$100 in 1904 → $2,906.49 in 2020

Inflation Calculator

$

U.S. Inflation Rate, $100 from 1904 to 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 2,806.49% higher than average prices since 1904. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.95% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $100 in 1904 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2,906.49 in 2020, a difference of $2,806.49 over 116 years.

The 1904 inflation rate was 1.14%. The current inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 2.33%1. If this number holds, $100 today will be equivalent in buying power to $102.33 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1904 to 2020
Cumulative price change 2,806.49%
Average inflation rate 2.95%
Converted amount ($100 base) $2,906.49
Price difference ($100 base) $2,806.49
CPI in 1904 8.900
CPI in 2020 258.678
Inflation in 1904 1.14%
Inflation in 2020 2.33%

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

Buying power of $100 in 1904

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $100 in 1904 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $100, you would need to end with $2,906.49 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $100 is equivalent to $2,906.49 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 1904 dollars, the chart below shows how $100 buys less over the past 116 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:

Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1904 $100.00 1.14%
1905 $98.88 -1.12%
1906 $101.12 2.27%
1907 $105.62 4.44%
1908 $103.37 -2.13%
1909 $102.25 -1.09%
1910 $106.74 4.40%
1911 $106.74 0.00%
1912 $108.99 2.11%
1913 $111.24 2.06%
1914 $112.36 1.01%
1915 $113.48 1.00%
1916 $122.47 7.92%
1917 $143.82 17.43%
1918 $169.66 17.97%
1919 $194.38 14.57%
1920 $224.72 15.61%
1921 $201.12 -10.50%
1922 $188.76 -6.15%
1923 $192.13 1.79%
1924 $192.13 0.00%
1925 $196.63 2.34%
1926 $198.88 1.14%
1927 $195.51 -1.69%
1928 $192.13 -1.72%
1929 $192.13 0.00%
1930 $187.64 -2.34%
1931 $170.79 -8.98%
1932 $153.93 -9.87%
1933 $146.07 -5.11%
1934 $150.56 3.08%
1935 $153.93 2.24%
1936 $156.18 1.46%
1937 $161.80 3.60%
1938 $158.43 -2.08%
1939 $156.18 -1.42%
1940 $157.30 0.72%
1941 $165.17 5.00%
1942 $183.15 10.88%
1943 $194.38 6.13%
1944 $197.75 1.73%
1945 $202.25 2.27%
1946 $219.10 8.33%
1947 $250.56 14.36%
1948 $270.79 8.07%
1949 $267.42 -1.24%
1950 $270.79 1.26%
1951 $292.13 7.88%
1952 $297.75 1.92%
1953 $300.00 0.75%
1954 $302.25 0.75%
1955 $301.12 -0.37%
1956 $305.62 1.49%
1957 $315.73 3.31%
1958 $324.72 2.85%
1959 $326.97 0.69%
1960 $332.58 1.72%
1961 $335.96 1.01%
1962 $339.33 1.00%
1963 $343.82 1.32%
1964 $348.31 1.31%
1965 $353.93 1.61%
1966 $364.04 2.86%
1967 $375.28 3.09%
1968 $391.01 4.19%
1969 $412.36 5.46%
1970 $435.96 5.72%
1971 $455.06 4.38%
1972 $469.66 3.21%
1973 $498.88 6.22%
1974 $553.93 11.04%
1975 $604.49 9.13%
1976 $639.33 5.76%
1977 $680.90 6.50%
1978 $732.58 7.59%
1979 $815.73 11.35%
1980 $925.84 13.50%
1981 $1,021.35 10.32%
1982 $1,084.27 6.16%
1983 $1,119.10 3.21%
1984 $1,167.42 4.32%
1985 $1,208.99 3.56%
1986 $1,231.46 1.86%
1987 $1,276.40 3.65%
1988 $1,329.21 4.14%
1989 $1,393.26 4.82%
1990 $1,468.54 5.40%
1991 $1,530.34 4.21%
1992 $1,576.40 3.01%
1993 $1,623.60 2.99%
1994 $1,665.17 2.56%
1995 $1,712.36 2.83%
1996 $1,762.92 2.95%
1997 $1,803.37 2.29%
1998 $1,831.46 1.56%
1999 $1,871.91 2.21%
2000 $1,934.83 3.36%
2001 $1,989.89 2.85%
2002 $2,021.35 1.58%
2003 $2,067.42 2.28%
2004 $2,122.47 2.66%
2005 $2,194.38 3.39%
2006 $2,265.17 3.23%
2007 $2,329.69 2.85%
2008 $2,419.13 3.84%
2009 $2,410.53 -0.36%
2010 $2,450.07 1.64%
2011 $2,527.40 3.16%
2012 $2,579.71 2.07%
2013 $2,617.49 1.46%
2014 $2,659.96 1.62%
2015 $2,663.11 0.12%
2016 $2,696.71 1.26%
2017 $2,754.16 2.13%
2018 $2,822.81 2.49%
2019 $2,872.56 1.76%
2020 $2,906.49 1.18%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 110 more rows

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £100.00 in 1904 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 $2,806.49 and total percent change of 2,806.49%.


Inflation by Spending Category

CPI is the weighted combination of many categories of spending that are tracked by the government. This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1904 and 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.95% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $100 in 1904 → 2020
Food and beverages 3.86 8,014.65 8,114.65
Housing 4.18 11,490.63 11,590.63
Apparel 1.99 882.80 982.80
Transportation 3.21 3,799.60 3,899.60
Medical care 5.10 32,011.72 32,111.72
Recreation 1.10 254.38 354.38
Education and communication 1.82 707.63 807.63
Other goods and services 4.97 27,778.15 27,878.15

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 1904. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $100 since 1904

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2020CPI in 1904
×
1904 USD value
=
2020 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.9 in the year 1904 and 258.678 in 2020:

258.6788.9
×
$100
=
$2,906.49

$100 in 1904 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $2,906.49 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 116 years between 1904 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1904CPI in 1904
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (116 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

258.678 - 8.98.9
×
100
=
2,806%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.95% has a compounding effect between 1904 and 2020. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,806.49% over 116 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $100 in the S&P 500 index in 1904, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $5,736,965.05 in 2020. This is a return on investment of 5,736,865.05%, with an absolute return of $5,736,865.05 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 96.56% of returns ($5,539,580.70) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $100 investment is $197,284.35. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $167,692 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1904-2020
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $100 $5,736,965.05 5,736,865.05%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$100 $197,384.35 197,284.35%

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 1904 to latest available data for 2020 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1904 and 2020, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1904

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

  • Japanese troops land at Chemulpo in Korea in order to advance toward the border of Manchuria.
  • US gains control of the Panama Canal Zone for a total of $10 million.
  • The St Louis Police force use fingerprints as an investigative method for the first time.

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: “1904 dollars in 2020 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 7 Apr. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1904?startYear=&future_pct=.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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.

Email · LinkedIn · Twitter


» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1904 to 2020
Cumulative price change 2,806.49%
Average inflation rate 2.95%
Converted amount ($100 base) $2,906.49
Price difference ($100 base) $2,806.49
CPI in 1904 8.900
CPI in 2020 258.678
Inflation in 1904 1.14%
Inflation in 2020 2.33%