\$

# \$1 in 1908 → \$27.31 in 2018

👉 You may be interested in \$1 in 1908 → 2020

### U.S. Inflation Rate, \$1 in 1908 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 2,630.76% higher than average prices since 1908. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.05% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, \$1 in 1908 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$27.31 in 2018, a difference of \$26.31 over 110 years.

The 1908 inflation rate was -2.13%. The inflation rate in 2018 was 2.49%. The 2018 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 1.14% per year between 2018 and 2020.

 Cumulative price change 2,630.76% Average inflation rate 3.05% Converted amount (\$1 base) \$27.31 Price difference (\$1 base) \$26.31 CPI in 1908 9.200 CPI in 2018 251.230 Inflation in 1908 -2.13% Inflation in 2018 2.49%

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

### Buying power of \$1 in 1908

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$1 in 1908 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$1, you would need to end with \$27.31 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$1 is equivalent to \$27.31 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 1908 dollars, the chart below shows how \$1 buys less over the past 110 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
1908 \$1.00 -2.13%
1909 \$0.99 -1.09%
1910 \$1.03 4.40%
1911 \$1.03 0.00%
1912 \$1.05 2.11%
1913 \$1.08 2.06%
1914 \$1.09 1.01%
1915 \$1.10 1.00%
1916 \$1.18 7.92%
1917 \$1.39 17.43%
1918 \$1.64 17.97%
1919 \$1.88 14.57%
1920 \$2.17 15.61%
1921 \$1.95 -10.50%
1922 \$1.83 -6.15%
1923 \$1.86 1.79%
1924 \$1.86 0.00%
1925 \$1.90 2.34%
1926 \$1.92 1.14%
1927 \$1.89 -1.69%
1928 \$1.86 -1.72%
1929 \$1.86 0.00%
1930 \$1.82 -2.34%
1931 \$1.65 -8.98%
1932 \$1.49 -9.87%
1933 \$1.41 -5.11%
1934 \$1.46 3.08%
1935 \$1.49 2.24%
1936 \$1.51 1.46%
1937 \$1.57 3.60%
1938 \$1.53 -2.08%
1939 \$1.51 -1.42%
1940 \$1.52 0.72%
1941 \$1.60 5.00%
1942 \$1.77 10.88%
1943 \$1.88 6.13%
1944 \$1.91 1.73%
1945 \$1.96 2.27%
1946 \$2.12 8.33%
1947 \$2.42 14.36%
1948 \$2.62 8.07%
1949 \$2.59 -1.24%
1950 \$2.62 1.26%
1951 \$2.83 7.88%
1952 \$2.88 1.92%
1953 \$2.90 0.75%
1954 \$2.92 0.75%
1955 \$2.91 -0.37%
1956 \$2.96 1.49%
1957 \$3.05 3.31%
1958 \$3.14 2.85%
1959 \$3.16 0.69%
1960 \$3.22 1.72%
1961 \$3.25 1.01%
1962 \$3.28 1.00%
1963 \$3.33 1.32%
1964 \$3.37 1.31%
1965 \$3.42 1.61%
1966 \$3.52 2.86%
1967 \$3.63 3.09%
1968 \$3.78 4.19%
1969 \$3.99 5.46%
1970 \$4.22 5.72%
1971 \$4.40 4.38%
1972 \$4.54 3.21%
1973 \$4.83 6.22%
1974 \$5.36 11.04%
1975 \$5.85 9.13%
1976 \$6.18 5.76%
1977 \$6.59 6.50%
1978 \$7.09 7.59%
1979 \$7.89 11.35%
1980 \$8.96 13.50%
1981 \$9.88 10.32%
1982 \$10.49 6.16%
1983 \$10.83 3.21%
1984 \$11.29 4.32%
1985 \$11.70 3.56%
1986 \$11.91 1.86%
1987 \$12.35 3.65%
1988 \$12.86 4.14%
1989 \$13.48 4.82%
1990 \$14.21 5.40%
1991 \$14.80 4.21%
1992 \$15.25 3.01%
1993 \$15.71 2.99%
1994 \$16.11 2.56%
1995 \$16.57 2.83%
1996 \$17.05 2.95%
1997 \$17.45 2.29%
1998 \$17.72 1.56%
1999 \$18.11 2.21%
2000 \$18.72 3.36%
2001 \$19.25 2.85%
2002 \$19.55 1.58%
2003 \$20.00 2.28%
2004 \$20.53 2.66%
2005 \$21.23 3.39%
2006 \$21.91 3.23%
2007 \$22.54 2.85%
2008 \$23.40 3.84%
2009 \$23.32 -0.36%
2010 \$23.70 1.64%
2011 \$24.45 3.16%
2012 \$24.96 2.07%
2013 \$25.32 1.46%
2014 \$25.73 1.62%
2015 \$25.76 0.12%
2016 \$26.09 1.26%
2017 \$26.64 2.13%
2018 \$27.31 2.49%
2019 \$27.79 1.76%
2020 \$27.93 0.51%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 104 more rows

### Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1908 would be equivalent to £117.19 in 2018, an absolute change of £116.19 and a cumulative change of 11,619.08%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$26.31 and total percent change of 2,630.76%.

### 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 1908 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 3.05% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$1 in 1908 → 2018
Food and beverages 3.96 7,051.14 71.51
Housing 4.26 9,738.41 98.38
Apparel 2.05 833.44 9.33
Transportation 3.30 3,467.19 35.67
Medical care 5.17 25,445.74 255.46
Recreation 1.09 229.15 3.29
Education and communication 1.89 687.74 7.88
Other goods and services 5.10 23,577.98 236.78

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 1908. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

### How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$1, 1908 to 2018

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 1908
×
1908 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.2 in the year 1908 and 251.23 in 2018:

251.239.2
×
\$1
=
\$27.31

\$1 in 1908 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$27.31 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 110 years between 1908 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1908CPI in 1908
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (110 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

251.23 - 9.29.2
×
100
=
2,631%

### Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 3.05% has a compounding effect between 1908 and 2018. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,630.76% over 110 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$1 in the S&P 500 index in 1908, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$36,078.86 in 2018. This is a return on investment of 3,607,785.59%, with an absolute return of \$36,077.86 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 96.34% of returns (\$34,757.65) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$1 investment is \$1,320.20. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around \$1,122 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1908-2018
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal \$1 \$36,078.86 3,607,785.59%
Real
\$1 \$1,321.20 132,020.16%

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 1908 to latest available data for 2018 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1908 and 2018, see the stock market returns calculator.

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

• "Scouting for Boys", the book that became an inspiration for the Scout Movement, is published by Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell
• King Carlos I of Portugal and his heir Prince Luis Filipe in Terreiro do Paco are assassinated.
• A meteor explodes over Siberia with the power of several atomic bombs. This is known as the "Tunguska event".
• The first Model T car is built.

### 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 1908 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 22 Jan. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1908-dollars-in-2018?amount=1.