View $1 in 1955 → **2021**

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$1 in 1955 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $9.66 in 2020, an increase of $8.66 over 65 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.55% per year between 1955 and 2020, producing a cumulative price increase of 865.72%.

This means that prices in 2020 are 9.66 times higher than average prices since 1955, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The 1955 inflation rate was -0.37%. The inflation rate in 2020 was 1.23%. The 2020 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 5.70% per year between 2020 and 2021.

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Cumulative price change | 865.72% |

Average inflation rate | 3.55% |

Converted amount ($1 base) | $9.66 |

Price difference ($1 base) | $8.66 |

CPI in 1955 | 26.800 |

CPI in 2020 | 258.812 |

Inflation in 1955 | -0.37% |

Inflation in 2020 | 1.23% |

$1 in 1955 | $9.66 in 2020 |

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 $9.66 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1 is equivalent to $9.66 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 65 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:

This conversion table shows various other 1955 amounts in 2020 dollars, based on the 865.72% change in prices:

Initial value | Equivalent value |
---|---|

$1 dollar in 1955 | $9.66 dollars in 2020 |

$5 dollars in 1955 | $48.29 dollars in 2020 |

$10 dollars in 1955 | $96.57 dollars in 2020 |

$50 dollars in 1955 | $482.86 dollars in 2020 |

$100 dollars in 1955 | $965.72 dollars in 2020 |

$500 dollars in 1955 | $4,828.58 dollars in 2020 |

$1,000 dollars in 1955 | $9,657.15 dollars in 2020 |

$5,000 dollars in 1955 | $48,285.76 dollars in 2020 |

$10,000 dollars in 1955 | $96,571.52 dollars in 2020 |

$50,000 dollars in 1955 | $482,857.59 dollars in 2020 |

$100,000 dollars in 1955 | $965,715.17 dollars in 2020 |

$500,000 dollars in 1955 | $4,828,575.87 dollars in 2020 |

$1,000,000 dollars in 1955 | $9,657,151.74 dollars in 2020 |

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1955 to 2020 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

**San Francisco, California**: 3.90% average rate, $1 → $12.05, cumulative change of 1,104.61%**Seattle, Washington**: 3.74% average rate, $1 → $10.91, cumulative change of 990.75%**Boston, Massachusetts**: 3.73% average rate, $1 → $10.78, cumulative change of 978.14%**New York**: 3.68% average rate, $1 → $10.45, cumulative change of 944.63%**Philadelphia, Pennsylvania**: 3.49% average rate, $1 → $9.29, cumulative change of 829.12%**Atlanta, Georgia**: 3.46% average rate, $1 → $9.10, cumulative change of 810.29%**Houston, Texas**: 3.43% average rate, $1 → $8.94, cumulative change of 794.45%**Chicago, Illinois**: 3.41% average rate, $1 → $8.85, cumulative change of 785.47%**Detroit, Michigan**: 3.36% average rate, $1 → $8.59, cumulative change of 758.59%

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 65 years between 1955 and 2020 (3.90%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 65 years between 1955 and 2020 (3.36%).

Note that some locations showing 0% inflation may have not yet reported latest data.

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1955 would be equivalent to £26.73 in 2020, an absolute change of £25.73 and a cumulative change of 2,572.59%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1955 would be equivalent to CA$9.61 in 2020, an absolute change of CA$8.61 and a cumulative change of 860.56%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $8.66 and total percent change of 865.72%.

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 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 3.55% per year:

Category | Avg Inflation (%) | Total Inflation (%) | $1 in 1955 → 2020 |
---|---|---|---|

Food and beverages | 3.91 | 1,106.76 | 12.07 |

Housing | 4.19 | 1,345.16 | 14.45 |

Apparel | 1.57 | 175.34 | 2.75 |

Transportation | 3.21 | 681.30 | 7.81 |

Medical care | 5.29 | 2,744.95 | 28.45 |

Recreation | 1.11 | 104.36 | 2.04 |

Education and communication | 1.85 | 228.87 | 3.29 |

Other goods and services | 4.99 | 2,264.50 | 23.64 |

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.

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1955 and 2020:

CPI in 2020
CPI in 1955

×

1955 USD value

=

2020 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 26.8 in the year 1955 and 258.81166666667 in 2020:

258.8116666666726.8

×

$1

=

$1 in 1955 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $9.66 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 65 years between 1955 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1955CPI in 1955

×

100

=

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

258.81166666667 - 26.826.8

×

100

=

The average inflation rate of 3.55% has a compounding effect between 1955 and 2020. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 865.72% over 65 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 $748.35 in 2020. This is a return on investment of 74,734.57%, with an absolute return of $747.35 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 89.64% of returns ($670.85) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted * real* return of our $1 investment is $76.49. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $65 for most people.

Original Amount | Final Amount | Change | |
---|---|---|---|

Nominal |
$1 | $748.35 | 74,734.57% |

RealInflation Adjusted |
$1 | $77.49 | 7,649.13% |

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 2020 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1955 and 2020, see the stock market returns calculator.

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.

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (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 → 2020 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 18 Sep. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1955?amount=1&endYear=2020.

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.

Cumulative price change | 865.72% |

Average inflation rate | 3.55% |

Converted amount ($1 base) | $9.66 |

Price difference ($1 base) | $8.66 |

CPI in 1955 | 26.800 |

CPI in 2020 | 258.812 |

Inflation in 1955 | -0.37% |

Inflation in 2020 | 1.23% |

$1 in 1955 | $9.66 in 2020 |