$52,659.57 2.06%
1914 \$53,191.49 1.01%
1915 \$53,723.40 1.00%
1916 \$57,978.72 7.92%
1917 \$68,085.11 17.43%
1918 \$80,319.15 17.97%
1919 \$92,021.28 14.57%
1920 \$106,382.98 15.61%
1921 \$95,212.77 -10.50%
1922 \$89,361.70 -6.15%
1923 \$90,957.45 1.79%
1924 \$90,957.45 0.00%
1925 \$93,085.11 2.34%
1926 \$94,148.94 1.14%
1927 \$92,553.19 -1.69%
1928 \$90,957.45 -1.72%
1929 \$90,957.45 0.00%
1930 \$88,829.79 -2.34%
1931 \$80,851.06 -8.98%
1932 \$72,872.34 -9.87%
1933 \$69,148.94 -5.11%
1934 \$71,276.60 3.08%
1935 \$72,872.34 2.24%
1936 \$73,936.17 1.46%
1937 \$76,595.74 3.60%
1938 \$75,000.00 -2.08%
1939 \$73,936.17 -1.42%
1940 \$74,468.09 0.72%
1941 \$78,191.49 5.00%
1942 \$86,702.13 10.88%
1943 \$92,021.28 6.13%
1944 \$93,617.02 1.73%
1945 \$95,744.68 2.27%
1946 \$103,723.40 8.33%
1947 \$118,617.02 14.36%
1948 \$128,191.49 8.07%
1949 \$126,595.74 -1.24%
1950 \$128,191.49 1.26%
1951 \$138,297.87 7.88%
1952 \$140,957.45 1.92%
1953 \$142,021.28 0.75%
1954 \$143,085.11 0.75%
1955 \$142,553.19 -0.37%
1956 \$144,680.85 1.49%
1957 \$149,468.09 3.31%
1958 \$153,723.40 2.85%
1959 \$154,787.23 0.69%
1960 \$157,446.81 1.72%
1961 \$159,042.55 1.01%
1962 \$160,638.30 1.00%
1963 \$162,765.96 1.32%
1964 \$164,893.62 1.31%
1965 \$167,553.19 1.61%
1966 \$172,340.43 2.86%
1967 \$177,659.57 3.09%
1968 \$185,106.38 4.19%
1969 \$195,212.77 5.46%
1970 \$206,382.98 5.72%
1971 \$215,425.53 4.38%
1972 \$222,340.43 3.21%
1973 \$236,170.21 6.22%
1974 \$262,234.04 11.04%
1975 \$286,170.21 9.13%
1976 \$302,659.57 5.76%
1977 \$322,340.43 6.50%
1978 \$346,808.51 7.59%
1979 \$386,170.21 11.35%
1980 \$438,297.87 13.50%
1981 \$483,510.64 10.32%
1982 \$513,297.87 6.16%
1983 \$529,787.23 3.21%
1984 \$552,659.57 4.32%
1985 \$572,340.43 3.56%
1986 \$582,978.72 1.86%
1987 \$604,255.32 3.65%
1988 \$629,255.32 4.14%
1989 \$659,574.47 4.82%
1990 \$695,212.77 5.40%
1991 \$724,468.09 4.21%
1992 \$746,276.60 3.01%
1993 \$768,617.02 2.99%
1994 \$788,297.87 2.56%
1995 \$810,638.30 2.83%
1996 \$834,574.47 2.95%
1997 \$853,723.40 2.29%
1998 \$867,021.28 1.56%
1999 \$886,170.21 2.21%
2000 \$915,957.45 3.36%
2001 \$942,021.28 2.85%
2002 \$956,914.89 1.58%
2003 \$978,723.40 2.28%
2004 \$1,004,787.23 2.66%
2005 \$1,038,829.79 3.39%
2006 \$1,072,340.43 3.23%
2007 \$1,102,882.98 2.85%
2008 \$1,145,228.72 3.84%
2009 \$1,141,154.26 -0.36%
2010 \$1,159,872.34 1.64%
2011 \$1,196,484.04 3.16%
2012 \$1,221,244.68 2.07%
2013 \$1,239,132.98 1.46%
2014 \$1,259,234.04 1.62%
2015 \$1,260,728.72 0.12%
2016 \$1,276,632.98 1.26%
2017 \$1,303,829.79 2.13%
2018 \$1,336,329.79 2.49%
2019 \$1,359,880.32 1.76%
2020 \$1,376,657.80 1.23%
2021 \$1,471,218.09 6.87%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 123 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1886 amounts in 2015 dollars, based on the 2,421.46% change in prices:

Conversion: 1886 dollars in 2015
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1886 \$25.21 dollars in 2015
\$5 dollars in 1886 \$126.07 dollars in 2015
\$10 dollars in 1886 \$252.15 dollars in 2015
\$50 dollars in 1886 \$1,260.73 dollars in 2015
\$100 dollars in 1886 \$2,521.46 dollars in 2015
\$500 dollars in 1886 \$12,607.29 dollars in 2015
\$1,000 dollars in 1886 \$25,214.57 dollars in 2015
\$5,000 dollars in 1886 \$126,072.87 dollars in 2015
\$10,000 dollars in 1886 \$252,145.74 dollars in 2015
\$50,000 dollars in 1886 \$1,260,728.72 dollars in 2015
\$100,000 dollars in 1886 \$2,521,457.45 dollars in 2015
\$500,000 dollars in 1886 \$12,607,287.23 dollars in 2015
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1886 \$25,214,574.47 dollars in 2015

## Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £50,000.00 in 1886 would be equivalent to £5,862,068.97 in 2015, an absolute change of £5,812,068.97 and a cumulative change of 11,624.14%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$1,210,728.72 and total percent change of 2,421.46%.

## Inflation by Spending Category

CPI is the weighted combination of many categories of spending that are tracked by the government. Breaking down these categories helps explain the main drivers behind price changes.

This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1886 and 2015.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.53% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$50,000 in 1886 → 2015
Food and beverages 4.15 18,966.82 9,533,409.87
Housing 4.35 24,303.35 12,201,673.14
Apparel 2.11 1,386.59 743,293.61
Transportation 3.36 6,964.31 3,532,157.18
Medical care 4.84 44,247.03 22,173,517.24
Recreation 1.12 321.03 210,513.39
Education and communication 2.21 1,570.99 835,494.76
Other goods and services 5.28 76,501.79 38,300,895.73

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 1886. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

## How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$50,000, 1886 to 2015

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1886 and 2015:

CPI in 2015 CPI in 1886
×
1886 USD value
=
2015 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.4 in the year 1886 and 237.017 in 2015:

237.0179.4
×
\$50,000
=
\$1,260,728.72

\$50,000 in 1886 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$1,260,728.72 in 2015.

To get the total inflation rate for the 129 years between 1886 and 2015, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2015 - CPI in 1886CPI in 1886
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (129 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

237.017 - 9.49.4
×
100
=
2,421%

## Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.53% has a compounding effect between 1886 and 2015. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,421.46% over 129 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$50,000 in the S&P 500 index in 1886, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$4,247,983,569.33 in 2015. This is a return on investment of 8,495,867.14%, with an absolute return of \$4,247,933,569.33 on top of the original \$50,000.

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 96.03% of returns (\$4,079,510,229.65) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$50,000 investment is \$168,423,339.68. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around \$143,159,839 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1886-2015
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal \$50,000 \$4,247,983,569.33 8,495,867.14%
Real
\$50,000 \$168,473,339.68 336,846.68%

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 1886 to latest available data for 2015 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1886 and 2015, see the stock market returns calculator.

## News headlines from 1886

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

• The first successful gasoline powered car by Karl Benz is patented in Germany
• Gladstone introduces the first Irish Home Rule Bill into the British House of Commons.
• The strike for 8-hour working days begins in the United States.

## 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: “\$50,000 in 1886 → 2015 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 6 Dec. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/1886-dollars-in-2015?amount=50000.

Special thanks to QuickChart for their chart image API, which is used for chart downloads.

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.

 Cumulative price change 2,421.46% Average inflation rate 2.53% Converted amount (\$50,000 base) \$1,260,728.72 Price difference (\$50,000 base) \$1,210,728.72 CPI in 1886 9.400 CPI in 2015 237.017 Inflation in 1886 -3.09% Inflation in 2015 0.12% \$50,000 in 1886 \$1,260,728.72 in 2015