U.S. inflation rate in 1781: -18.98%

Inflation Calculator


Inflation in 1781 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power increased by 18.98% in 1781 compared to 1780. On average, you would have to spend 18.98% less money in 1781 than in 1780 for the same item. This is an example of deflation.

In other words, $1 in 1780 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $0.81 in 1781.

The 1780 inflation rate was 12.30%. The inflation rate in 1781 was -18.98%. The 1781 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 1.33% per year between 1781 and 2020.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1781 was 11.10. It was 13.70 in the previous year, 1780. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation. Because the 1781 CPI is less than 1780 CPI, negative inflation (also known as deflation) has occurred.

Inflation from 1780 to 1781
Average inflation rate -18.98%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.81
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.19
CPI in 1780 13.700
CPI in 1781 11.100
Inflation in 1780 12.30%
Inflation in 1781 -18.98%

USD Inflation since 1635
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1780 would be equivalent to £1.05 in 1781, an absolute change of £0.05 and a cumulative change of 4.76%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $-0.19 and total percent change of -18.98%.

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 1780 and 1781.

Compare these values to the overall average of -18.98% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1780 → 1781
Food and beverages 0.00 0.00 1.00
Housing 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 0.00 0.00 1.00
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

For all these visualizations, it's important to note that not all categories may have been tracked since 1780. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1780 to 1781

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1781CPI in 1780
1780 USD value
1781 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 13.7 in the year 1780 and 11.1 in 1781:


$1 in 1780 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $0.81 in 1781.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1780 and 1781, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1781 - CPI in 1780CPI in 1780
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

11.1 - 13.713.7

News headlines from 1780

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

  • The Danish national anthem, Kong Christian, is sung for the first time.
  • Pennsylvania abolishes slavery, for new born children.
  • British Gazette and Sunday Monitor become the first British Sunday newspaper
  • 1781 William Hershel, discovers Uranus, he originally thought it was a comet.
  • Forty-four Spanish speaking mestizos found the city of Los Angeles in the Bay of Smokes (Bahia de las Fumas)
  • General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown,,ending the United States Revolutionary War.

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: “Inflation Rate in 1781 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 8 Apr. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1781.

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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Inflation from 1780 to 1781
Average inflation rate -18.98%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.81
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.19
CPI in 1780 13.700
CPI in 1781 11.100
Inflation in 1780 12.30%
Inflation in 1781 -18.98%