$100 in 1903 is worth $2,929.51 today

Value of $100 from 1903 to 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 2,829.51% higher than average prices since 1903. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.93% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, $100 in 1903 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2,929.51 in 2020, a difference of $2,829.51 over 117 years.

The 1903 inflation rate was 2.33%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 0.65%1. If this number holds, $100 today will be equivalent in buying power to $100.65 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1903 to 2020
Cumulative price change 2,829.51%
Average inflation rate 2.93%
Converted amount ($100 base) $2,929.51
Price difference ($100 base) $2,829.51
CPI in 1903 8.800
CPI in 2020 257.797
Inflation in 1903 2.33%
Inflation in 2020 0.65%

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

Buying power of $100 in 1903

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $100 in 1903 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $100, you would need to end with $2,929.51 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $100 is equivalent to $2,929.51 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 1903 dollars, the chart below shows how $100 is worth less over 117 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: 1903-2020
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
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 $2,929.51 0.84%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 111 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1903 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 2,829.51% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar today
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1903 $29.30 dollars today
$5 dollars in 1903 $146.48 dollars today
$10 dollars in 1903 $292.95 dollars today
$50 dollars in 1903 $1,464.76 dollars today
$100 dollars in 1903 $2,929.51 dollars today
$500 dollars in 1903 $14,647.56 dollars today
$1,000 dollars in 1903 $29,295.11 dollars today
$5,000 dollars in 1903 $146,475.57 dollars today
$10,000 dollars in 1903 $292,951.14 dollars today
$50,000 dollars in 1903 $1,464,755.68 dollars today
$100,000 dollars in 1903 $2,929,511.36 dollars today
$500,000 dollars in 1903 $14,647,556.82 dollars today
$1,000,000 dollars in 1903 $29,295,113.64 dollars today

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £100.00 in 1903 would be equivalent to £12,239.18 in 2020, an absolute change of £12,139.18 and a cumulative change of 12,139.18%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $2,829.51 and total percent change of 2,829.51%.


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 1903 and 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.93% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $100 in 1903 → 2020
Food and beverages 3.89 8,591.50 8,691.50
Housing 4.18 12,010.47 12,110.47
Apparel 1.96 874.01 974.01
Transportation 3.16 3,715.42 3,815.42
Medical care 5.11 34,060.43 34,160.43
Recreation 1.10 259.09 359.09
Education and communication 1.82 729.32 829.32
Other goods and services 4.98 29,362.70 29,462.70

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 1903. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $100 since 1903

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1903 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1903
×
1903 USD value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.8 in the year 1903 and 257.797 in 2020:

257.7978.8
×
$100
=
$2,929.51

$100 in 1903 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $2,929.51 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 117 years between 1903 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1903CPI in 1903
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (117 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

257.797 - 8.88.8
×
100
=
2,830%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.93% has a compounding effect between 1903 and 2020. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,829.51% over 117 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $100 in the S&P 500 index in 1903, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $4,607,221.47 in 2020. This is a return on investment of 4,607,121.47%, with an absolute return of $4,607,121.47 on top of the original $100.

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 96.59% of returns ($4,449,952.19) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $100 investment is $157,169.28. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $133,594 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1903-2020
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $100 $4,607,221.47 4,607,121.47%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$100 $157,269.28 157,169.28%

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 1903 to latest available data for 2020 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1903 and 2020, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1903

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

  • The British gain control over 500,000 square miles of Nigerian land after the fall of the Sokoto Caliphate.
  • The typhoid vaccine is discovered by Doctor Harry Plotz.
  • The Pulitzer Prizes are established after Joe Pulitzer's $1 million donation to Columbia University.

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: “$100 in 1903 → 2020 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 2 Aug. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1903?amount=100.

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 1903 to 2020
Cumulative price change 2,829.51%
Average inflation rate 2.93%
Converted amount ($100 base) $2,929.51
Price difference ($100 base) $2,829.51
CPI in 1903 8.800
CPI in 2020 257.797
Inflation in 1903 2.33%
Inflation in 2020 0.65%