U.S. inflation rate in 1939: -1.42%

Inflation Calculator

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Inflation since 1939 and its effect on dollar value

The consumer price index (CPI) in 1939 was 13.9. It was 14.1 in the previous year. This change in CPI is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate inflation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.73% per year. Prices in 2018 are 1710.0% higher than prices in 1939.

In other words, \$100 in 1939 is equivalent in purchasing power to \$1,810.00 in 2018, a difference of \$1,710.00 over 79 years.

The current inflation rate is now 2.80%1. If this number holds, \$100 today will be equivalent to \$102.80 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.

 Cumulative price change 1710.00% Average inflation rate 3.73% Converted amount (\$100 base) \$1,810.00 Price difference (\$100 base) \$1,710.00 CPI in 1939 13.9 CPI in 2018 251.59

The above data describe the CPI for all items. Also of note is U.S. "Core Inflation," which measures the CPI for all items except for the more volatile categories of food and energy. Core inflation averaged NaN% per year between 1939 and 2018. In 1939, core inflation was 0.00%.

Inflation rates for specific categories

Bananas · Frankfurters · Juices and nonalcoholic drinks · More

S&P 500 price · S&P 500 earnings · Shiller P/E

How to calculate the inflation rate for \$100 since 1939

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018 / CPI in 1939 * 1939 USD value = 2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 13.9 in the year 1939 and 251.59 in 2018:

251.59 / 13.9 * \$100 = \$1,810.00

\$100 in 1939 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$1,810.00 in 2018.

Buying power of \$100 since 1939

Below are calculations of buying power over time for \$100 in 1939 (price index tracking began in 1913). Each of these USD amounts below is equivalent in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Year USD Value Inflation Rate
1939 \$100.00 -1.42%
1940 \$100.72 0.72%
1941 \$105.76 5.00%
1942 \$117.27 10.88%
1943 \$124.46 6.13%
1944 \$126.62 1.73%
1945 \$129.50 2.27%
1946 \$140.29 8.33%
1947 \$160.43 14.36%
1948 \$173.38 8.07%
1949 \$171.22 -1.24%
1950 \$173.38 1.26%
1951 \$187.05 7.88%
1952 \$190.65 1.92%
1953 \$192.09 0.75%
1954 \$193.53 0.75%
1955 \$192.81 -0.37%
1956 \$195.68 1.49%
1957 \$202.16 3.31%
1958 \$207.91 2.85%
1959 \$209.35 0.69%
1960 \$212.95 1.72%
1961 \$215.11 1.01%
1962 \$217.27 1.00%
1963 \$220.14 1.32%
1964 \$223.02 1.31%
1965 \$226.62 1.61%
1966 \$233.09 2.86%
1967 \$240.29 3.09%
1968 \$250.36 4.19%
1969 \$264.03 5.46%
1970 \$279.14 5.72%
1971 \$291.37 4.38%
1972 \$300.72 3.21%
1973 \$319.42 6.22%
1974 \$354.68 11.04%
1975 \$387.05 9.13%
1976 \$409.35 5.76%
1977 \$435.97 6.50%
1978 \$469.06 7.59%
1979 \$522.30 11.35%
1980 \$592.81 13.50%
1981 \$653.96 10.32%
1982 \$694.24 6.16%
1983 \$716.55 3.21%
1984 \$747.48 4.32%
1985 \$774.10 3.56%
1986 \$788.49 1.86%
1987 \$817.27 3.65%
1988 \$851.08 4.14%
1989 \$892.09 4.82%
1990 \$940.29 5.40%
1991 \$979.86 4.21%
1992 \$1,009.35 3.01%
1993 \$1,039.57 2.99%
1994 \$1,066.19 2.56%
1995 \$1,096.40 2.83%
1996 \$1,128.78 2.95%
1997 \$1,154.68 2.29%
1998 \$1,172.66 1.56%
1999 \$1,198.56 2.21%
2000 \$1,238.85 3.36%
2001 \$1,274.10 2.85%
2002 \$1,294.24 1.58%
2003 \$1,323.74 2.28%
2004 \$1,358.99 2.66%
2005 \$1,405.04 3.39%
2006 \$1,450.36 3.23%
2007 \$1,491.67 2.85%
2008 \$1,548.94 3.84%
2009 \$1,543.43 -0.36%
2010 \$1,568.75 1.64%
2011 \$1,618.27 3.16%
2012 \$1,651.76 2.07%
2013 \$1,675.95 1.46%
2014 \$1,703.14 1.62%
2015 \$1,705.16 0.12%
2016 \$1,726.67 1.26%
2017 \$1,761.05 1.99%
2018 \$1,810.00 2.78%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

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

• Hitler makes a speech to the German Reichstag where he threatens Jews.
• Mahatma Gandhi begins his fast in protest against Britain’s autocratic rule in India
• The Battle of Nanchang takes place between the Kuomintang ant the Japanese, during Sino-Japanese War.
• The Spanish Civil War ends when Madrid falls to Francisco Franco.
• Britain and France declare war on Germany after it invades Poland, signaling the start of World War II.
• Mussolini’s Italy joins Hitler's war against Great Britain and France.
• Winston Churchill is named British Prime Minister, succeeding Neville Chamberlain.
• Nazi blitzkrieg conquest of France begins when the Germans cross the Muese River.
• Auschwitz concentration camp is opened in Nazi-controlled Poland,.

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: “Inflation Rate in 1939 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 Jun. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1939.