$1 in 1890 is worth $0.92 in 1896

Value of $1 from 1890 to 1896

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1896 are 7.69% lower than average prices since 1890. The U.S. dollar experienced an average deflation rate of -1.33% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to increase.

In other words, $1 in 1890 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $0.92 in 1896, a difference of $-0.08 over 6 years.

The 1890 inflation rate was -1.09%. The inflation rate in 1896 was 0.00%. The 1896 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.81% per year between 1896 and 2020.


Inflation from 1890 to 1896
Cumulative price change -7.69%
Average inflation rate -1.33%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.92
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.08
CPI in 1890 9.100
CPI in 1896 8.400
Inflation in 1890 -1.09%
Inflation in 1896 0.00%

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

Buying power of $1 in 1890

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1890 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $0.92 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

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: 1890-1896
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1890 $1.00 -1.09%
1891 $1.00 0.00%
1892 $1.00 0.00%
1893 $0.99 -1.10%
1894 $0.95 -4.44%
1895 $0.92 -2.33%
1896 $0.92 0.00%
1897 $0.91 -1.19%
1898 $0.91 0.00%
1899 $0.91 0.00%
1900 $0.92 1.20%
1901 $0.93 1.19%
1902 $0.95 1.18%
1903 $0.97 2.33%
1904 $0.98 1.14%
1905 $0.97 -1.12%
1906 $0.99 2.27%
1907 $1.03 4.44%
1908 $1.01 -2.13%
1909 $1.00 -1.09%
1910 $1.04 4.40%
1911 $1.04 0.00%
1912 $1.07 2.11%
1913 $1.09 2.06%
1914 $1.10 1.01%
1915 $1.11 1.00%
1916 $1.20 7.92%
1917 $1.41 17.43%
1918 $1.66 17.97%
1919 $1.90 14.57%
1920 $2.20 15.61%
1921 $1.97 -10.50%
1922 $1.85 -6.15%
1923 $1.88 1.79%
1924 $1.88 0.00%
1925 $1.92 2.34%
1926 $1.95 1.14%
1927 $1.91 -1.69%
1928 $1.88 -1.72%
1929 $1.88 0.00%
1930 $1.84 -2.34%
1931 $1.67 -8.98%
1932 $1.51 -9.87%
1933 $1.43 -5.11%
1934 $1.47 3.08%
1935 $1.51 2.24%
1936 $1.53 1.46%
1937 $1.58 3.60%
1938 $1.55 -2.08%
1939 $1.53 -1.42%
1940 $1.54 0.72%
1941 $1.62 5.00%
1942 $1.79 10.88%
1943 $1.90 6.13%
1944 $1.93 1.73%
1945 $1.98 2.27%
1946 $2.14 8.33%
1947 $2.45 14.36%
1948 $2.65 8.07%
1949 $2.62 -1.24%
1950 $2.65 1.26%
1951 $2.86 7.88%
1952 $2.91 1.92%
1953 $2.93 0.75%
1954 $2.96 0.75%
1955 $2.95 -0.37%
1956 $2.99 1.49%
1957 $3.09 3.31%
1958 $3.18 2.85%
1959 $3.20 0.69%
1960 $3.25 1.72%
1961 $3.29 1.01%
1962 $3.32 1.00%
1963 $3.36 1.32%
1964 $3.41 1.31%
1965 $3.46 1.61%
1966 $3.56 2.86%
1967 $3.67 3.09%
1968 $3.82 4.19%
1969 $4.03 5.46%
1970 $4.26 5.72%
1971 $4.45 4.38%
1972 $4.59 3.21%
1973 $4.88 6.22%
1974 $5.42 11.04%
1975 $5.91 9.13%
1976 $6.25 5.76%
1977 $6.66 6.50%
1978 $7.16 7.59%
1979 $7.98 11.35%
1980 $9.05 13.50%
1981 $9.99 10.32%
1982 $10.60 6.16%
1983 $10.95 3.21%
1984 $11.42 4.32%
1985 $11.82 3.56%
1986 $12.04 1.86%
1987 $12.48 3.65%
1988 $13.00 4.14%
1989 $13.63 4.82%
1990 $14.36 5.40%
1991 $14.97 4.21%
1992 $15.42 3.01%
1993 $15.88 2.99%
1994 $16.29 2.56%
1995 $16.75 2.83%
1996 $17.24 2.95%
1997 $17.64 2.29%
1998 $17.91 1.56%
1999 $18.31 2.21%
2000 $18.92 3.36%
2001 $19.46 2.85%
2002 $19.77 1.58%
2003 $20.22 2.28%
2004 $20.76 2.66%
2005 $21.46 3.39%
2006 $22.15 3.23%
2007 $22.78 2.85%
2008 $23.66 3.84%
2009 $23.58 -0.36%
2010 $23.96 1.64%
2011 $24.72 3.16%
2012 $25.23 2.07%
2013 $25.60 1.46%
2014 $26.01 1.62%
2015 $26.05 0.12%
2016 $26.37 1.26%
2017 $26.94 2.13%
2018 $27.61 2.49%
2019 $28.09 1.76%
2020 $28.60 1.81%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

This conversion table shows various other 1890 amounts in 1896 dollars, based on the -7.69% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar in 1896
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1890 $0.92 dollars in 1896
$5 dollars in 1890 $4.62 dollars in 1896
$10 dollars in 1890 $9.23 dollars in 1896
$50 dollars in 1890 $46.15 dollars in 1896
$100 dollars in 1890 $92.31 dollars in 1896
$500 dollars in 1890 $461.54 dollars in 1896
$1,000 dollars in 1890 $923.08 dollars in 1896
$5,000 dollars in 1890 $4,615.38 dollars in 1896
$10,000 dollars in 1890 $9,230.77 dollars in 1896
$50,000 dollars in 1890 $46,153.85 dollars in 1896
$100,000 dollars in 1890 $92,307.69 dollars in 1896
$500,000 dollars in 1890 $461,538.46 dollars in 1896
$1,000,000 dollars in 1890 $923,076.92 dollars in 1896

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1890 would be equivalent to £0.97 in 1896, an absolute change of £-0.03 and a cumulative change of -3.41%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $-0.08 and total percent change of -7.69%.


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 1890 and 1896.

Compare these values to the overall average of -1.33% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1890 → 1896
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

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 1890. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1890 to 1896

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1890 and 1896:

CPI in 1896 CPI in 1890
×
1890 USD value
=
1896 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.1 in the year 1890 and 8.4 in 1896:

8.49.1
×
$1
=
$0.92

$1 in 1890 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $0.92 in 1896.

To get the total inflation rate for the 6 years between 1890 and 1896, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1896 - CPI in 1890CPI in 1890
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (6 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

8.4 - 9.19.1
×
100
=
-8%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of -1.33% has a compounding effect between 1890 and 1896. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of -7.69% over 6 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1890, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.08 in 1896. This is a return on investment of 7.98%, with an absolute return of $0.08 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 -8.33% of returns ($-0.09) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.17. 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, 1890-1896
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.08 7.98%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $1.17 16.98%

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 1890 to latest available data for 1896 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1890 and 1896, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1890

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

  • Alice Sanger becomes the White House’s first female employee.
  • The Forth Bridge (Scotland), becomes the longest bridge in Great Britain: it is officially opened by the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII).
  • Wilhelm II, the German emperor, removes Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck.
  • First electric chair execution is performed on murderer William Kemmler at Auburn Prison in New York.

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: “$1 in 1890 → 1896 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 30 Oct. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1890?amount=1&endYear=1896.

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 1890 to 1896
Cumulative price change -7.69%
Average inflation rate -1.33%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.92
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.08
CPI in 1890 9.100
CPI in 1896 8.400
Inflation in 1890 -1.09%
Inflation in 1896 0.00%