$1 in 1955 is worth $1.21 in 1966

Value of $1 from 1955 to 1966

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1966 are 20.90% higher than average prices since 1955. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 1.74% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, $1 in 1955 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.21 in 1966, a difference of $0.21 over 11 years.

The 1955 inflation rate was -0.37%. The inflation rate in 1966 was 2.86%. The 1966 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 3.90% per year between 1966 and 2020.


Inflation from 1955 to 1966
Cumulative price change 20.90%
Average inflation rate 1.74%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.21
Price difference ($1 base) $0.21
CPI in 1955 26.800
CPI in 1966 32.400
Inflation in 1955 -0.37%
Inflation in 1966 2.86%

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

Buying power of $1 in 1955

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1955 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $1.21 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1 is equivalent to $1.21 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 1955 dollars, the chart below shows how $1 is worth less over 11 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: 1955-1966
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1955 $1.00 -0.37%
1956 $1.01 1.49%
1957 $1.05 3.31%
1958 $1.08 2.85%
1959 $1.09 0.69%
1960 $1.10 1.72%
1961 $1.12 1.01%
1962 $1.13 1.00%
1963 $1.14 1.32%
1964 $1.16 1.31%
1965 $1.18 1.61%
1966 $1.21 2.86%
1967 $1.25 3.09%
1968 $1.30 4.19%
1969 $1.37 5.46%
1970 $1.45 5.72%
1971 $1.51 4.38%
1972 $1.56 3.21%
1973 $1.66 6.22%
1974 $1.84 11.04%
1975 $2.01 9.13%
1976 $2.12 5.76%
1977 $2.26 6.50%
1978 $2.43 7.59%
1979 $2.71 11.35%
1980 $3.07 13.50%
1981 $3.39 10.32%
1982 $3.60 6.16%
1983 $3.72 3.21%
1984 $3.88 4.32%
1985 $4.01 3.56%
1986 $4.09 1.86%
1987 $4.24 3.65%
1988 $4.41 4.14%
1989 $4.63 4.82%
1990 $4.88 5.40%
1991 $5.08 4.21%
1992 $5.24 3.01%
1993 $5.39 2.99%
1994 $5.53 2.56%
1995 $5.69 2.83%
1996 $5.85 2.95%
1997 $5.99 2.29%
1998 $6.08 1.56%
1999 $6.22 2.21%
2000 $6.43 3.36%
2001 $6.61 2.85%
2002 $6.71 1.58%
2003 $6.87 2.28%
2004 $7.05 2.66%
2005 $7.29 3.39%
2006 $7.52 3.23%
2007 $7.74 2.85%
2008 $8.03 3.84%
2009 $8.01 -0.36%
2010 $8.14 1.64%
2011 $8.39 3.16%
2012 $8.57 2.07%
2013 $8.69 1.46%
2014 $8.83 1.62%
2015 $8.84 0.12%
2016 $8.96 1.26%
2017 $9.15 2.13%
2018 $9.37 2.49%
2019 $9.54 1.76%
2020 $9.57 0.29%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 5 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1955 amounts in 1966 dollars, based on the 20.90% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar in 1966
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1955 $1.21 dollars in 1966
$5 dollars in 1955 $6.04 dollars in 1966
$10 dollars in 1955 $12.09 dollars in 1966
$50 dollars in 1955 $60.45 dollars in 1966
$100 dollars in 1955 $120.90 dollars in 1966
$500 dollars in 1955 $604.48 dollars in 1966
$1,000 dollars in 1955 $1,208.96 dollars in 1966
$5,000 dollars in 1955 $6,044.78 dollars in 1966
$10,000 dollars in 1955 $12,089.55 dollars in 1966
$50,000 dollars in 1955 $60,447.76 dollars in 1966
$100,000 dollars in 1955 $120,895.52 dollars in 1966
$500,000 dollars in 1955 $604,477.61 dollars in 1966
$1,000,000 dollars in 1955 $1,208,955.22 dollars in 1966

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1955 to 1966 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

Boston, Massachusetts experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 11 years between 1955 and 1966 (2.19%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 11 years between 1955 and 1966 (1.48%).

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 1955 would be equivalent to £1.41 in 1966, an absolute change of £0.41 and a cumulative change of 40.84%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1955 would be equivalent to CA$1.25 in 1966, an absolute change of CA$0.25 and a cumulative change of 24.65%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.21 and total percent change of 20.90%.


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 1955 and 1966.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.74% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1955 → 1966
Food and beverages 0.00 0.00 1.00
Housing 0.00 0.00 1.00
Apparel 1.22 14.30 1.14
Transportation 2.09 25.55 1.26
Medical care 3.38 44.11 1.44
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 1955. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1955 to 1966

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1955 and 1966:

CPI in 1966 CPI in 1955
×
1955 USD value
=
1966 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 26.8 in the year 1955 and 32.4 in 1966:

32.426.8
×
$1
=
$1.21

$1 in 1955 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.21 in 1966.

To get the total inflation rate for the 11 years between 1955 and 1966, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1966 - CPI in 1955CPI in 1955
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (11 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

32.4 - 26.826.8
×
100
=
21%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 1.74% has a compounding effect between 1955 and 1966. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 20.90% over 11 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1955, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $3.56 in 1966. This is a return on investment of 255.69%, with an absolute return of $2.56 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 17.28% of returns ($0.61) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $1.94. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $2 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1955-1966
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $3.56 255.69%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $2.94 194.22%

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 1955 to latest available data for 1966 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1955 and 1966, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1955

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

  • The occupying powers grant full Sovereignty to West Germany.
  • The Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons is signed by 18 Nobel laureates.
  • Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give her seat to a white person and move to the back of the bus.

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 1955 → 1966 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 15 Jul. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1955?amount=1&endYear=1966.

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 1955 to 1966
Cumulative price change 20.90%
Average inflation rate 1.74%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.21
Price difference ($1 base) $0.21
CPI in 1955 26.800
CPI in 1966 32.400
Inflation in 1955 -0.37%
Inflation in 1966 2.86%