$1 in 1968 → $7.04 in 2017

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$1 in 1968 → $7.04 in 2017

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $1 in 1968 to 2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2017 are 604.37% higher than average prices throughout 1968. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 4.06% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $1 in 1968 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $7.04 in 2017, a difference of $6.04 over 49 years.

The 1968 inflation rate was 4.19%. The inflation rate in 2017 was 2.13%. The 2017 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.44% per year between 2017 and 2019.


Inflation from 1968 to 2017
Cumulative price change 604.37%
Average inflation rate 4.06%
Converted amount ($1 base) $7.04
Price difference ($1 base) $6.04
CPI in 1968 34.800
CPI in 2017 245.120
Inflation in 1968 4.19%
Inflation in 2017 2.13%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
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Buying power of $1 in 1968

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $1 in 1968 (price index tracking began in 1635).

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
1968 $1.00 4.19%
1969 $1.05 5.46%
1970 $1.11 5.72%
1971 $1.16 4.38%
1972 $1.20 3.21%
1973 $1.28 6.22%
1974 $1.42 11.04%
1975 $1.55 9.13%
1976 $1.64 5.76%
1977 $1.74 6.50%
1978 $1.87 7.59%
1979 $2.09 11.35%
1980 $2.37 13.50%
1981 $2.61 10.32%
1982 $2.77 6.16%
1983 $2.86 3.21%
1984 $2.99 4.32%
1985 $3.09 3.56%
1986 $3.15 1.86%
1987 $3.26 3.65%
1988 $3.40 4.14%
1989 $3.56 4.82%
1990 $3.76 5.40%
1991 $3.91 4.21%
1992 $4.03 3.01%
1993 $4.15 2.99%
1994 $4.26 2.56%
1995 $4.38 2.83%
1996 $4.51 2.95%
1997 $4.61 2.29%
1998 $4.68 1.56%
1999 $4.79 2.21%
2000 $4.95 3.36%
2001 $5.09 2.85%
2002 $5.17 1.58%
2003 $5.29 2.28%
2004 $5.43 2.66%
2005 $5.61 3.39%
2006 $5.79 3.23%
2007 $5.96 2.85%
2008 $6.19 3.84%
2009 $6.16 -0.36%
2010 $6.27 1.64%
2011 $6.46 3.16%
2012 $6.60 2.07%
2013 $6.69 1.46%
2014 $6.80 1.62%
2015 $6.81 0.12%
2016 $6.90 1.26%
2017 $7.04 2.13%
2018 $7.22 2.44%
2019 $7.39 2.43%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 43 more rows

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1968 to 2017 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 49 years between 1968 and 2017 (4.37%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 49 years between 1968 and 2017 (3.88%).

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 1968 would be equivalent to £16.49 in 2017, an absolute change of £15.49 and a cumulative change of 1,548.62%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1968 would be equivalent to CA$6.79 in 2017, an absolute change of CA$5.79 and a cumulative change of 579.17%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $6.04 and total percent change of 604.37%.


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 1968 and 2017.

Compare these values to the overall average of 4.06% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1968 → 2017
Food and beverages 4.02 589.53 6.90
Housing 4.29 684.48 7.84
Apparel 1.75 133.75 2.34
Transportation 3.68 487.00 5.87
Medical care 5.81 1,491.51 15.92
Recreation 1.11 72.07 1.72
Education and communication 1.97 159.49 2.59
Other goods and services 5.15 1,072.57 11.73

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 1968. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1968 to 2017

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2017CPI in 1968
×
1968 USD value
=
2017 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 34.8 in the year 1968 and 245.12 in 2017:

245.1234.8
×
$1
=
$7.04

$1 in 1968 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $7.04 in 2017.

To get the total inflation rate for the 49 years between 1968 and 2017, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2017 - CPI in 1968CPI in 1968
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (49 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

245.12 - 34.834.8
×
100
=
604%

Alternate Measurements of Inflation

The above data describe the CPI for all items. Also of note is the Core CPI, which measures inflation for all items except for the more volatile categories of food and energy. Core inflation averaged 4.03% per year between 1968 and 2017 (vs all-CPI inflation of 4.06%), for an inflation total of 594.39%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 1968 is equivalent in buying power to $6.94 in 2017, a difference of $5.94. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $7.04 with a difference of $6.04.

In 1968, core inflation was 4.63%.


Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 4.06% has a compounding effect between 1968 and 2017. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 604.37% over 49 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1968, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $125.97 in 2017. This is a return on investment of 12,496.96%, with an absolute return of $124.97 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 85.80% of returns ($108.09) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $16.88. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $14 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1968-2017
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $125.97 12,496.96%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $17.88 1,688.41%

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 1968 to latest available data for 2017.


News headlines from 1968

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

  • The Battle of Khe Sanh begins it is one of the most controversial battles of the Vietnam War.
  • A photograph that later became an anti-war icon, is taken: it captures Saigon police chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém with a pistol shot to the head.
  • Martin Luther King Jr is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • France becomes the world's 5th thermonuclear power after the Mururoa Atoll detonation.

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 1968 → 2017 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 13 Dec. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1968-dollars-in-2017?amount=1.

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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Inflation from 1968 to 2017
Cumulative price change 604.37%
Average inflation rate 4.06%
Converted amount ($1 base) $7.04
Price difference ($1 base) $6.04
CPI in 1968 34.800
CPI in 2017 245.120
Inflation in 1968 4.19%
Inflation in 2017 2.13%
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