$50,000 in 1897 → $1,476,626.51 in 2017

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$50,000 in 1897 → $1,476,626.51 in 2017

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $50,000 in 1897 to 2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2017 are 2,853.25% higher than average prices since 1897. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.86% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $50,000 in 1897 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1,476,626.51 in 2017, a difference of $1,426,626.51 over 120 years.

The 1897 inflation rate was -1.19%. The inflation rate in 2017 was 2.13%. The 2017 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 1.59% per year between 2017 and 2020.


Inflation from 1897 to 2017
Cumulative price change 2,853.25%
Average inflation rate 2.86%
Converted amount ($50,000 base) $1,476,626.51
Price difference ($50,000 base) $1,426,626.51
CPI in 1897 8.300
CPI in 2017 245.120
Inflation in 1897 -1.19%
Inflation in 2017 2.13%

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

Buying power of $50,000 in 1897

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $50,000 in 1897 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $50,000, you would need to end with $1,476,626.51 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $50,000 is equivalent to $1,476,626.51 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 1897 dollars, the chart below shows how $50,000 buys less over the past 120 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
1897 $50,000.00 -1.19%
1898 $50,000.00 0.00%
1899 $50,000.00 0.00%
1900 $50,602.41 1.20%
1901 $51,204.82 1.19%
1902 $51,807.23 1.18%
1903 $53,012.05 2.33%
1904 $53,614.46 1.14%
1905 $53,012.05 -1.12%
1906 $54,216.87 2.27%
1907 $56,626.51 4.44%
1908 $55,421.69 -2.13%
1909 $54,819.28 -1.09%
1910 $57,228.92 4.40%
1911 $57,228.92 0.00%
1912 $58,433.73 2.11%
1913 $59,638.55 2.06%
1914 $60,240.96 1.01%
1915 $60,843.37 1.00%
1916 $65,662.65 7.92%
1917 $77,108.43 17.43%
1918 $90,963.86 17.97%
1919 $104,216.87 14.57%
1920 $120,481.93 15.61%
1921 $107,831.33 -10.50%
1922 $101,204.82 -6.15%
1923 $103,012.05 1.79%
1924 $103,012.05 0.00%
1925 $105,421.69 2.34%
1926 $106,626.51 1.14%
1927 $104,819.28 -1.69%
1928 $103,012.05 -1.72%
1929 $103,012.05 0.00%
1930 $100,602.41 -2.34%
1931 $91,566.27 -8.98%
1932 $82,530.12 -9.87%
1933 $78,313.25 -5.11%
1934 $80,722.89 3.08%
1935 $82,530.12 2.24%
1936 $83,734.94 1.46%
1937 $86,746.99 3.60%
1938 $84,939.76 -2.08%
1939 $83,734.94 -1.42%
1940 $84,337.35 0.72%
1941 $88,554.22 5.00%
1942 $98,192.77 10.88%
1943 $104,216.87 6.13%
1944 $106,024.10 1.73%
1945 $108,433.73 2.27%
1946 $117,469.88 8.33%
1947 $134,337.35 14.36%
1948 $145,180.72 8.07%
1949 $143,373.49 -1.24%
1950 $145,180.72 1.26%
1951 $156,626.51 7.88%
1952 $159,638.55 1.92%
1953 $160,843.37 0.75%
1954 $162,048.19 0.75%
1955 $161,445.78 -0.37%
1956 $163,855.42 1.49%
1957 $169,277.11 3.31%
1958 $174,096.39 2.85%
1959 $175,301.20 0.69%
1960 $178,313.25 1.72%
1961 $180,120.48 1.01%
1962 $181,927.71 1.00%
1963 $184,337.35 1.32%
1964 $186,746.99 1.31%
1965 $189,759.04 1.61%
1966 $195,180.72 2.86%
1967 $201,204.82 3.09%
1968 $209,638.55 4.19%
1969 $221,084.34 5.46%
1970 $233,734.94 5.72%
1971 $243,975.90 4.38%
1972 $251,807.23 3.21%
1973 $267,469.88 6.22%
1974 $296,987.95 11.04%
1975 $324,096.39 9.13%
1976 $342,771.08 5.76%
1977 $365,060.24 6.50%
1978 $392,771.08 7.59%
1979 $437,349.40 11.35%
1980 $496,385.54 13.50%
1981 $547,590.36 10.32%
1982 $581,325.30 6.16%
1983 $600,000.00 3.21%
1984 $625,903.61 4.32%
1985 $648,192.77 3.56%
1986 $660,240.96 1.86%
1987 $684,337.35 3.65%
1988 $712,650.60 4.14%
1989 $746,987.95 4.82%
1990 $787,349.40 5.40%
1991 $820,481.93 4.21%
1992 $845,180.72 3.01%
1993 $870,481.93 2.99%
1994 $892,771.08 2.56%
1995 $918,072.29 2.83%
1996 $945,180.72 2.95%
1997 $966,867.47 2.29%
1998 $981,927.71 1.56%
1999 $1,003,614.46 2.21%
2000 $1,037,349.40 3.36%
2001 $1,066,867.47 2.85%
2002 $1,083,734.94 1.58%
2003 $1,108,433.73 2.28%
2004 $1,137,951.81 2.66%
2005 $1,176,506.02 3.39%
2006 $1,214,457.83 3.23%
2007 $1,249,048.19 2.85%
2008 $1,297,006.02 3.84%
2009 $1,292,391.57 -0.36%
2010 $1,313,590.36 1.64%
2011 $1,355,054.22 3.16%
2012 $1,383,096.39 2.07%
2013 $1,403,355.42 1.46%
2014 $1,426,120.48 1.62%
2015 $1,427,813.25 0.12%
2016 $1,445,825.30 1.26%
2017 $1,476,626.51 2.13%
2018 $1,513,433.73 2.49%
2019 $1,540,105.42 1.76%
2020 $1,548,036.14 0.51%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 114 more rows

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £50,000.00 in 1897 would be equivalent to £6,177,586.21 in 2017, an absolute change of £6,127,586.21 and a cumulative change of 12,255.17%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $1,426,626.51 and total percent change of 2,853.25%.


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 1897 and 2017.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.86% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $50,000 in 1897 → 2017
Food and beverages 4.01 11,090.97 5,595,484.75
Housing 4.29 15,314.66 7,707,330.86
Apparel 2.07 1,070.26 585,130.23
Transportation 3.29 4,753.33 2,426,662.81
Medical care 5.21 44,478.65 22,289,323.89
Recreation 1.11 277.76 188,880.97
Education and communication 1.97 933.14 516,571.07
Other goods and services 5.15 41,473.55 20,786,774.50

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 1897. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $50,000, 1897 to 2017

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2017CPI in 1897
×
1897 USD value
=
2017 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.3 in the year 1897 and 245.12 in 2017:

245.128.3
×
$50,000
=
$1,476,626.51

$50,000 in 1897 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1,476,626.51 in 2017.

To get the total inflation rate for the 120 years between 1897 and 2017, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2017 - CPI in 1897CPI in 1897
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (120 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

245.12 - 8.38.3
×
100
=
2,853%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.86% has a compounding effect between 1897 and 2017. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,853.25% over 120 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $50,000 in the S&P 500 index in 1897, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $4,838,829,349.33 in 2017. This is a return on investment of 9,677,558.70%, with an absolute return of $4,838,779,349.33 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 96.61% of returns ($4,674,981,912.98) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $50,000 investment is $163,797,436.36. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $139,227,821 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1897-2017
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $50,000 $4,838,829,349.33 9,677,558.70%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$50,000 $163,847,436.36 327,594.87%

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 1897 to latest available data for 2017 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1897 and 2017, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1897

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

  • The first football game between black colleges takes place.
  • M. H. Cannon becomes the first female state senator in the United States.
  • Elva Zona Heaster is found dead, which results in the trial of her husband, famous for being the only time in US history the alleged testimony of a ghost has helped secure a conviction.

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 1897 → 2017 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 28 Jan. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1897-dollars-in-2017?amount=50000.

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 1897 to 2017
Cumulative price change 2,853.25%
Average inflation rate 2.86%
Converted amount ($50,000 base) $1,476,626.51
Price difference ($50,000 base) $1,426,626.51
CPI in 1897 8.300
CPI in 2017 245.120
Inflation in 1897 -1.19%
Inflation in 2017 2.13%