# \$1 in 1920 is worth \$0.64 in 1917

\$

## Value of \$1 from 1920 to 1917

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1917 are 36% lower than average prices since 1920. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 16.04% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, \$1 in 1920 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$0.64 in 1917, a difference of \$-0.36 over 3 years.

The 1917 inflation rate was 17.43%. The inflation rate in 1920 was 15.61%. The 1920 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 2.60% per year between 1920 and 2020.

 Cumulative price change -36.00% Average inflation rate 16.04% Converted amount (\$1 base) \$0.64 Price difference (\$1 base) \$-0.36 CPI in 1920 20.000 CPI in 1917 12.800 Inflation in 1917 17.43% Inflation in 1920 15.61%

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

## Buying power of \$1 in 1917

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$1 in 1917 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$1, you would need to end with \$0.64 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$1 is equivalent to \$0.64 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 1917 dollars, the chart below shows how \$1 is worth less over 3 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: 1917-1920
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1917 \$1.00 17.43%
1918 \$1.18 17.97%
1919 \$1.35 14.57%
1920 \$1.56 15.61%
1921 \$1.40 -10.50%
1922 \$1.31 -6.15%
1923 \$1.34 1.79%
1924 \$1.34 0.00%
1925 \$1.37 2.34%
1926 \$1.38 1.14%
1927 \$1.36 -1.69%
1928 \$1.34 -1.72%
1929 \$1.34 0.00%
1930 \$1.30 -2.34%
1931 \$1.19 -8.98%
1932 \$1.07 -9.87%
1933 \$1.02 -5.11%
1934 \$1.05 3.08%
1935 \$1.07 2.24%
1936 \$1.09 1.46%
1937 \$1.13 3.60%
1938 \$1.10 -2.08%
1939 \$1.09 -1.42%
1940 \$1.09 0.72%
1941 \$1.15 5.00%
1942 \$1.27 10.88%
1943 \$1.35 6.13%
1944 \$1.38 1.73%
1945 \$1.41 2.27%
1946 \$1.52 8.33%
1947 \$1.74 14.36%
1948 \$1.88 8.07%
1949 \$1.86 -1.24%
1950 \$1.88 1.26%
1951 \$2.03 7.88%
1952 \$2.07 1.92%
1953 \$2.09 0.75%
1954 \$2.10 0.75%
1955 \$2.09 -0.37%
1956 \$2.13 1.49%
1957 \$2.20 3.31%
1958 \$2.26 2.85%
1959 \$2.27 0.69%
1960 \$2.31 1.72%
1961 \$2.34 1.01%
1962 \$2.36 1.00%
1963 \$2.39 1.32%
1964 \$2.42 1.31%
1965 \$2.46 1.61%
1966 \$2.53 2.86%
1967 \$2.61 3.09%
1968 \$2.72 4.19%
1969 \$2.87 5.46%
1970 \$3.03 5.72%
1971 \$3.16 4.38%
1972 \$3.27 3.21%
1973 \$3.47 6.22%
1974 \$3.85 11.04%
1975 \$4.20 9.13%
1976 \$4.45 5.76%
1977 \$4.73 6.50%
1978 \$5.09 7.59%
1979 \$5.67 11.35%
1980 \$6.44 13.50%
1981 \$7.10 10.32%
1982 \$7.54 6.16%
1983 \$7.78 3.21%
1984 \$8.12 4.32%
1985 \$8.41 3.56%
1986 \$8.56 1.86%
1987 \$8.87 3.65%
1988 \$9.24 4.14%
1989 \$9.69 4.82%
1990 \$10.21 5.40%
1991 \$10.64 4.21%
1992 \$10.96 3.01%
1993 \$11.29 2.99%
1994 \$11.58 2.56%
1995 \$11.91 2.83%
1996 \$12.26 2.95%
1997 \$12.54 2.29%
1998 \$12.73 1.56%
1999 \$13.02 2.21%
2000 \$13.45 3.36%
2001 \$13.84 2.85%
2002 \$14.05 1.58%
2003 \$14.38 2.28%
2004 \$14.76 2.66%
2005 \$15.26 3.39%
2006 \$15.75 3.23%
2007 \$16.20 2.85%
2008 \$16.82 3.84%
2009 \$16.76 -0.36%
2010 \$17.04 1.64%
2011 \$17.57 3.16%
2012 \$17.94 2.07%
2013 \$18.20 1.46%
2014 \$18.49 1.62%
2015 \$18.52 0.12%
2016 \$18.75 1.26%
2017 \$19.15 2.13%
2018 \$19.63 2.49%
2019 \$19.97 1.76%
2020 \$20.34 1.85%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

This conversion table shows various other 1917 amounts in 1920 dollars, based on the -36.00% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar in 1920
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1917 \$1.56 dollars in 1920
\$5 dollars in 1917 \$7.81 dollars in 1920
\$10 dollars in 1917 \$15.63 dollars in 1920
\$50 dollars in 1917 \$78.13 dollars in 1920
\$100 dollars in 1917 \$156.25 dollars in 1920
\$500 dollars in 1917 \$781.25 dollars in 1920
\$1,000 dollars in 1917 \$1,562.50 dollars in 1920
\$5,000 dollars in 1917 \$7,812.50 dollars in 1920
\$10,000 dollars in 1917 \$15,625.00 dollars in 1920
\$50,000 dollars in 1917 \$78,125.00 dollars in 1920
\$100,000 dollars in 1917 \$156,250.00 dollars in 1920
\$500,000 dollars in 1917 \$781,250.00 dollars in 1920
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1917 \$1,562,500.00 dollars in 1920

## Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1920 to 1917 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of \$1):

Seattle, Washington experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 3 years between 1917 and 1920 (24.10%).

San Francisco, California experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 3 years between 1917 and 1920 (18.63%).

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 1920 would be equivalent to £0.64 in 1917, an absolute change of £-0.36 and a cumulative change of -35.57%.

In Canada, CA\$1.00 in 1920 would be equivalent to CA\$0.74 in 1917, an absolute change of CA\$-0.26 and a cumulative change of -25.89%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$-0.36 and total percent change of -36.00%.

## 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 1920 and 1917.

Compare these values to the overall average of 16.04% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$1 in 1917 → 1920
Food and beverages 0.00 0.00 1.00
Housing 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 26.39 101.89 2.02
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 1920. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

## How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$1, 1917 to 1920

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1917 and 1920:

CPI in 1917 CPI in 1920
×
1920 USD value
=
1917 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 20 in the year 1920 and 12.8 in 1917:

12.820
×
\$1
=
\$0.64

\$1 in 1920 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$0.64 in 1917.

To get the total inflation rate for the 3 years between 1917 and 1920, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1917 - CPI in 1920CPI in 1920
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (3 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

12.8 - 2020
×
100
=
-36%

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

• The League of Nations' first assembly takes place in Paris.
• The British Parliament passes the Fourth Home Rule Act, dividing Ireland into two parts and leading to a yearlong Anglo-Irish war in the southern counties.
• The Catholic Church canonizes Joan of Arc, formally making her a saint.
• The 19th Amendment to the constitution is ratified, granting U.S. woman suffrage 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: “\$1 in 1920 → 1917 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 24 Nov. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1920?amount=1&endYear=1917.

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.