$100 in 1836 is worth $2,894.57 today

Why a dollar today is worth only 3% of a dollar in 1836

Updated: June 10, 2021

$100 in 1836 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2,894.57 today, an increase of $2,794.57 over 185 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.84% per year between 1836 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,794.57%.

This means that today's prices are 28.95 times higher than average prices since 1836, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index. A dollar today only buys 3.45% of what it could buy back then.

The 1836 inflation rate was 5.68%. 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.


Inflation from 1836 to 2021
Cumulative price change 2,794.57%
Average inflation rate 1.84%
Converted amount ($100 base) $2,894.57
Price difference ($100 base) $2,794.57
CPI in 1836 9.300
CPI in 2021 269.195
Inflation in 1836 5.68%
Inflation in 2021 4.99%
$100 in 1836 $2,894.57 in 2021

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

Buying power of $100 in 1836

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $100 in 1836 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $100, you would need to end with $2,894.57 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $100 is equivalent to $2,894.57 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 1836 dollars, the chart below shows how $100 is worth less over 185 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: 1836-2021
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1836 $100.00 5.68%
1837 $103.23 3.23%
1838 $100.00 -3.12%
1839 $100.00 0.00%
1840 $93.55 -6.45%
1841 $93.55 0.00%
1842 $88.17 -5.75%
1843 $79.57 -9.76%
1844 $80.65 1.35%
1845 $81.72 1.33%
1846 $82.80 1.32%
1847 $88.17 6.49%
1848 $84.95 -3.66%
1849 $82.80 -2.53%
1850 $83.87 1.30%
1851 $82.80 -1.28%
1852 $82.80 0.00%
1853 $82.80 0.00%
1854 $90.32 9.09%
1855 $93.55 3.57%
1856 $91.40 -2.30%
1857 $93.55 2.35%
1858 $88.17 -5.75%
1859 $89.25 1.22%
1860 $89.25 0.00%
1861 $94.62 6.02%
1862 $108.60 14.77%
1863 $135.48 24.75%
1864 $168.82 24.60%
1865 $175.27 3.82%
1866 $170.97 -2.45%
1867 $159.14 -6.92%
1868 $152.69 -4.05%
1869 $146.24 -4.23%
1870 $140.86 -3.68%
1871 $131.18 -6.87%
1872 $131.18 0.00%
1873 $129.03 -1.64%
1874 $122.58 -5.00%
1875 $118.28 -3.51%
1876 $115.05 -2.73%
1877 $112.90 -1.87%
1878 $107.53 -4.76%
1879 $107.53 0.00%
1880 $109.68 2.00%
1881 $109.68 0.00%
1882 $109.68 0.00%
1883 $108.60 -0.98%
1884 $105.38 -2.97%
1885 $104.30 -1.02%
1886 $101.08 -3.09%
1887 $102.15 1.06%
1888 $102.15 0.00%
1889 $98.92 -3.16%
1890 $97.85 -1.09%
1891 $97.85 0.00%
1892 $97.85 0.00%
1893 $96.77 -1.10%
1894 $92.47 -4.44%
1895 $90.32 -2.33%
1896 $90.32 0.00%
1897 $89.25 -1.19%
1898 $89.25 0.00%
1899 $89.25 0.00%
1900 $90.32 1.20%
1901 $91.40 1.19%
1902 $92.47 1.18%
1903 $94.62 2.33%
1904 $95.70 1.14%
1905 $94.62 -1.12%
1906 $96.77 2.27%
1907 $101.08 4.44%
1908 $98.92 -2.13%
1909 $97.85 -1.09%
1910 $102.15 4.40%
1911 $102.15 0.00%
1912 $104.30 2.11%
1913 $106.45 2.06%
1914 $107.53 1.01%
1915 $108.60 1.00%
1916 $117.20 7.92%
1917 $137.63 17.43%
1918 $162.37 17.97%
1919 $186.02 14.57%
1920 $215.05 15.61%
1921 $192.47 -10.50%
1922 $180.65 -6.15%
1923 $183.87 1.79%
1924 $183.87 0.00%
1925 $188.17 2.34%
1926 $190.32 1.14%
1927 $187.10 -1.69%
1928 $183.87 -1.72%
1929 $183.87 0.00%
1930 $179.57 -2.34%
1931 $163.44 -8.98%
1932 $147.31 -9.87%
1933 $139.78 -5.11%
1934 $144.09 3.08%
1935 $147.31 2.24%
1936 $149.46 1.46%
1937 $154.84 3.60%
1938 $151.61 -2.08%
1939 $149.46 -1.42%
1940 $150.54 0.72%
1941 $158.06 5.00%
1942 $175.27 10.88%
1943 $186.02 6.13%
1944 $189.25 1.73%
1945 $193.55 2.27%
1946 $209.68 8.33%
1947 $239.78 14.36%
1948 $259.14 8.07%
1949 $255.91 -1.24%
1950 $259.14 1.26%
1951 $279.57 7.88%
1952 $284.95 1.92%
1953 $287.10 0.75%
1954 $289.25 0.75%
1955 $288.17 -0.37%
1956 $292.47 1.49%
1957 $302.15 3.31%
1958 $310.75 2.85%
1959 $312.90 0.69%
1960 $318.28 1.72%
1961 $321.51 1.01%
1962 $324.73 1.00%
1963 $329.03 1.32%
1964 $333.33 1.31%
1965 $338.71 1.61%
1966 $348.39 2.86%
1967 $359.14 3.09%
1968 $374.19 4.19%
1969 $394.62 5.46%
1970 $417.20 5.72%
1971 $435.48 4.38%
1972 $449.46 3.21%
1973 $477.42 6.22%
1974 $530.11 11.04%
1975 $578.49 9.13%
1976 $611.83 5.76%
1977 $651.61 6.50%
1978 $701.08 7.59%
1979 $780.65 11.35%
1980 $886.02 13.50%
1981 $977.42 10.32%
1982 $1,037.63 6.16%
1983 $1,070.97 3.21%
1984 $1,117.20 4.32%
1985 $1,156.99 3.56%
1986 $1,178.49 1.86%
1987 $1,221.51 3.65%
1988 $1,272.04 4.14%
1989 $1,333.33 4.82%
1990 $1,405.38 5.40%
1991 $1,464.52 4.21%
1992 $1,508.60 3.01%
1993 $1,553.76 2.99%
1994 $1,593.55 2.56%
1995 $1,638.71 2.83%
1996 $1,687.10 2.95%
1997 $1,725.81 2.29%
1998 $1,752.69 1.56%
1999 $1,791.40 2.21%
2000 $1,851.61 3.36%
2001 $1,904.30 2.85%
2002 $1,934.41 1.58%
2003 $1,978.49 2.28%
2004 $2,031.18 2.66%
2005 $2,100.00 3.39%
2006 $2,167.74 3.23%
2007 $2,229.48 2.85%
2008 $2,315.09 3.84%
2009 $2,306.85 -0.36%
2010 $2,344.69 1.64%
2011 $2,418.70 3.16%
2012 $2,468.75 2.07%
2013 $2,504.91 1.46%
2014 $2,545.55 1.62%
2015 $2,548.57 0.12%
2016 $2,580.72 1.26%
2017 $2,635.70 2.13%
2018 $2,701.40 2.49%
2019 $2,749.01 1.76%
2020 $2,782.92 1.23%
2021 $2,894.57 4.01%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 179 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1836 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 2,794.57% change in prices:

Conversion: 1836 dollars today
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1836 $28.95 dollars today
$5 dollars in 1836 $144.73 dollars today
$10 dollars in 1836 $289.46 dollars today
$50 dollars in 1836 $1,447.28 dollars today
$100 dollars in 1836 $2,894.57 dollars today
$500 dollars in 1836 $14,472.85 dollars today
$1,000 dollars in 1836 $28,945.70 dollars today
$5,000 dollars in 1836 $144,728.49 dollars today
$10,000 dollars in 1836 $289,456.99 dollars today
$50,000 dollars in 1836 $1,447,284.95 dollars today
$100,000 dollars in 1836 $2,894,569.89 dollars today
$500,000 dollars in 1836 $14,472,849.46 dollars today
$1,000,000 dollars in 1836 $28,945,698.92 dollars today

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £100.00 in 1836 would be equivalent to £11,716.68 in 2021, an absolute change of £11,616.68 and a cumulative change of 11,616.68%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $2,794.57 and total percent change of 2,794.57%.


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 1836 and 2021.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.84% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $100 in 1836 → 2021
Food and beverages 3.87 111,874.09 111,974.09
Housing 4.15 183,963.97 184,063.97
Apparel 1.95 3,465.37 3,565.37
Transportation 3.22 35,003.25 35,103.25
Medical care 4.69 478,431.22 478,531.22
Recreation 1.11 670.90 770.90
Education and communication 1.85 2,876.98 2,976.98
Other goods and services 4.93 735,731.01 735,831.01

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 1836. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $100 since 1836

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1836 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1836
×
1836 USD value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.3 in the year 1836 and 269.195 in 2021:

269.1959.3
×
$100
=
$2,894.57

$100 in 1836 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $2,894.57 in 2021.

To get the total inflation rate for the 185 years between 1836 and 2021, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2021 - CPI in 1836CPI in 1836
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (185 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

269.195 - 9.39.3
×
100
=
2,795%

News headlines from 1836

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

  • The siege of Alamo under the command of Mexican General Santa Anna, lasts for thirteen days and results in very few of the defenders surviving.
  • At the Battle of the Alamo Mexican soldiers kill 182-257 Texans during 13 days of fighting.
  • Mexico's independence is recognized by Spain.

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 1836 dollars today | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 10 Jun. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1836.

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 1836 to 2021
Cumulative price change 2,794.57%
Average inflation rate 1.84%
Converted amount ($100 base) $2,894.57
Price difference ($100 base) $2,794.57
CPI in 1836 9.300
CPI in 2021 269.195
Inflation in 1836 5.68%
Inflation in 2021 4.99%
$100 in 1836 $2,894.57 in 2021