$1 in 1920 is worth $0.89 in 1926

Value of $1 from 1920 to 1926

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1926 are 11.5% lower than average prices since 1920. The U.S. dollar experienced an average deflation rate of -2.02% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to increase.

In other words, $1 in 1920 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $0.89 in 1926, a difference of $-0.11 over 6 years.

The 1920 inflation rate was 15.61%. The inflation rate in 1926 was 1.14%. The 1926 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.90% per year between 1926 and 2020.


Inflation from 1920 to 1926
Cumulative price change -11.50%
Average inflation rate -2.02%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.89
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.11
CPI in 1920 20.000
CPI in 1926 17.700
Inflation in 1920 15.61%
Inflation in 1926 1.14%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
Download

Buying power of $1 in 1920

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1920 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $0.89 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

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: 1920-1926
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1920 $1.00 15.61%
1921 $0.89 -10.50%
1922 $0.84 -6.15%
1923 $0.86 1.79%
1924 $0.86 0.00%
1925 $0.88 2.34%
1926 $0.89 1.14%
1927 $0.87 -1.69%
1928 $0.86 -1.72%
1929 $0.86 0.00%
1930 $0.84 -2.34%
1931 $0.76 -8.98%
1932 $0.68 -9.87%
1933 $0.65 -5.11%
1934 $0.67 3.08%
1935 $0.68 2.24%
1936 $0.70 1.46%
1937 $0.72 3.60%
1938 $0.71 -2.08%
1939 $0.70 -1.42%
1940 $0.70 0.72%
1941 $0.74 5.00%
1942 $0.82 10.88%
1943 $0.87 6.13%
1944 $0.88 1.73%
1945 $0.90 2.27%
1946 $0.98 8.33%
1947 $1.12 14.36%
1948 $1.21 8.07%
1949 $1.19 -1.24%
1950 $1.21 1.26%
1951 $1.30 7.88%
1952 $1.33 1.92%
1953 $1.34 0.75%
1954 $1.35 0.75%
1955 $1.34 -0.37%
1956 $1.36 1.49%
1957 $1.41 3.31%
1958 $1.44 2.85%
1959 $1.46 0.69%
1960 $1.48 1.72%
1961 $1.50 1.01%
1962 $1.51 1.00%
1963 $1.53 1.32%
1964 $1.55 1.31%
1965 $1.58 1.61%
1966 $1.62 2.86%
1967 $1.67 3.09%
1968 $1.74 4.19%
1969 $1.84 5.46%
1970 $1.94 5.72%
1971 $2.03 4.38%
1972 $2.09 3.21%
1973 $2.22 6.22%
1974 $2.47 11.04%
1975 $2.69 9.13%
1976 $2.85 5.76%
1977 $3.03 6.50%
1978 $3.26 7.59%
1979 $3.63 11.35%
1980 $4.12 13.50%
1981 $4.55 10.32%
1982 $4.83 6.16%
1983 $4.98 3.21%
1984 $5.20 4.32%
1985 $5.38 3.56%
1986 $5.48 1.86%
1987 $5.68 3.65%
1988 $5.92 4.14%
1989 $6.20 4.82%
1990 $6.53 5.40%
1991 $6.81 4.21%
1992 $7.02 3.01%
1993 $7.23 2.99%
1994 $7.41 2.56%
1995 $7.62 2.83%
1996 $7.85 2.95%
1997 $8.03 2.29%
1998 $8.15 1.56%
1999 $8.33 2.21%
2000 $8.61 3.36%
2001 $8.86 2.85%
2002 $9.00 1.58%
2003 $9.20 2.28%
2004 $9.45 2.66%
2005 $9.77 3.39%
2006 $10.08 3.23%
2007 $10.37 2.85%
2008 $10.77 3.84%
2009 $10.73 -0.36%
2010 $10.90 1.64%
2011 $11.25 3.16%
2012 $11.48 2.07%
2013 $11.65 1.46%
2014 $11.84 1.62%
2015 $11.85 0.12%
2016 $12.00 1.26%
2017 $12.26 2.13%
2018 $12.56 2.49%
2019 $12.78 1.76%
2020 $13.00 1.67%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

This conversion table shows various other 1920 amounts in 1926 dollars, based on the -11.50% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar in 1926
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1920 $0.89 dollars in 1926
$5 dollars in 1920 $4.43 dollars in 1926
$10 dollars in 1920 $8.85 dollars in 1926
$50 dollars in 1920 $44.25 dollars in 1926
$100 dollars in 1920 $88.50 dollars in 1926
$500 dollars in 1920 $442.50 dollars in 1926
$1,000 dollars in 1920 $885.00 dollars in 1926
$5,000 dollars in 1920 $4,425.00 dollars in 1926
$10,000 dollars in 1920 $8,850.00 dollars in 1926
$50,000 dollars in 1920 $44,250.00 dollars in 1926
$100,000 dollars in 1920 $88,500.00 dollars in 1926
$500,000 dollars in 1920 $442,500.00 dollars in 1926
$1,000,000 dollars in 1920 $885,000.00 dollars in 1926

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1920 to 1926 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

Chicago, Illinois experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 6 years between 1920 and 1926 (-1.23%).

Atlanta, Georgia experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 6 years between 1920 and 1926 (-3.12%).

Note that some locations showing 0% inflation may have not yet reported latest data.


Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1920 would be equivalent to £0.73 in 1926, an absolute change of £-0.27 and a cumulative change of -26.88%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1920 would be equivalent to CA$0.82 in 1926, an absolute change of CA$-0.18 and a cumulative change of -17.86%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $-0.11 and total percent change of -11.50%.


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 1920 and 1926.

Compare these values to the overall average of -2.02% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1920 → 1926
Food and beverages 0.00 0.00 1.00
Housing 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel -8.07 -39.64 0.60
Transportation 0.00 0.00 1.00
Medical care 0.00 0.00 1.00
Recreation 0.00 0.00 1.00
Education and communication 0.00 0.00 1.00
Other goods and services 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 1920. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1920 to 1926

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1920 and 1926:

CPI in 1926 CPI in 1920
×
1920 USD value
=
1926 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 20 in the year 1920 and 17.7 in 1926:

17.720
×
$1
=
$0.89

$1 in 1920 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $0.89 in 1926.

To get the total inflation rate for the 6 years between 1920 and 1926, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1926 - CPI in 1920CPI in 1920
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (6 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

17.7 - 2020
×
100
=
-11%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of -2.02% has a compounding effect between 1920 and 1926. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of -11.50% over 6 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1920, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $2.30 in 1926. This is a return on investment of 129.94%, with an absolute return of $1.30 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 -12.99% of returns ($-0.30) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $1.60. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $1 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1920-1926
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $2.30 129.94%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $2.60 159.82%

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 1920 to latest available data for 1926 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1920 and 1926, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1920

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

  • The League of Nations' first assembly takes place in Paris.
  • The British Parliament passes the Fourth Home Rule Act, dividing Ireland into two parts and leading to a yearlong Anglo-Irish war in the southern counties.
  • The Catholic Church canonizes Joan of Arc, formally making her a saint.
  • The 19th Amendment to the constitution is ratified, granting U.S. woman suffrage 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: “$1 in 1920 → 1926 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 21 Sep. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1920-dollars-in-1926?amount=1.

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.


Ian Webster

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.

Email · LinkedIn · Twitter


» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1920 to 1926
Cumulative price change -11.50%
Average inflation rate -2.02%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.89
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.11
CPI in 1920 20.000
CPI in 1926 17.700
Inflation in 1920 15.61%
Inflation in 1926 1.14%