$1 in 1938 is worth $1.01 in 1938

Value of $1 from 1940 to 1938

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1938 are 0.71% higher than average prices since 1940. The U.S. dollar experienced an average deflation rate of -0.36% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to increase.

In other words, $1 in 1940 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.01 in 1938, a difference of $0.01 over 2 years.

The 1938 inflation rate was -2.08%. The inflation rate in 1940 was 0.72%. The 1940 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 3.70% per year between 1940 and 2020.


Inflation from 1940 to 1938
Cumulative price change 0.71%
Average inflation rate -0.36%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.01
Price difference ($1 base) $0.01
CPI in 1940 14.000
CPI in 1938 14.100
Inflation in 1938 -2.08%
Inflation in 1940 0.72%

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

Buying power of $1 in 1938

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1938 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $1.01 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: 1938-1940
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1938 $1.00 -2.08%
1939 $0.99 -1.42%
1940 $0.99 0.72%
1941 $1.04 5.00%
1942 $1.16 10.88%
1943 $1.23 6.13%
1944 $1.25 1.73%
1945 $1.28 2.27%
1946 $1.38 8.33%
1947 $1.58 14.36%
1948 $1.71 8.07%
1949 $1.69 -1.24%
1950 $1.71 1.26%
1951 $1.84 7.88%
1952 $1.88 1.92%
1953 $1.89 0.75%
1954 $1.91 0.75%
1955 $1.90 -0.37%
1956 $1.93 1.49%
1957 $1.99 3.31%
1958 $2.05 2.85%
1959 $2.06 0.69%
1960 $2.10 1.72%
1961 $2.12 1.01%
1962 $2.14 1.00%
1963 $2.17 1.32%
1964 $2.20 1.31%
1965 $2.23 1.61%
1966 $2.30 2.86%
1967 $2.37 3.09%
1968 $2.47 4.19%
1969 $2.60 5.46%
1970 $2.75 5.72%
1971 $2.87 4.38%
1972 $2.96 3.21%
1973 $3.15 6.22%
1974 $3.50 11.04%
1975 $3.82 9.13%
1976 $4.04 5.76%
1977 $4.30 6.50%
1978 $4.62 7.59%
1979 $5.15 11.35%
1980 $5.84 13.50%
1981 $6.45 10.32%
1982 $6.84 6.16%
1983 $7.06 3.21%
1984 $7.37 4.32%
1985 $7.63 3.56%
1986 $7.77 1.86%
1987 $8.06 3.65%
1988 $8.39 4.14%
1989 $8.79 4.82%
1990 $9.27 5.40%
1991 $9.66 4.21%
1992 $9.95 3.01%
1993 $10.25 2.99%
1994 $10.51 2.56%
1995 $10.81 2.83%
1996 $11.13 2.95%
1997 $11.38 2.29%
1998 $11.56 1.56%
1999 $11.82 2.21%
2000 $12.21 3.36%
2001 $12.56 2.85%
2002 $12.76 1.58%
2003 $13.05 2.28%
2004 $13.40 2.66%
2005 $13.85 3.39%
2006 $14.30 3.23%
2007 $14.71 2.85%
2008 $15.27 3.84%
2009 $15.22 -0.36%
2010 $15.46 1.64%
2011 $15.95 3.16%
2012 $16.28 2.07%
2013 $16.52 1.46%
2014 $16.79 1.62%
2015 $16.81 0.12%
2016 $17.02 1.26%
2017 $17.38 2.13%
2018 $17.82 2.49%
2019 $18.13 1.76%
2020 $18.18 0.29%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

This conversion table shows various other 1938 amounts in 1940 dollars, based on the 0.71% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar in 1940
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1938 $0.99 dollars in 1940
$5 dollars in 1938 $4.96 dollars in 1940
$10 dollars in 1938 $9.93 dollars in 1940
$50 dollars in 1938 $49.65 dollars in 1940
$100 dollars in 1938 $99.29 dollars in 1940
$500 dollars in 1938 $496.45 dollars in 1940
$1,000 dollars in 1938 $992.91 dollars in 1940
$5,000 dollars in 1938 $4,964.54 dollars in 1940
$10,000 dollars in 1938 $9,929.08 dollars in 1940
$50,000 dollars in 1938 $49,645.39 dollars in 1940
$100,000 dollars in 1938 $99,290.78 dollars in 1940
$500,000 dollars in 1938 $496,453.90 dollars in 1940
$1,000,000 dollars in 1938 $992,907.80 dollars in 1940

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1940 to 1938 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

New York experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 2 years between 1938 and 1940 (0.28%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 2 years between 1938 and 1940 (-1.44%).

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 1940 would be equivalent to £0.83 in 1938, an absolute change of £-0.17 and a cumulative change of -16.83%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1940 would be equivalent to CA$0.93 in 1938, an absolute change of CA$-0.07 and a cumulative change of -7.32%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.01 and total percent change of 0.71%.


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 1940 and 1938.

Compare these values to the overall average of -0.36% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1938 → 1940
Food and beverages 0.00 0.00 1.00
Housing 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel -0.10 -0.21 1.00
Transportation -1.38 -2.74 0.97
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 1940. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1938 to 1940

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1938 and 1940:

CPI in 1938 CPI in 1940
×
1940 USD value
=
1938 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 14 in the year 1940 and 14.1 in 1938:

14.114
×
$1
=
$1.01

$1 in 1940 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.01 in 1938.

To get the total inflation rate for the 2 years between 1938 and 1940, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1938 - CPI in 1940CPI in 1940
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (2 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

14.1 - 1414
×
100
=
1%

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 1940 → 1938 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 28 May. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1940-dollars-in-1938?amount=1.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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.

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» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1940 to 1938
Cumulative price change 0.71%
Average inflation rate -0.36%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.01
Price difference ($1 base) $0.01
CPI in 1940 14.000
CPI in 1938 14.100
Inflation in 1938 -2.08%
Inflation in 1940 0.72%