Historical Inflation Calculator – What’s a Past Dollar Worth Today?

The historical inflation calculator allows you to see the affects of inflation over specific periods of time in the past.


If you have spent any time with your elders you have probably heard them say a million times things like “a coke used to be a dime” or “a movie ticket used to be a quarter”.  In other words a dollar in their day went a lot further, and is worth less now because of inflation.

 

How do you use the Historical Inflation Calculator?

You’ll need to put in the following information:

Start Year (1913-2010): Enter the year for which you start off with a cost or an income figure into the historical inflation calculator. If you are comparing your income of twenty years ago for instance, then you would enter 1990 here.

Dollar Amount In Start Year ($): This is the figure (without commas) for your cost or income in the start year. In our example, for an income of forty thousand dollars, enter 40000 into the historical inflation calculator.

End Year (1913-2010): Enter the year for which you want to see how inflation affected the cost or income during the time elapsed from the Start Year. You can enter 2010 (the latest year available) for a figure that will be close to the result for today, for example. The calculator uses the actual inflation rate, which changes from year to year.  With this in mind using the calculator to calculate inflation for the 20 year period 1980 to 2000 will not give you the same result as the 20 year period from 1990 to 2010.

Equivalent Purchasing Power: When you’ve entered in the data above and clicked on “Calculate”, this is the result.  The historical inflation calculator tells you what the equivalent cost or income in the End Year would have been for the original amount in the Start Year in order to have the same purchasing power.

What are the limitations of the Historical Inflation Calculator?

Although the calculator takes into account the changes in the rate of inflation over past years, it can only indicate a general result for the changes in purchasing power in the past. For example, specific items such as college education have shown dramatically different changes in cost over the last few years, compared to the average figure for change shown here.

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