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Why a dollar today is worth only 5% of a dollar in 1915

Updated: April 13, 2021

\$100 in 1915 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$2,165.08 today, an increase of \$2,065.08 over 105 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.97% per year between 1915 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,065.08%.

This means that today's prices are 21.65 times higher than average prices since 1915, according to Statistics Canada consumer price index. A dollar today only buys 4.62% of what it could buy back then.

The 1915 inflation rate was 3.28%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 2.25%1. If this number holds, \$100 today will be equivalent in buying power to \$102.25 next year.

 Cumulative price change 2,065.08% Average inflation rate 2.97% Converted amount (\$100 base) \$2,165.08 Price difference (\$100 base) \$2,065.08 CPI in 1915 6.300 CPI in 2020 136.400 Inflation in 1915 3.28% Inflation in 2020 2.25% \$100 in 1915 \$2,165.08 in 2020

CAD Inflation since 1914
Annual Rate, Statistics Canada CPI

Buying power of \$100 in 1915

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$100 in 1915 (price index tracking began in 1914).

For example, if you started with \$100, you would need to end with \$2,165.08 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$100 is equivalent to \$2,165.08 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single Canadian 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 1915 dollars, the chart below shows how \$100 is worth less over 105 years.

According to Statistics Canada, each of these CAD amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Dollar inflation: 1915-2020
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1915 \$100.00 3.28%
1916 \$114.29 14.29%
1917 \$131.75 15.28%
1918 \$149.21 13.25%
1919 \$161.90 8.51%
1920 \$177.78 9.80%
1921 \$149.21 -16.07%
1922 \$146.03 -2.13%
1923 \$146.03 0.00%
1924 \$144.44 -1.09%
1925 \$147.62 2.20%
1926 \$146.03 -1.08%
1927 \$144.44 -1.09%
1928 \$146.03 1.10%
1929 \$149.21 2.17%
1930 \$139.68 -6.38%
1931 \$125.40 -10.23%
1932 \$115.87 -7.59%
1933 \$112.70 -2.74%
1934 \$114.29 1.41%
1935 \$117.46 2.78%
1936 \$119.05 1.35%
1937 \$123.81 4.00%
1938 \$120.63 -2.56%
1939 \$123.81 2.63%
1940 \$130.16 5.13%
1941 \$138.10 6.10%
1942 \$142.86 3.45%
1943 \$146.03 2.22%
1944 \$142.86 -2.17%
1945 \$146.03 2.22%
1946 \$153.97 5.43%
1947 \$176.19 14.43%
1948 \$192.06 9.01%
1949 \$193.65 0.83%
1950 \$204.76 5.74%
1951 \$226.98 10.85%
1952 \$223.81 -1.40%
1953 \$223.81 0.00%
1954 \$223.81 0.00%
1955 \$225.40 0.71%
1956 \$231.75 2.82%
1957 \$236.51 2.05%
1958 \$242.86 2.68%
1959 \$246.03 1.31%
1960 \$249.21 1.29%
1961 \$249.21 0.00%
1962 \$253.97 1.91%
1963 \$258.73 1.88%
1964 \$263.49 1.84%
1965 \$271.43 3.01%
1966 \$280.95 3.51%
1967 \$292.06 3.95%
1968 \$304.76 4.35%
1969 \$319.05 4.69%
1970 \$322.22 1.00%
1971 \$338.10 4.93%
1972 \$355.56 5.16%
1973 \$388.89 9.38%
1974 \$438.10 12.65%
1975 \$479.37 9.42%
1976 \$506.35 5.63%
1977 \$553.97 9.40%
1978 \$601.59 8.60%
1979 \$660.32 9.76%
1980 \$733.33 11.06%
1981 \$822.22 12.12%
1982 \$898.41 9.27%
1983 \$939.68 4.59%
1984 \$974.60 3.72%
1985 \$1,017.46 4.40%
1986 \$1,060.32 4.21%
1987 \$1,104.76 4.19%
1988 \$1,147.62 3.88%
1989 \$1,207.94 5.26%
1990 \$1,268.25 4.99%
1991 \$1,315.87 3.75%
1992 \$1,344.44 2.17%
1993 \$1,366.67 1.65%
1994 \$1,369.84 0.23%
1995 \$1,393.65 1.74%
1996 \$1,423.81 2.16%
1997 \$1,434.92 0.78%
1998 \$1,449.21 1.00%
1999 \$1,487.30 2.63%
2000 \$1,534.92 3.20%
2001 \$1,546.03 0.72%
2002 \$1,604.76 3.80%
2003 \$1,638.10 2.08%
2004 \$1,673.02 2.13%
2005 \$1,707.94 2.09%
2006 \$1,736.51 1.67%
2007 \$1,777.78 2.38%
2008 \$1,798.41 1.16%
2009 \$1,822.22 1.32%
2010 \$1,865.08 2.35%
2011 \$1,907.94 2.30%
2012 \$1,923.81 0.83%
2013 \$1,947.62 1.24%
2014 \$1,976.19 1.47%
2015 \$2,007.94 1.61%
2016 \$2,038.10 1.50%
2017 \$2,069.84 1.56%
2018 \$2,076.19 0.31%
2019 \$2,117.46 1.99%
2020 \$2,165.08 2.25%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 99 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1915 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 2,065.08% change in prices:

Conversion: 1915 dollars today
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1915 \$21.65 dollars today
\$5 dollars in 1915 \$108.25 dollars today
\$10 dollars in 1915 \$216.51 dollars today
\$50 dollars in 1915 \$1,082.54 dollars today
\$100 dollars in 1915 \$2,165.08 dollars today
\$500 dollars in 1915 \$10,825.40 dollars today
\$1,000 dollars in 1915 \$21,650.79 dollars today
\$5,000 dollars in 1915 \$108,253.97 dollars today
\$10,000 dollars in 1915 \$216,507.94 dollars today
\$50,000 dollars in 1915 \$1,082,539.68 dollars today
\$100,000 dollars in 1915 \$2,165,079.37 dollars today
\$500,000 dollars in 1915 \$10,825,396.83 dollars today
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1915 \$21,650,793.65 dollars today

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$100 since 1915

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1915 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1915
×
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The Canadian CPI was 6.3 in the year 1915 and 136.4 in 2020:

136.46.3
×
\$100
=
\$2,165.08

\$100 in 1915 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$2,165.08 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 105 years between 1915 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1915CPI in 1915
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (105 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

136.4 - 6.36.3
×
100
=
2,065%

News headlines from 1915

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

• French troops force Germans back into the Champagne region, suffering losses of 50,000 men and gaining several hundred yards.
• Germany uses poison gas for the first time in World War I.
• Almost 430,000 French, British, and Germans are killed in the Battle of Loos.
• The one-millionth Model T is produced by Ford Motor Company.

Data Source & Citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the government of Canada's annual Consumer Price Index (CPI), established in 1914 and computed by Statistics Canada (StatCan).

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “Canada Inflation Calculator: CAD from 1915 to 2020.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 20 Apr. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/canada-inflation.

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