U.S. inflation rate in 1948: 8.07%

Inflation in 1948 and its effect on dollar value

Purchasing power decreased by 8.07% in 1948 compared to 1947. On average, you would have to spend 8.07% more money in 1948 than in 1947 for the same item.

In other words, $1 in 1947 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.08 in 1948.

The 1947 inflation rate was 14.36%. The inflation rate in 1948 was 8.07%. The 1948 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 3.36% per year between 1948 and 2020.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 1948 was 24.10. It was 22.30 in the previous year, 1947. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 1947 to 1948
Average inflation rate 8.07%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.08
Price difference ($1 base) $0.08
CPI in 1947 22.300
CPI in 1948 24.100
Inflation in 1947 14.36%
Inflation in 1948 8.07%

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

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1947 to 1948 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

Chicago, Illinois experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1947 and 1948 (8.71%).

New York experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 1947 and 1948 (6.80%).

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 £1.00 in 1947 would be equivalent to £1.08 in 1948, an absolute change of £0.08 and a cumulative change of 7.61%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1947 would be equivalent to CA$1.09 in 1948, an absolute change of CA$0.09 and a cumulative change of 9.01%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.08 and total percent change of 8.07%.

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 1947 and 1948.

Compare these values to the overall average of 8.07% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1947 → 1948
Food and beverages 0.00 0.00 1.00
Housing 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 6.64 6.64 1.07
Transportation 11.50 11.50 1.12
Medical care 6.28 6.28 1.06
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 1947. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1947 to 1948

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1947 and 1948:

CPI in 1948 CPI in 1947
1947 USD value
1948 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 22.3 in the year 1947 and 24.1 in 1948:


$1 in 1947 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.08 in 1948.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 1947 and 1948, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1948 - CPI in 1947CPI in 1947
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

24.1 - 22.322.3

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 1947, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.12 in 1948. This is a return on investment of 12.31%, with an absolute return of $0.12 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 7.47% of returns ($0.08) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.04. 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, 1947-1948
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.12 12.31%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $1.04 3.92%

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 1947 to latest available data for 1948 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1947 and 1948, see the stock market returns calculator.

News headlines from 1947

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

  • Civil disorder in Taiwan is put down resulting in the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.
  • The new Japanese constitution comes into effect.
  • The alleged Roswell UFO incident happens.

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 1948 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 17 Sep. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1948.

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.

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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» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1947 to 1948
Average inflation rate 8.07%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.08
Price difference ($1 base) $0.08
CPI in 1947 22.300
CPI in 1948 24.100
Inflation in 1947 14.36%
Inflation in 1948 8.07%