# \$3,000,000 in 1973 is worth \$16,975,000 in 2018

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## Value of \$3,000,000 from 1973 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 465.83% higher than average prices since 1973. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.93% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, \$3,000,000 in 1973 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$16,975,000 in 2018, a difference of \$13,975,000.00 over 45 years.

The 1973 inflation rate was 6.22%. The inflation rate in 2018 was 2.49%. The 2018 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 1.02% per year between 2018 and 2020.

 Cumulative price change 465.83% Average inflation rate 3.93% Converted amount (\$3,000,000 base) \$16,975,000 Price difference (\$3,000,000 base) \$13,975,000.00 CPI in 1973 44.400 CPI in 2018 251.230 Inflation in 1973 6.22% Inflation in 2018 2.49%

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

## Buying power of \$3,000,000 in 1973

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$3,000,000 in 1973 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$3,000,000, you would need to end with \$16,975,000 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$3,000,000 is equivalent to \$16,975,000 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 1973 dollars, the chart below shows how \$3,000,000 is worth less over 45 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:

Dollar inflation: 1973-2018
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1973 \$3,000,000.00 6.22%
1974 \$3,331,081.08 11.04%
1975 \$3,635,135.14 9.13%
1976 \$3,844,594.59 5.76%
1977 \$4,094,594.59 6.50%
1978 \$4,405,405.41 7.59%
1979 \$4,905,405.41 11.35%
1980 \$5,567,567.57 13.50%
1981 \$6,141,891.89 10.32%
1982 \$6,520,270.27 6.16%
1983 \$6,729,729.73 3.21%
1984 \$7,020,270.27 4.32%
1985 \$7,270,270.27 3.56%
1986 \$7,405,405.41 1.86%
1987 \$7,675,675.68 3.65%
1988 \$7,993,243.24 4.14%
1989 \$8,378,378.38 4.82%
1990 \$8,831,081.08 5.40%
1991 \$9,202,702.70 4.21%
1992 \$9,479,729.73 3.01%
1993 \$9,763,513.51 2.99%
1994 \$10,013,513.51 2.56%
1995 \$10,297,297.30 2.83%
1996 \$10,601,351.35 2.95%
1997 \$10,844,594.59 2.29%
1998 \$11,013,513.51 1.56%
1999 \$11,256,756.76 2.21%
2000 \$11,635,135.14 3.36%
2001 \$11,966,216.22 2.85%
2002 \$12,155,405.41 1.58%
2003 \$12,432,432.43 2.28%
2004 \$12,763,513.51 2.66%
2005 \$13,195,945.95 3.39%
2006 \$13,621,621.62 3.23%
2007 \$14,009,594.59 2.85%
2008 \$14,547,500.00 3.84%
2009 \$14,495,743.24 -0.36%
2010 \$14,733,513.51 1.64%
2011 \$15,198,581.08 3.16%
2012 \$15,513,108.11 2.07%
2013 \$15,740,337.84 1.46%
2014 \$15,995,675.68 1.62%
2015 \$16,014,662.16 0.12%
2016 \$16,216,689.19 1.26%
2017 \$16,562,162.16 2.13%
2018 \$16,975,000.00 2.49%
2019 \$17,274,155.41 1.76%
2020 \$17,323,581.08 0.29%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 39 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1973 amounts in 2018 dollars, based on the 465.83% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar in 2018
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1973 \$5.66 dollars in 2018
\$5 dollars in 1973 \$28.29 dollars in 2018
\$10 dollars in 1973 \$56.58 dollars in 2018
\$50 dollars in 1973 \$282.92 dollars in 2018
\$100 dollars in 1973 \$565.83 dollars in 2018
\$500 dollars in 1973 \$2,829.17 dollars in 2018
\$1,000 dollars in 1973 \$5,658.33 dollars in 2018
\$5,000 dollars in 1973 \$28,291.67 dollars in 2018
\$10,000 dollars in 1973 \$56,583.33 dollars in 2018
\$50,000 dollars in 1973 \$282,916.67 dollars in 2018
\$100,000 dollars in 1973 \$565,833.33 dollars in 2018
\$500,000 dollars in 1973 \$2,829,166.67 dollars in 2018
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1973 \$5,658,333.33 dollars in 2018

## Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1973 to 2018 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of \$3,000,000):

• San Francisco, California: 4.32% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$20,107,094.75, cumulative change of 570.24%
• Seattle, Washington: 4.25% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$19,563,353.40, cumulative change of 552.11%
• Boston, Massachusetts: 4.06% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$17,969,402.17, cumulative change of 498.98%
• New York: 3.93% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$16,981,654.89, cumulative change of 466.06%
• Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas: 3.89% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$16,712,585.79, cumulative change of 457.09%
• Houston, Texas: 3.87% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$16,542,519.83, cumulative change of 451.42%
• Atlanta, Georgia: 3.83% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$16,245,931.47, cumulative change of 441.53%
• Chicago, Illinois: 3.81% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$16,130,867.11, cumulative change of 437.70%
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 3.80% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$16,096,060.77, cumulative change of 436.54%
• Detroit, Michigan: 3.70% average rate, \$3,000,000 → \$15,396,527.27, cumulative change of 413.22%

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 45 years between 1973 and 2018 (4.32%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 45 years between 1973 and 2018 (3.70%).

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 £3,000,000.00 in 1973 would be equivalent to £35,345,241.18 in 2018, an absolute change of £32,345,241.18 and a cumulative change of 1,078.17%.

In Canada, CA\$3,000,000.00 in 1973 would be equivalent to CA\$16,016,326.53 in 2018, an absolute change of CA\$13,016,326.53 and a cumulative change of 433.88%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$13,975,000.00 and total percent change of 465.83%.

## 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 1973 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 3.93% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$3,000,000 in 1973 → 2018
Food and beverages 3.73 419.16 15,574,948.77
Housing 4.17 527.76 18,832,865.82
Apparel 1.49 94.40 5,831,870.76
Transportation 3.69 411.51 15,345,308.18
Medical care 5.77 1,150.59 37,517,647.82
Recreation 1.09 62.80 4,883,892.69
Education and communication 1.89 132.66 6,979,657.44
Other goods and services 5.14 852.23 28,566,862.22

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 1973. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

## How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$3,000,000, 1973 to 2018

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1973 and 2018:

CPI in 2018 CPI in 1973
×
1973 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 44.4 in the year 1973 and 251.23 in 2018:

251.2344.4
×
\$3,000,000
=
\$16,975,000

\$3,000,000 in 1973 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$16,975,000 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 45 years between 1973 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1973CPI in 1973
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (45 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

251.23 - 44.444.4
×
100
=
466%

## 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 3.92% per year between 1973 and 2018 (vs all-CPI inflation of 3.93%), for an inflation total of 465.03%.

When using the core inflation measurement, \$3,000,000 in 1973 is equivalent in buying power to \$16,950,789.74 in 2018, a difference of \$13,950,789.74. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is \$16,975,000 with a difference of \$13,975,000.00.

In 1973, core inflation was 3.49%.

## Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 3.93% has a compounding effect between 1973 and 2018. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 465.83% over 45 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$3,000,000 in the S&P 500 index in 1973, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$246,228,610.73 in 2018. This is a return on investment of 8,107.62%, with an absolute return of \$243,228,610.73 on top of the original \$3,000,000.

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 82.33% of returns (\$202,712,508.68) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$3,000,000 investment is \$40,516,102.04. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around \$34,438,687 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1973-2018
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal \$3,000,000 \$246,228,610.73 8,107.62%
Real
\$3,000,000 \$43,516,102.04 1,350.54%

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 1973 to latest available data for 2018 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1973 and 2018, see the stock market returns calculator.

## News headlines from 1973

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

• President Richard Nixon announces the end of the Vietnam War.
• The longest war in American history finishes after William Rogers and Nguyen Duy Trinh of US and North Vietnam's army sign a cease-fire.
• The IRA attacks London for the first time following the arrests of 10 of its members.
• The Senate Watergate Committee begins its hearings.

## 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: “\$3,000,000 in 1973 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 27 May. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1973-dollars-in-2018?amount=3000000.

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.

 Cumulative price change 465.83% Average inflation rate 3.93% Converted amount (\$3,000,000 base) \$16,975,000 Price difference (\$3,000,000 base) \$13,975,000.00 CPI in 1973 44.400 CPI in 2018 251.230 Inflation in 1973 6.22% Inflation in 2018 2.49%