# U.S. inflation rate in 1900: 1.20%

\$
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## Inflation in 1900 and its effect on dollar value

\$1 in 1899 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$1.01 in 1900. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.20% per year between 1899 and 1900, producing a cumulative price increase of 1.20%. Purchasing power decreased by 1.20% in 1900 compared to 1899. On average, you would have to spend 1.20% more money in 1900 than in 1899 for the same item.

This means that prices in 1900 are 1.01 times as high as average prices since 1899, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The inflation rate in 1899 was 0.00%. The inflation rate in 1900 was 1.20%. The 1900 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.96% per year between 1900 and 2024.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1900 was 8.40. It was 8.30 in the previous year, 1899. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

 Average inflation rate 1.20% Converted amount\$1 base \$1.01 Price difference\$1 base \$0.01 CPI in 1899 8.300 CPI in 1900 8.400 Inflation in 1899 0.00% Inflation in 1900 1.20% \$1 in 1899 \$1.01 in 1900

Recent USD inflation
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 1899 would be equivalent to £1.05 in 1900, an absolute change of £0.05 and a cumulative change of 4.55%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$0.01 and total percent change of 1.20%.

## 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 1899 and 1900.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.20% per year:

CategoryAvg Inflation (%)Total Inflation (%)\$1 in 1899 → 1900
Food and beverages0.000.001.00
Housing0.000.001.00
Apparel0.000.001.00
Transportation0.000.001.00
Medical care0.000.001.00
Recreation0.000.001.00
Education and communication0.000.001.00
Other goods and services0.000.001.00

For all these visualizations, it's important to note that not all categories may have been tracked since 1899. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

## How to calculate inflation rate for \$1, 1899 to 1900

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1899 and 1900:

CPI in 1900 CPI in 1899
×
1899 USD value
=
1900 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.3 in the year 1899 and 8.4 in 1900:

8.48.3
×
\$1
=
\$1.01

\$1 in 1899 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$1.01 in 1900.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1899 and 1900, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1900 - CPI in 1899CPI in 1899
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

8.4 - 8.38.3
×
100
=
1%

## Comparison to S&P 500 Index

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$1 in the S&P 500 index in 1899, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$1.25 in 1900. This is a return on investment of 25.23%, with an absolute return of \$0.25 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 1.19% of returns (\$0.01) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$1 investment is \$0.24. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around \$0 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1899-1900
Original AmountFinal AmountChange
Nominal\$1\$1.2525.23%
Real
\$1\$1.2423.74%

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 1899 to latest available data for 1900 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1899 and 1900, see the stock market returns calculator.

## Data source & citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (CPI), established in 1913. Price index data from 1774 to 1912 is sourced from a historical study conducted by political science professor Robert Sahr at Oregon State University and from the American Antiquarian Society. Price index data from 1634 to 1773 is from the American Antiquarian Society, using British pound equivalents.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “Inflation Rate in 1900 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 19 Jul. 2024, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1900.

Special thanks to QuickChart for their chart image API, which is used for chart downloads.

in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.