\$100 in 1789 is worth \$3,059.03 today

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Why a dollar today is worth only 3% of a dollar in 1789

Updated: June 10, 2021

\$100 in 1789 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$3,059.03 today, an increase of \$2,959.03 over 232 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.49% per year between 1789 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,959.03%.

This means that today's prices are 30.59 times higher than average prices since 1789, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index. A dollar today only buys 3.27% of what it could buy back then.

The 1789 inflation rate was -1.12%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2020 to 2021) is now 4.99%1. If this number holds, \$100 today will be equivalent in buying power to \$104.99 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest inflation rates.

 Cumulative price change 2,959.03% Average inflation rate 1.49% Converted amount (\$100 base) \$3,059.03 Price difference (\$100 base) \$2,959.03 CPI in 1789 8.800 CPI in 2021 269.195 Inflation in 1789 -1.12% Inflation in 2021 4.99% \$100 in 1789 \$3,059.03 in 2021

USD Inflation since 1635
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

Buying power of \$100 in 1789

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$100 in 1789 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$100, you would need to end with \$3,059.03 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$100 is equivalent to \$3,059.03 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 1789 dollars, the chart below shows how \$100 is worth less over 232 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: 1789-2021
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1789 \$100.00 -1.12%
1790 \$104.55 4.55%
1791 \$106.82 2.17%
1792 \$109.09 2.13%
1793 \$112.50 3.13%
1794 \$125.00 11.11%
1795 \$143.18 14.55%
1796 \$150.00 4.76%
1797 \$144.32 -3.79%
1798 \$139.77 -3.15%
1799 \$139.77 0.00%
1800 \$143.18 2.44%
1801 \$144.32 0.79%
1802 \$121.59 -15.75%
1803 \$128.41 5.61%
1804 \$134.09 4.42%
1805 \$132.95 -0.85%
1806 \$138.64 4.27%
1807 \$131.82 -4.92%
1808 \$143.18 8.62%
1809 \$139.77 -2.38%
1810 \$139.77 0.00%
1811 \$148.86 6.50%
1812 \$151.14 1.53%
1813 \$181.82 20.30%
1814 \$200.00 10.00%
1815 \$175.00 -12.50%
1816 \$160.23 -8.44%
1817 \$151.14 -5.67%
1818 \$144.32 -4.51%
1819 \$144.32 0.00%
1820 \$132.95 -7.87%
1821 \$128.41 -3.42%
1822 \$132.95 3.54%
1823 \$119.32 -10.26%
1824 \$110.23 -7.62%
1825 \$112.50 2.06%
1826 \$112.50 0.00%
1827 \$113.64 1.01%
1828 \$107.95 -5.00%
1829 \$105.68 -2.11%
1830 \$104.55 -1.08%
1831 \$98.86 -5.43%
1832 \$97.73 -1.15%
1833 \$95.45 -2.33%
1834 \$97.73 2.38%
1835 \$100.00 2.33%
1836 \$105.68 5.68%
1837 \$109.09 3.23%
1838 \$105.68 -3.12%
1839 \$105.68 0.00%
1840 \$98.86 -6.45%
1841 \$98.86 0.00%
1842 \$93.18 -5.75%
1843 \$84.09 -9.76%
1844 \$85.23 1.35%
1845 \$86.36 1.33%
1846 \$87.50 1.32%
1847 \$93.18 6.49%
1848 \$89.77 -3.66%
1849 \$87.50 -2.53%
1850 \$88.64 1.30%
1851 \$87.50 -1.28%
1852 \$87.50 0.00%
1853 \$87.50 0.00%
1854 \$95.45 9.09%
1855 \$98.86 3.57%
1856 \$96.59 -2.30%
1857 \$98.86 2.35%
1858 \$93.18 -5.75%
1859 \$94.32 1.22%
1860 \$94.32 0.00%
1861 \$100.00 6.02%
1862 \$114.77 14.77%
1863 \$143.18 24.75%
1864 \$178.41 24.60%
1865 \$185.23 3.82%
1866 \$180.68 -2.45%
1867 \$168.18 -6.92%
1868 \$161.36 -4.05%
1869 \$154.55 -4.23%
1870 \$148.86 -3.68%
1871 \$138.64 -6.87%
1872 \$138.64 0.00%
1873 \$136.36 -1.64%
1874 \$129.55 -5.00%
1875 \$125.00 -3.51%
1876 \$121.59 -2.73%
1877 \$119.32 -1.87%
1878 \$113.64 -4.76%
1879 \$113.64 0.00%
1880 \$115.91 2.00%
1881 \$115.91 0.00%
1882 \$115.91 0.00%
1883 \$114.77 -0.98%
1884 \$111.36 -2.97%
1885 \$110.23 -1.02%
1886 \$106.82 -3.09%
1887 \$107.95 1.06%
1888 \$107.95 0.00%
1889 \$104.55 -3.16%
1890 \$103.41 -1.09%
1891 \$103.41 0.00%
1892 \$103.41 0.00%
1893 \$102.27 -1.10%
1894 \$97.73 -4.44%
1895 \$95.45 -2.33%
1896 \$95.45 0.00%
1897 \$94.32 -1.19%
1898 \$94.32 0.00%
1899 \$94.32 0.00%
1900 \$95.45 1.20%
1901 \$96.59 1.19%
1902 \$97.73 1.18%
1903 \$100.00 2.33%
1904 \$101.14 1.14%
1905 \$100.00 -1.12%
1906 \$102.27 2.27%
1907 \$106.82 4.44%
1908 \$104.55 -2.13%
1909 \$103.41 -1.09%
1910 \$107.95 4.40%
1911 \$107.95 0.00%
1912 \$110.23 2.11%
1913 \$112.50 2.06%
1914 \$113.64 1.01%
1915 \$114.77 1.00%
1916 \$123.86 7.92%
1917 \$145.45 17.43%
1918 \$171.59 17.97%
1919 \$196.59 14.57%
1920 \$227.27 15.61%
1921 \$203.41 -10.50%
1922 \$190.91 -6.15%
1923 \$194.32 1.79%
1924 \$194.32 0.00%
1925 \$198.86 2.34%
1926 \$201.14 1.14%
1927 \$197.73 -1.69%
1928 \$194.32 -1.72%
1929 \$194.32 0.00%
1930 \$189.77 -2.34%
1931 \$172.73 -8.98%
1932 \$155.68 -9.87%
1933 \$147.73 -5.11%
1934 \$152.27 3.08%
1935 \$155.68 2.24%
1936 \$157.95 1.46%
1937 \$163.64 3.60%
1938 \$160.23 -2.08%
1939 \$157.95 -1.42%
1940 \$159.09 0.72%
1941 \$167.05 5.00%
1942 \$185.23 10.88%
1943 \$196.59 6.13%
1944 \$200.00 1.73%
1945 \$204.55 2.27%
1946 \$221.59 8.33%
1947 \$253.41 14.36%
1948 \$273.86 8.07%
1949 \$270.45 -1.24%
1950 \$273.86 1.26%
1951 \$295.45 7.88%
1952 \$301.14 1.92%
1953 \$303.41 0.75%
1954 \$305.68 0.75%
1955 \$304.55 -0.37%
1956 \$309.09 1.49%
1957 \$319.32 3.31%
1958 \$328.41 2.85%
1959 \$330.68 0.69%
1960 \$336.36 1.72%
1961 \$339.77 1.01%
1962 \$343.18 1.00%
1963 \$347.73 1.32%
1964 \$352.27 1.31%
1965 \$357.95 1.61%
1966 \$368.18 2.86%
1967 \$379.55 3.09%
1968 \$395.45 4.19%
1969 \$417.05 5.46%
1970 \$440.91 5.72%
1971 \$460.23 4.38%
1972 \$475.00 3.21%
1973 \$504.55 6.22%
1974 \$560.23 11.04%
1975 \$611.36 9.13%
1976 \$646.59 5.76%
1977 \$688.64 6.50%
1978 \$740.91 7.59%
1979 \$825.00 11.35%
1980 \$936.36 13.50%
1981 \$1,032.95 10.32%
1982 \$1,096.59 6.16%
1983 \$1,131.82 3.21%
1984 \$1,180.68 4.32%
1985 \$1,222.73 3.56%
1986 \$1,245.45 1.86%
1987 \$1,290.91 3.65%
1988 \$1,344.32 4.14%
1989 \$1,409.09 4.82%
1990 \$1,485.23 5.40%
1991 \$1,547.73 4.21%
1992 \$1,594.32 3.01%
1993 \$1,642.05 2.99%
1994 \$1,684.09 2.56%
1995 \$1,731.82 2.83%
1996 \$1,782.95 2.95%
1997 \$1,823.86 2.29%
1998 \$1,852.27 1.56%
1999 \$1,893.18 2.21%
2000 \$1,956.82 3.36%
2001 \$2,012.50 2.85%
2002 \$2,044.32 1.58%
2003 \$2,090.91 2.28%
2004 \$2,146.59 2.66%
2005 \$2,219.32 3.39%
2006 \$2,290.91 3.23%
2007 \$2,356.16 2.85%
2008 \$2,446.63 3.84%
2009 \$2,437.92 -0.36%
2010 \$2,477.91 1.64%
2011 \$2,556.12 3.16%
2012 \$2,609.02 2.07%
2013 \$2,647.24 1.46%
2014 \$2,690.18 1.62%
2015 \$2,693.37 0.12%
2016 \$2,727.35 1.26%
2017 \$2,785.45 2.13%
2018 \$2,854.89 2.49%
2019 \$2,905.20 1.76%
2020 \$2,941.04 1.23%
2021 \$3,059.03 4.01%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 226 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1789 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 2,959.03% change in prices:

Conversion: 1789 dollars today
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1789 \$30.59 dollars today
\$5 dollars in 1789 \$152.95 dollars today
\$10 dollars in 1789 \$305.90 dollars today
\$50 dollars in 1789 \$1,529.52 dollars today
\$100 dollars in 1789 \$3,059.03 dollars today
\$500 dollars in 1789 \$15,295.17 dollars today
\$1,000 dollars in 1789 \$30,590.34 dollars today
\$5,000 dollars in 1789 \$152,951.70 dollars today
\$10,000 dollars in 1789 \$305,903.41 dollars today
\$50,000 dollars in 1789 \$1,529,517.05 dollars today
\$100,000 dollars in 1789 \$3,059,034.09 dollars today
\$500,000 dollars in 1789 \$15,295,170.45 dollars today
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1789 \$30,590,340.91 dollars today

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £100.00 in 1789 would be equivalent to £15,675.01 in 2021, an absolute change of £15,575.01 and a cumulative change of 15,575.01%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$2,959.03 and total percent change of 2,959.03%.

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 1789 and 2021.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.49% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$100 in 1789 → 2021
Food and beverages 3.87 666,335.62 666,435.62
Housing 4.15 1,242,831.92 1,242,931.92
Apparel 1.95 8,739.40 8,839.40
Transportation 3.22 155,497.71 155,597.71
Medical care 4.69 4,119,038.54 4,119,138.54
Recreation 1.11 1,195.22 1,295.22
Education and communication 1.85 6,950.08 7,050.08
Other goods and services 4.93 7,065,494.92 7,065,594.92

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 1789. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$100 since 1789

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1789 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1789
×
1789 USD value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.8 in the year 1789 and 269.195 in 2021:

269.1958.8
×
\$100
=
\$3,059.03

\$100 in 1789 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$3,059.03 in 2021.

To get the total inflation rate for the 232 years between 1789 and 2021, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2021 - CPI in 1789CPI in 1789
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (232 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

269.195 - 8.88.8
×
100
=
2,959%

News headlines from 1789

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

• George Washington is elected President and John Adams is elected Vice-President by the first US Electoral College.
• William Wilberforce proposes the abolition of slavery in the United Kingdom House of Commons.
• The fall of the Bastille Prison marks the beginning of the French Revolution

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: “Value of 1789 dollars today | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 10 Jun. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1789.

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