$1 in 1970 is worth $6.32 in 2017

Value of $1 from 1970 to 2017

$1 in 1970 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $6.32 in 2017, an increase of $5.32 over 47 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 4.00% per year between 1970 and 2017, producing a cumulative price increase of 531.75%.

This means that prices in 2017 are 6.32 times as high as average prices since 1970, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The inflation rate in 1970 was 5.72%. The inflation rate in 2017 was 2.13%. The 2017 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 3.82% per year between 2017 and 2023.

Inflation from 1970 to 2017
Cumulative price change531.75%
Average inflation rate4.00%
Converted amount
$1 base
Price difference
$1 base
CPI in 197038.800
CPI in 2017245.120
Inflation in 19705.72%
Inflation in 20172.13%
$1 in 1970$6.32 in 2017

USD inflation since 1970
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

Buying power of $1 in 1970

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1970 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $6.32 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1 is equivalent to $6.32 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 1970 dollars, the chart below shows how $1 is worth less over 47 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: 1970-2017
YearDollar ValueInflation Rate
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 41 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1970 amounts in 2017 dollars, based on the 531.75% change in prices:

Conversion: 1970 dollars in 2017
Initial valueEquivalent value
$1 dollar in 1970$6.32 dollars in 2017
$5 dollars in 1970$31.59 dollars in 2017
$10 dollars in 1970$63.18 dollars in 2017
$50 dollars in 1970$315.88 dollars in 2017
$100 dollars in 1970$631.75 dollars in 2017
$500 dollars in 1970$3,158.76 dollars in 2017
$1,000 dollars in 1970$6,317.53 dollars in 2017
$5,000 dollars in 1970$31,587.63 dollars in 2017
$10,000 dollars in 1970$63,175.26 dollars in 2017
$50,000 dollars in 1970$315,876.29 dollars in 2017
$100,000 dollars in 1970$631,752.58 dollars in 2017
$500,000 dollars in 1970$3,158,762.89 dollars in 2017
$1,000,000 dollars in 1970$6,317,525.77 dollars in 2017

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1970 to 2017 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 47 years between 1970 and 2017 (4.33%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 47 years between 1970 and 2017 (3.79%).

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 1970 would be equivalent to £14.70 in 2017, an absolute change of £13.70 and a cumulative change of 1,370.45%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1970 would be equivalent to CA$6.41 in 2017, an absolute change of CA$5.41 and a cumulative change of 541.43%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $5.32 and total percent change of 531.75%.

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 1970 and 2017.

Compare these values to the overall average of 4.00% per year:

CategoryAvg Inflation (%)Total Inflation (%)$1 in 1970 → 2017
Food and beverages3.97522.566.23
Medical care5.781,299.9114.00
Education and communication1.97150.162.50
Other goods and services5.14956.4710.56

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 1970. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

How to calculate inflation rate for $1, 1970 to 2017

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1970 and 2017:

CPI in 2017 CPI in 1970
1970 USD value
2017 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 38.8 in the year 1970 and 245.12 in 2017:


$1 in 1970 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $6.32 in 2017.

To get the total inflation rate for the 47 years between 1970 and 2017, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2017 - CPI in 1970CPI in 1970
Cumulative inflation rate (47 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

245.12 - 38.838.8

Alternate Measurements of Inflation

There are multiple ways to measure inflation. Published rates of inflation will vary depending on methodology. The Consumer Price Index, used above, is the most common standard used globally.

Alternative measurements are sometimes used based on context and economic/political circumstances. Below are a few examples of alternative measurements.

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Inflation

The PCE Price Index is the U.S. Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation, compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It measures the change in prices of goods and services purchased by consumers.

The PCE Price Index changed by 3.52% per year on average between 1970 and 2017. The total PCE inflation between these dates was 407.19%. In 1970, PCE inflation was 4.67%.

This means that the PCE Index equates $1 in 1970 with $5.07 in 2017, a difference of $4.07. Compare this to the standard CPI measurement, which equates $1 with $6.32. The PCE measured -124.56% inflation compared to standard CPI.

For more information on the difference between PCE and CPI, see this analysis provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Core Inflation

Also of note is the Core CPI, which uses the standard CPI but omits the more volatile categories of food and energy.

Core inflation averaged 3.95% per year between 1970 and 2017 (vs all-CPI inflation of 4.00%), for an inflation total of 517.71%. In 1970, core inflation was 6.25%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 1970 is equivalent in buying power to $6.18 in 2017, a difference of $5.18. Recall that the converted amount is $6.32 when all items including food and energy are measured.

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 4.00% has a compounding effect between 1970 and 2017. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 531.75% over 47 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1970, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $124.53 in 2017. This is a return on investment of 12,353.15%, with an absolute return of $123.53 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 84.17% of returns ($104.82) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $18.71. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $16 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1970-2017
Original AmountFinal AmountChange
Inflation Adjusted

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 1970 to latest available data for 2017 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1970 and 2017, see the stock market returns calculator.

Data source & citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (CPI), established in 1913. Price index data from 1774 to 1912 is sourced from a historical study conducted by political science professor Robert Sahr at Oregon State University and from the American Antiquarian Society. Price index data from 1634 to 1773 is from the American Antiquarian Society, using British pound equivalents.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “$1 in 1970 → 2017 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 13 Sep. 2023, https://www.officialdata.org/1970-dollars-in-2017?amount=1.

Special thanks to QuickChart for their chart image API, which is used for chart downloads.

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 1970 to 2017
Cumulative price change531.75%
Average inflation rate4.00%
Converted amount
$1 base
Price difference
$1 base
CPI in 197038.800
CPI in 2017245.120
Inflation in 19705.72%
Inflation in 20172.13%
$1 in 1970$6.32 in 2017