U.S. inflation rate in 1972: 3.21%

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Inflation since 1972 and its effect on dollar value

The consumer price index (CPI) in 1972 was 41.8. It was 40.5 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 3.98% per year. Prices in 2018 are 501.9% higher than prices in 1972.

In other words, $100 in 1972 is equivalent in purchasing power to $601.89 in 2018, a difference of $501.89 over 46 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.

Inflation from 1972 to 2018
Cumulative price change 501.89%
Average inflation rate 3.98%
Converted amount ($100 base) $601.89
Price difference ($100 base) $501.89
CPI in 1972 41.8
CPI in 2018 251.59


U.S. inflation from 1913 to 2018


Inflation rates for specific categories

New cars · Bread · Milk · More

Inflation-adjusted measures

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

How to calculate the inflation rate for $100 since 1972

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018 / CPI in 1972 * 1972 USD value = 2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 41.8 in the year 1972 and 251.59 in 2018:

251.59 / 41.8 * $100 = $601.89

$100 in 1972 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $601.89 in 2018.


Here are calculations of buying power over time for $100 in 1972 (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
1972 $100.00 3.21%
1973 $106.22 6.22%
1974 $117.94 11.04%
1975 $128.71 9.13%
1976 $136.12 5.76%
1977 $144.98 6.50%
1978 $155.98 7.59%
1979 $173.68 11.35%
1980 $197.13 13.50%
1981 $217.46 10.32%
1982 $230.86 6.16%
1983 $238.28 3.21%
1984 $248.56 4.32%
1985 $257.42 3.56%
1986 $262.20 1.86%
1987 $271.77 3.65%
1988 $283.01 4.14%
1989 $296.65 4.82%
1990 $312.68 5.40%
1991 $325.84 4.21%
1992 $335.65 3.01%
1993 $345.69 2.99%
1994 $354.55 2.56%
1995 $364.59 2.83%
1996 $375.36 2.95%
1997 $383.97 2.29%
1998 $389.95 1.56%
1999 $398.56 2.21%
2000 $411.96 3.36%
2001 $423.68 2.85%
2002 $430.38 1.58%
2003 $440.19 2.28%
2004 $451.91 2.66%
2005 $467.22 3.39%
2006 $482.30 3.23%
2007 $496.03 2.85%
2008 $515.08 3.84%
2009 $513.25 -0.36%
2010 $521.67 1.64%
2011 $538.13 3.16%
2012 $549.27 2.07%
2013 $557.31 1.46%
2014 $566.35 1.62%
2015 $567.03 0.12%
2016 $574.18 1.26%
2017 $585.61 1.99%
2018 $601.89 2.78%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

News headlines from 1972

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

  • The US's costliest natural disaster, Hurricane Agnes, causes 119 deaths and $3 billion damage.
  • The US Senate,ratifies the first Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
  • A member of the terrorist group Black September kills eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
  • Pong, the first commercially successful video game is released by the co-founder of Atari.

Inflation Data Source

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 1972 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 20 Jun. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1972.


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