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## Why a dollar today is worth only 5% of a dollar in 1915

Updated: May 12, 2020

According to Statistics Canada consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 2,065.08% higher than average prices since 1915. This means that a dollar today only buys 4.62% of what it could buy in 1915. The Canadian dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.97% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, \$100 in 1915 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$2,165.08 in 2020, a difference of \$2,065.08 over 105 years.

The 1915 inflation rate was 3.28%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 2.25%1. If this number holds, \$100 today will be equivalent in buying power to \$102.25 next year.

 Cumulative price change 2,065.08% Average inflation rate 2.97% Converted amount (\$100 base) \$2,165.08 Price difference (\$100 base) \$2,065.08 CPI in 1915 6.300 CPI in 2020 136.400 Inflation in 1915 3.28% Inflation in 2020 2.25%

## Buying power of \$100 in 1915

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$100 in 1915 (price index tracking began in 1914).

For example, if you started with \$100, you would need to end with \$2,165.08 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$100 is equivalent to \$2,165.08 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single Canadian 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 1915 dollars, the chart below shows how \$100 is worth less over 105 years.

According to Statistics Canada, each of these CAD amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Dollar inflation: 1915-2020
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1915 \$100.00 3.28%
1916 \$114.29 14.29%
1917 \$131.75 15.28%
1918 \$149.21 13.25%
1919 \$161.90 8.51%
1920 \$177.78 9.80%
1921 \$149.21 -16.07%
1922 \$146.03 -2.13%
1923 \$146.03 0.00%
1924 \$144.44 -1.09%
1925 \$147.62 2.20%
1926 \$146.03 -1.08%
1927 \$144.44 -1.09%
1928 \$146.03 1.10%
1929 \$149.21 2.17%
1930 \$139.68 -6.38%
1931 \$125.40 -10.23%
1932 \$115.87 -7.59%
1933 \$112.70 -2.74%
1934 \$114.29 1.41%
1935 \$117.46 2.78%
1936 \$119.05 1.35%
1937 \$123.81 4.00%
1938 \$120.63 -2.56%
1939 \$123.81 2.63%
1940 \$130.16 5.13%
1941 \$138.10 6.10%
1942 \$142.86 3.45%
1943 \$146.03 2.22%
1944 \$142.86 -2.17%
1945 \$146.03 2.22%
1946 \$153.97 5.43%
1947 \$176.19 14.43%
1948 \$192.06 9.01%
1949 \$193.65 0.83%
1950 \$204.76 5.74%
1951 \$226.98 10.85%
1952 \$223.81 -1.40%
1953 \$223.81 0.00%
1954 \$223.81 0.00%
1955 \$225.40 0.71%
1956 \$231.75 2.82%
1957 \$236.51 2.05%
1958 \$242.86 2.68%
1959 \$246.03 1.31%
1960 \$249.21 1.29%
1961 \$249.21 0.00%
1962 \$253.97 1.91%
1963 \$258.73 1.88%
1964 \$263.49 1.84%
1965 \$271.43 3.01%
1966 \$280.95 3.51%
1967 \$292.06 3.95%
1968 \$304.76 4.35%
1969 \$319.05 4.69%
1970 \$322.22 1.00%
1971 \$338.10 4.93%
1972 \$355.56 5.16%
1973 \$388.89 9.38%
1974 \$438.10 12.65%
1975 \$479.37 9.42%
1976 \$506.35 5.63%
1977 \$553.97 9.40%
1978 \$601.59 8.60%
1979 \$660.32 9.76%
1980 \$733.33 11.06%
1981 \$822.22 12.12%
1982 \$898.41 9.27%
1983 \$939.68 4.59%
1984 \$974.60 3.72%
1985 \$1,017.46 4.40%
1986 \$1,060.32 4.21%
1987 \$1,104.76 4.19%
1988 \$1,147.62 3.88%
1989 \$1,207.94 5.26%
1990 \$1,268.25 4.99%
1991 \$1,315.87 3.75%
1992 \$1,344.44 2.17%
1993 \$1,366.67 1.65%
1994 \$1,369.84 0.23%
1995 \$1,393.65 1.74%
1996 \$1,423.81 2.16%
1997 \$1,434.92 0.78%
1998 \$1,449.21 1.00%
1999 \$1,487.30 2.63%
2000 \$1,534.92 3.20%
2001 \$1,546.03 0.72%
2002 \$1,604.76 3.80%
2003 \$1,638.10 2.08%
2004 \$1,673.02 2.13%
2005 \$1,707.94 2.09%
2006 \$1,736.51 1.67%
2007 \$1,777.78 2.38%
2008 \$1,798.41 1.16%
2009 \$1,822.22 1.32%
2010 \$1,865.08 2.35%
2011 \$1,907.94 2.30%
2012 \$1,923.81 0.83%
2013 \$1,947.62 1.24%
2014 \$1,976.19 1.47%
2015 \$2,007.94 1.61%
2016 \$2,038.10 1.50%
2017 \$2,069.84 1.56%
2018 \$2,076.19 0.31%
2019 \$2,117.46 1.99%
2020 \$2,165.08 2.25%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 99 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1915 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 2,065.08% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar today
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1915 \$21.65 dollars today
\$5 dollars in 1915 \$108.25 dollars today
\$10 dollars in 1915 \$216.51 dollars today
\$50 dollars in 1915 \$1,082.54 dollars today
\$100 dollars in 1915 \$2,165.08 dollars today
\$500 dollars in 1915 \$10,825.40 dollars today
\$1,000 dollars in 1915 \$21,650.79 dollars today
\$5,000 dollars in 1915 \$108,253.97 dollars today
\$10,000 dollars in 1915 \$216,507.94 dollars today
\$50,000 dollars in 1915 \$1,082,539.68 dollars today
\$100,000 dollars in 1915 \$2,165,079.37 dollars today
\$500,000 dollars in 1915 \$10,825,396.83 dollars today
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1915 \$21,650,793.65 dollars today

## How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$100 since 1915

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1915 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1915
×
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The Canadian CPI was 6.3 in the year 1915 and 136.4 in 2020:

136.46.3
×
\$100
=
\$2,165.08

\$100 in 1915 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$2,165.08 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 105 years between 1915 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1915CPI in 1915
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (105 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

136.4 - 6.36.3
×
100
=
2,065%

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

• French troops force Germans back into the Champagne region, suffering losses of 50,000 men and gaining several hundred yards.
• Germany uses poison gas for the first time in World War I.
• Almost 430,000 French, British, and Germans are killed in the Battle of Loos.
• The one-millionth Model T is produced by Ford Motor Company.

## Data Source & Citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the government of Canada's annual Consumer Price Index (CPI), established in 1914 and computed by Statistics Canada (StatCan).