$1,500 in 1858 is worth $47,631.95 today

Value of $1,500 from 1858 to 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 3,075.46% higher than average prices since 1858. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.16% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, $1,500 in 1858 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $47,631.95 in 2020, a difference of $46,131.95 over 162 years.

The 1858 inflation rate was -5.75%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 1.18%1. If this number holds, $1,500 today will be equivalent in buying power to $1,517.73 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1858 to 2020
Cumulative price change 3,075.46%
Average inflation rate 2.16%
Converted amount ($1,500 base) $47,631.95
Price difference ($1,500 base) $46,131.95
CPI in 1858 8.200
CPI in 2020 260.388
Inflation in 1858 -5.75%
Inflation in 2020 1.18%

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

Buying power of $1,500 in 1858

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1,500 in 1858 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1,500, you would need to end with $47,631.95 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1,500 is equivalent to $47,631.95 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 1858 dollars, the chart below shows how $1,500 is worth less over 162 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: 1858-2020
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1858 $1,500.00 -5.75%
1859 $1,518.29 1.22%
1860 $1,518.29 0.00%
1861 $1,609.76 6.02%
1862 $1,847.56 14.77%
1863 $2,304.88 24.75%
1864 $2,871.95 24.60%
1865 $2,981.71 3.82%
1866 $2,908.54 -2.45%
1867 $2,707.32 -6.92%
1868 $2,597.56 -4.05%
1869 $2,487.80 -4.23%
1870 $2,396.34 -3.68%
1871 $2,231.71 -6.87%
1872 $2,231.71 0.00%
1873 $2,195.12 -1.64%
1874 $2,085.37 -5.00%
1875 $2,012.20 -3.51%
1876 $1,957.32 -2.73%
1877 $1,920.73 -1.87%
1878 $1,829.27 -4.76%
1879 $1,829.27 0.00%
1880 $1,865.85 2.00%
1881 $1,865.85 0.00%
1882 $1,865.85 0.00%
1883 $1,847.56 -0.98%
1884 $1,792.68 -2.97%
1885 $1,774.39 -1.02%
1886 $1,719.51 -3.09%
1887 $1,737.80 1.06%
1888 $1,737.80 0.00%
1889 $1,682.93 -3.16%
1890 $1,664.63 -1.09%
1891 $1,664.63 0.00%
1892 $1,664.63 0.00%
1893 $1,646.34 -1.10%
1894 $1,573.17 -4.44%
1895 $1,536.59 -2.33%
1896 $1,536.59 0.00%
1897 $1,518.29 -1.19%
1898 $1,518.29 0.00%
1899 $1,518.29 0.00%
1900 $1,536.59 1.20%
1901 $1,554.88 1.19%
1902 $1,573.17 1.18%
1903 $1,609.76 2.33%
1904 $1,628.05 1.14%
1905 $1,609.76 -1.12%
1906 $1,646.34 2.27%
1907 $1,719.51 4.44%
1908 $1,682.93 -2.13%
1909 $1,664.63 -1.09%
1910 $1,737.80 4.40%
1911 $1,737.80 0.00%
1912 $1,774.39 2.11%
1913 $1,810.98 2.06%
1914 $1,829.27 1.01%
1915 $1,847.56 1.00%
1916 $1,993.90 7.92%
1917 $2,341.46 17.43%
1918 $2,762.20 17.97%
1919 $3,164.63 14.57%
1920 $3,658.54 15.61%
1921 $3,274.39 -10.50%
1922 $3,073.17 -6.15%
1923 $3,128.05 1.79%
1924 $3,128.05 0.00%
1925 $3,201.22 2.34%
1926 $3,237.80 1.14%
1927 $3,182.93 -1.69%
1928 $3,128.05 -1.72%
1929 $3,128.05 0.00%
1930 $3,054.88 -2.34%
1931 $2,780.49 -8.98%
1932 $2,506.10 -9.87%
1933 $2,378.05 -5.11%
1934 $2,451.22 3.08%
1935 $2,506.10 2.24%
1936 $2,542.68 1.46%
1937 $2,634.15 3.60%
1938 $2,579.27 -2.08%
1939 $2,542.68 -1.42%
1940 $2,560.98 0.72%
1941 $2,689.02 5.00%
1942 $2,981.71 10.88%
1943 $3,164.63 6.13%
1944 $3,219.51 1.73%
1945 $3,292.68 2.27%
1946 $3,567.07 8.33%
1947 $4,079.27 14.36%
1948 $4,408.54 8.07%
1949 $4,353.66 -1.24%
1950 $4,408.54 1.26%
1951 $4,756.10 7.88%
1952 $4,847.56 1.92%
1953 $4,884.15 0.75%
1954 $4,920.73 0.75%
1955 $4,902.44 -0.37%
1956 $4,975.61 1.49%
1957 $5,140.24 3.31%
1958 $5,286.59 2.85%
1959 $5,323.17 0.69%
1960 $5,414.63 1.72%
1961 $5,469.51 1.01%
1962 $5,524.39 1.00%
1963 $5,597.56 1.32%
1964 $5,670.73 1.31%
1965 $5,762.20 1.61%
1966 $5,926.83 2.86%
1967 $6,109.76 3.09%
1968 $6,365.85 4.19%
1969 $6,713.41 5.46%
1970 $7,097.56 5.72%
1971 $7,408.54 4.38%
1972 $7,646.34 3.21%
1973 $8,121.95 6.22%
1974 $9,018.29 11.04%
1975 $9,841.46 9.13%
1976 $10,408.54 5.76%
1977 $11,085.37 6.50%
1978 $11,926.83 7.59%
1979 $13,280.49 11.35%
1980 $15,073.17 13.50%
1981 $16,628.05 10.32%
1982 $17,652.44 6.16%
1983 $18,219.51 3.21%
1984 $19,006.10 4.32%
1985 $19,682.93 3.56%
1986 $20,048.78 1.86%
1987 $20,780.49 3.65%
1988 $21,640.24 4.14%
1989 $22,682.93 4.82%
1990 $23,908.54 5.40%
1991 $24,914.63 4.21%
1992 $25,664.63 3.01%
1993 $26,432.93 2.99%
1994 $27,109.76 2.56%
1995 $27,878.05 2.83%
1996 $28,701.22 2.95%
1997 $29,359.76 2.29%
1998 $29,817.07 1.56%
1999 $30,475.61 2.21%
2000 $31,500.00 3.36%
2001 $32,396.34 2.85%
2002 $32,908.54 1.58%
2003 $33,658.54 2.28%
2004 $34,554.88 2.66%
2005 $35,725.61 3.39%
2006 $36,878.05 3.23%
2007 $37,928.41 2.85%
2008 $39,384.70 3.84%
2009 $39,244.57 -0.36%
2010 $39,888.29 1.64%
2011 $41,147.38 3.16%
2012 $41,998.90 2.07%
2013 $42,614.09 1.46%
2014 $43,305.37 1.62%
2015 $43,356.77 0.12%
2016 $43,903.72 1.26%
2017 $44,839.02 2.13%
2018 $45,956.71 2.49%
2019 $46,766.62 1.76%
2020 $47,631.95 1.85%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 156 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1858 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 3,075.46% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar today
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1858 $31.75 dollars today
$5 dollars in 1858 $158.77 dollars today
$10 dollars in 1858 $317.55 dollars today
$50 dollars in 1858 $1,587.73 dollars today
$100 dollars in 1858 $3,175.46 dollars today
$500 dollars in 1858 $15,877.32 dollars today
$1,000 dollars in 1858 $31,754.63 dollars today
$5,000 dollars in 1858 $158,773.17 dollars today
$10,000 dollars in 1858 $317,546.34 dollars today
$50,000 dollars in 1858 $1,587,731.71 dollars today
$100,000 dollars in 1858 $3,175,463.41 dollars today
$500,000 dollars in 1858 $15,877,317.07 dollars today
$1,000,000 dollars in 1858 $31,754,634.15 dollars today

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1,500.00 in 1858 would be equivalent to £187,622.53 in 2020, an absolute change of £186,122.53 and a cumulative change of 12,408.17%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $46,131.95 and total percent change of 3,075.46%.


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 1858 and 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.16% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1,500 in 1858 → 2020
Food and beverages 3.90 49,226.33 739,894.91
Housing 4.19 77,272.36 1,160,585.34
Apparel 1.96 2,211.67 34,675.07
Transportation 3.17 15,507.72 234,115.79
Medical care 5.12 325,983.89 4,891,258.32
Recreation 1.10 488.35 8,825.21
Education and communication 1.84 1,826.67 28,900.01
Other goods and services 4.98 264,291.61 3,965,874.08

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 1858. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1,500 since 1858

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1858 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1858
×
1858 USD value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.2 in the year 1858 and 260.388 in 2020:

260.3888.2
×
$1,500
=
$47,631.95

$1,500 in 1858 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $47,631.95 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 162 years between 1858 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1858CPI in 1858
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (162 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

260.388 - 8.28.2
×
100
=
3,075%

News headlines from 1858

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

  • Fourteen-year-old Bernadette of Lourdes had her first vision of the Virgin Mary.
  • Recasting begins of "Big Ben" in the Tower of Westminster. Big ben weighs over 13 tons.
  • Abraham Lincoln accepts the Republican Party's nomination for Senate, saying: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
  • Transfer of the Government of India to the British Crown.

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: “$1,500 in 1858 → 2020 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 4 Dec. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1858?amount=1500.

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 1858 to 2020
Cumulative price change 3,075.46%
Average inflation rate 2.16%
Converted amount ($1,500 base) $47,631.95
Price difference ($1,500 base) $46,131.95
CPI in 1858 8.200
CPI in 2020 260.388
Inflation in 1858 -5.75%
Inflation in 2020 1.18%