$1 in 1968 → $7.38 in 2020

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$1 in 1968 → $7.38 in 2020

U.S. Inflation Rate, $1 in 1968 to 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 638.43% higher than average prices since 1968. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.92% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $1 in 1968 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $7.38 in 2020, a difference of $6.38 over 52 years.

The 1968 inflation rate was 4.19%. The current inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 2.29%1. If this number holds, $1 today will be equivalent in buying power to $1.02 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1968 to 2020
Cumulative price change 638.43%
Average inflation rate 3.92%
Converted amount ($1 base) $7.38
Price difference ($1 base) $6.38
CPI in 1968 34.800
CPI in 2020 256.974
Inflation in 1968 4.19%
Inflation in 2020 2.29%

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

Buying power of $1 in 1968

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1968 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $7.38 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1 is equivalent to $7.38 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 1968 dollars, the chart below shows how $1 buys less over the past 52 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
1968 $1.00 4.19%
1969 $1.05 5.46%
1970 $1.11 5.72%
1971 $1.16 4.38%
1972 $1.20 3.21%
1973 $1.28 6.22%
1974 $1.42 11.04%
1975 $1.55 9.13%
1976 $1.64 5.76%
1977 $1.74 6.50%
1978 $1.87 7.59%
1979 $2.09 11.35%
1980 $2.37 13.50%
1981 $2.61 10.32%
1982 $2.77 6.16%
1983 $2.86 3.21%
1984 $2.99 4.32%
1985 $3.09 3.56%
1986 $3.15 1.86%
1987 $3.26 3.65%
1988 $3.40 4.14%
1989 $3.56 4.82%
1990 $3.76 5.40%
1991 $3.91 4.21%
1992 $4.03 3.01%
1993 $4.15 2.99%
1994 $4.26 2.56%
1995 $4.38 2.83%
1996 $4.51 2.95%
1997 $4.61 2.29%
1998 $4.68 1.56%
1999 $4.79 2.21%
2000 $4.95 3.36%
2001 $5.09 2.85%
2002 $5.17 1.58%
2003 $5.29 2.28%
2004 $5.43 2.66%
2005 $5.61 3.39%
2006 $5.79 3.23%
2007 $5.96 2.85%
2008 $6.19 3.84%
2009 $6.16 -0.36%
2010 $6.27 1.64%
2011 $6.46 3.16%
2012 $6.60 2.07%
2013 $6.69 1.46%
2014 $6.80 1.62%
2015 $6.81 0.12%
2016 $6.90 1.26%
2017 $7.04 2.13%
2018 $7.22 2.49%
2019 $7.35 1.76%
2020 $7.38 0.51%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 46 more rows

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1968 to 2020 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 52 years between 1968 and 2020 (4.34%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 52 years between 1968 and 2020 (3.80%).

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 1968 would be equivalent to £17.46 in 2020, an absolute change of £16.46 and a cumulative change of 1,645.77%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1968 would be equivalent to CA$7.10 in 2020, an absolute change of CA$6.10 and a cumulative change of 610.42%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $6.38 and total percent change of 638.43%.


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 1968 and 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 3.92% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1968 → 2020
Food and beverages 3.92 640.04 7.40
Housing 4.24 765.64 8.66
Apparel 1.65 134.66 2.35
Transportation 3.62 533.87 6.34
Medical care 5.67 1,663.56 17.64
Recreation 1.10 76.30 1.76
Education and communication 1.85 159.30 2.59
Other goods and services 5.03 1,184.82 12.85

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 1968. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1 since 1968

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2020CPI in 1968
×
1968 USD value
=
2020 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 34.8 in the year 1968 and 256.974 in 2020:

256.97434.8
×
$1
=
$7.38

$1 in 1968 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $7.38 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 52 years between 1968 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1968CPI in 1968
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (52 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

256.974 - 34.834.8
×
100
=
638%

Alternate Measurements of Inflation

The above data describe the CPI for all items. Also of note is the Core CPI, which measures inflation for all items except for the more volatile categories of food and energy. Core inflation averaged 3.96% per year between 1968 and 2020 (vs all-CPI inflation of 3.92%), for an inflation total of 624.79%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 1968 is equivalent in buying power to $7.25 in 2020, a difference of $6.25. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $7.38 with a difference of $6.38.

In 1968, core inflation was 4.63%.


News headlines from 1968

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

  • The Battle of Khe Sanh begins it is one of the most controversial battles of the Vietnam War.
  • A photograph that later became an anti-war icon, is taken: it captures Saigon police chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém with a pistol shot to the head.
  • Martin Luther King Jr is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • France becomes the world's 5th thermonuclear power after the Mururoa Atoll detonation.

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 1968 → 2020 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 27 Jan. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1968?amount=1.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.


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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Inflation from 1968 to 2020
Cumulative price change 638.43%
Average inflation rate 3.92%
Converted amount ($1 base) $7.38
Price difference ($1 base) $6.38
CPI in 1968 34.800
CPI in 2020 256.974
Inflation in 1968 4.19%
Inflation in 2020 2.29%