\$

U.S. inflation rate in 1838: -3.12%

Inflation in 1838 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power increased by 3.12% in 1838 compared to 1837. On average, you would have to spend 3.12% less money in 1838 than in 1837 for the same item. This is an example of deflation.

In other words, \$1 in 1837 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$0.97 in 1838.

The 1837 inflation rate was 3.23%. The inflation rate in 1838 was -3.12%. The 1838 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 1.84% per year between 1838 and 2020.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1838 was 9.30. It was 9.60 in the previous year, 1837. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation. Because the 1838 CPI is less than 1837 CPI, negative inflation (also known as deflation) has occurred.

 Average inflation rate -3.12% Converted amount (\$1 base) \$0.97 Price difference (\$1 base) \$-0.03 CPI in 1837 9.600 CPI in 1838 9.300 Inflation in 1837 3.23% Inflation in 1838 -3.12%

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 1837 would be equivalent to £1.01 in 1838, an absolute change of £0.01 and a cumulative change of 0.99%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$-0.03 and total percent change of -3.12%.

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 1837 and 1838.

Compare these values to the overall average of -3.12% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$1 in 1837 → 1838
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 1837. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$1, 1837 to 1838

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1838CPI in 1837
×
1837 USD value
=
1838 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.6 in the year 1837 and 9.3 in 1838:

9.39.6
×
\$1
=
\$0.97

\$1 in 1837 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$0.97 in 1838.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1837 and 1838, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1838 - CPI in 1837CPI in 1837
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

9.3 - 9.69.6
×
100
=
-3%

News headlines from 1837

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

• Black citizens of Canada gain the right to vote.
• Thomas Davenport patents the first electric printing press in the United States.

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 1838 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 28 Jan. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1838.

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.

 Average inflation rate -3.12% Converted amount (\$1 base) \$0.97 Price difference (\$1 base) \$-0.03 CPI in 1837 9.600 CPI in 1838 9.300 Inflation in 1837 3.23% Inflation in 1838 -3.12%