# \$100 in 1861 is worth \$2,957.73 today

\$

## Why a dollar today is worth only 3% of a dollar in 1861

Updated: October 13, 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 2,857.73% higher than average prices since 1861. This means that a dollar today only buys 3.38% of what it could buy in 1861. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.15% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, \$100 in 1861 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$2,957.73 in 2020, a difference of \$2,857.73 over 159 years.

The 1861 inflation rate was 6.02%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 1.37%1. If this number holds, \$100 today will be equivalent in buying power to \$101.37 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.

 Cumulative price change 2,857.73% Average inflation rate 2.15% Converted amount (\$100 base) \$2,957.73 Price difference (\$100 base) \$2,857.73 CPI in 1861 8.800 CPI in 2020 260.280 Inflation in 1861 6.02% Inflation in 2020 1.37%

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

## Buying power of \$100 in 1861

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$100 in 1861 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$100, you would need to end with \$2,957.73 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$100 is equivalent to \$2,957.73 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single U.S. 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 1861 dollars, the chart below shows how \$100 is worth less over 159 years.

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

Dollar inflation: 1861-2020
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1861 \$100.00 6.02%
1862 \$114.77 14.77%
1863 \$143.18 24.75%
1864 \$178.41 24.60%
1865 \$185.23 3.82%
1866 \$180.68 -2.45%
1867 \$168.18 -6.92%
1868 \$161.36 -4.05%
1869 \$154.55 -4.23%
1870 \$148.86 -3.68%
1871 \$138.64 -6.87%
1872 \$138.64 0.00%
1873 \$136.36 -1.64%
1874 \$129.55 -5.00%
1875 \$125.00 -3.51%
1876 \$121.59 -2.73%
1877 \$119.32 -1.87%
1878 \$113.64 -4.76%
1879 \$113.64 0.00%
1880 \$115.91 2.00%
1881 \$115.91 0.00%
1882 \$115.91 0.00%
1883 \$114.77 -0.98%
1884 \$111.36 -2.97%
1885 \$110.23 -1.02%
1886 \$106.82 -3.09%
1887 \$107.95 1.06%
1888 \$107.95 0.00%
1889 \$104.55 -3.16%
1890 \$103.41 -1.09%
1891 \$103.41 0.00%
1892 \$103.41 0.00%
1893 \$102.27 -1.10%
1894 \$97.73 -4.44%
1895 \$95.45 -2.33%
1896 \$95.45 0.00%
1897 \$94.32 -1.19%
1898 \$94.32 0.00%
1899 \$94.32 0.00%
1900 \$95.45 1.20%
1901 \$96.59 1.19%
1902 \$97.73 1.18%
1903 \$100.00 2.33%
1904 \$101.14 1.14%
1905 \$100.00 -1.12%
1906 \$102.27 2.27%
1907 \$106.82 4.44%
1908 \$104.55 -2.13%
1909 \$103.41 -1.09%
1910 \$107.95 4.40%
1911 \$107.95 0.00%
1912 \$110.23 2.11%
1913 \$112.50 2.06%
1914 \$113.64 1.01%
1915 \$114.77 1.00%
1916 \$123.86 7.92%
1917 \$145.45 17.43%
1918 \$171.59 17.97%
1919 \$196.59 14.57%
1920 \$227.27 15.61%
1921 \$203.41 -10.50%
1922 \$190.91 -6.15%
1923 \$194.32 1.79%
1924 \$194.32 0.00%
1925 \$198.86 2.34%
1926 \$201.14 1.14%
1927 \$197.73 -1.69%
1928 \$194.32 -1.72%
1929 \$194.32 0.00%
1930 \$189.77 -2.34%
1931 \$172.73 -8.98%
1932 \$155.68 -9.87%
1933 \$147.73 -5.11%
1934 \$152.27 3.08%
1935 \$155.68 2.24%
1936 \$157.95 1.46%
1937 \$163.64 3.60%
1938 \$160.23 -2.08%
1939 \$157.95 -1.42%
1940 \$159.09 0.72%
1941 \$167.05 5.00%
1942 \$185.23 10.88%
1943 \$196.59 6.13%
1944 \$200.00 1.73%
1945 \$204.55 2.27%
1946 \$221.59 8.33%
1947 \$253.41 14.36%
1948 \$273.86 8.07%
1949 \$270.45 -1.24%
1950 \$273.86 1.26%
1951 \$295.45 7.88%
1952 \$301.14 1.92%
1953 \$303.41 0.75%
1954 \$305.68 0.75%
1955 \$304.55 -0.37%
1956 \$309.09 1.49%
1957 \$319.32 3.31%
1958 \$328.41 2.85%
1959 \$330.68 0.69%
1960 \$336.36 1.72%
1961 \$339.77 1.01%
1962 \$343.18 1.00%
1963 \$347.73 1.32%
1964 \$352.27 1.31%
1965 \$357.95 1.61%
1966 \$368.18 2.86%
1967 \$379.55 3.09%
1968 \$395.45 4.19%
1969 \$417.05 5.46%
1970 \$440.91 5.72%
1971 \$460.23 4.38%
1972 \$475.00 3.21%
1973 \$504.55 6.22%
1974 \$560.23 11.04%
1975 \$611.36 9.13%
1976 \$646.59 5.76%
1977 \$688.64 6.50%
1978 \$740.91 7.59%
1979 \$825.00 11.35%
1980 \$936.36 13.50%
1981 \$1,032.95 10.32%
1982 \$1,096.59 6.16%
1983 \$1,131.82 3.21%
1984 \$1,180.68 4.32%
1985 \$1,222.73 3.56%
1986 \$1,245.45 1.86%
1987 \$1,290.91 3.65%
1988 \$1,344.32 4.14%
1989 \$1,409.09 4.82%
1990 \$1,485.23 5.40%
1991 \$1,547.73 4.21%
1992 \$1,594.32 3.01%
1993 \$1,642.05 2.99%
1994 \$1,684.09 2.56%
1995 \$1,731.82 2.83%
1996 \$1,782.95 2.95%
1997 \$1,823.86 2.29%
1998 \$1,852.27 1.56%
1999 \$1,893.18 2.21%
2000 \$1,956.82 3.36%
2001 \$2,012.50 2.85%
2002 \$2,044.32 1.58%
2003 \$2,090.91 2.28%
2004 \$2,146.59 2.66%
2005 \$2,219.32 3.39%
2006 \$2,290.91 3.23%
2007 \$2,356.16 2.85%
2008 \$2,446.63 3.84%
2009 \$2,437.92 -0.36%
2010 \$2,477.91 1.64%
2011 \$2,556.12 3.16%
2012 \$2,609.02 2.07%
2013 \$2,647.24 1.46%
2014 \$2,690.18 1.62%
2015 \$2,693.37 0.12%
2016 \$2,727.35 1.26%
2017 \$2,785.45 2.13%
2018 \$2,854.89 2.49%
2019 \$2,905.20 1.76%
2020 \$2,957.73 1.81%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 153 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1861 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 2,857.73% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar today
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1861 \$29.58 dollars today
\$5 dollars in 1861 \$147.89 dollars today
\$10 dollars in 1861 \$295.77 dollars today
\$50 dollars in 1861 \$1,478.86 dollars today
\$100 dollars in 1861 \$2,957.73 dollars today
\$500 dollars in 1861 \$14,788.64 dollars today
\$1,000 dollars in 1861 \$29,577.27 dollars today
\$5,000 dollars in 1861 \$147,886.36 dollars today
\$10,000 dollars in 1861 \$295,772.73 dollars today
\$50,000 dollars in 1861 \$1,478,863.64 dollars today
\$100,000 dollars in 1861 \$2,957,727.27 dollars today
\$500,000 dollars in 1861 \$14,788,636.36 dollars today
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1861 \$29,577,272.73 dollars today

## Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £100.00 in 1861 would be equivalent to £11,981.51 in 2020, an absolute change of £11,881.51 and a cumulative change of 11,881.51%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$2,857.73 and total percent change of 2,857.73%.

## 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 1861 and 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.15% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$100 in 1861 → 2020
Food and beverages 3.90 43,715.50 43,815.50
Housing 4.19 68,147.68 68,247.68
Apparel 1.96 2,079.30 2,179.30
Transportation 3.17 14,082.98 14,182.98
Medical care 5.12 280,260.12 280,360.12
Recreation 1.10 467.04 567.04
Education and communication 1.84 1,715.15 1,815.15
Other goods and services 4.98 228,080.20 228,180.20

The graph below compares inflation in categories of goods over time. Click on a category such as "Food" to toggle it on or off:

For all these visualizations, it's important to note that not all categories may have been tracked since 1861. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

## How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$100 since 1861

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1861 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1861
×
1861 USD value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.8 in the year 1861 and 260.28 in 2020:

260.288.8
×
\$100
=
\$2,957.73

\$100 in 1861 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$2,957.73 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 159 years between 1861 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1861CPI in 1861
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (159 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

260.28 - 8.88.8
×
100
=
2,858%

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

• The first King of Italy is crowned, named King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia.
• Serfdom is abolished by Russian Tsar Alexander II.
• Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States.
• Italy is unified under King Victor Emmanuel II.

## 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: “Value of 1861 dollars today | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 13 Oct. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1861.

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.