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Q: Wealth Comparison Through the Years ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Wealth Comparison Through the Years
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: joearchivist-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 21 Jul 2004 13:20 PDT
Expires: 20 Aug 2004 13:20 PDT
Question ID: 377279
I am trying to conduct some intertemporal wealth comparisons. 
Basically, I would like to find out what a dollar in any given year
would be worth today. For example, if someone earned $5,000 in 1920,
what is that in 2004 dollars?  The period in question would be from
the 1890s to the present.  Is there a website or other resource like
the Department of Labor which has a conversion chart?
Subject: Re: Wealth Comparison Through the Years
Answered By: rainbow-ga on 21 Jul 2004 14:32 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi joearchivist,

The following is the result of my research for online databases that
calculate and compare the value of the dollar between today and in
past years.

-How Much Is That Worth Today?-

"Comparing the purchasing power of money in the United States (or
colonies) from 1665 to 2003.
To determine the value of an amount of money in one year compared to
another, enter the values in the appropriate places below. For
example, you may want to know: How much money would you need today to
have the same "purchasing power" of $500 in year 1970 If you entered
these values in the correct places, you will find that the answer is
You can make this computation among all the years between 1665 and 2003."

How much money in the year ---- has the same "purchasing power" as $
---- in the year ----?

I entered the following data as an example: 

How much money in the year 2003 has the same "purchasing power" as
$1000 in the year 1890?

The result is:

$20189.36 in the year 2003 has the same "purchase power" as $1000 in the year 1890.

Economic History Services


-What is a Dollar Worth?-

Directions: Enter years as 4 digits (i.e. 1913) through 2004. Enter
dollar amount without commas or $ sign in box on first line. Click
Calculate button to compute dollar amount shown on second line.

If in ----(year) 
I bought goods or services for $ ----  ,
then in ----(year) 
the same goods or services would cost $ ----

*Limited to years from 1913 to 2004. 
*Data from consumer price indexes for all major expenditure class items. 
*An estimate for 2004 is based on the change in the CPI from first
quarter 2003 to first quarter 2004.

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: CPI Calculator


-The Inflation Calculator-

The following form adjusts any given amount of money for inflation,
according to the Consumer Price Index, from 1800 to 2003.

I entered the following as an example

Enter the amount of money: $1000  

Enter the initial year (1800-2003): 1850 

Enter the final year (1800-2003): 2003

The result:

What cost $1000 in 1850 would cost $21109.69 in 2003. 

Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2003 and 1850,
they would cost you $1000 and $47.37 respectively.

The Inflation Calculator


-Inflation Calculator-  

For the years 1913 - 2004.

$ ----
in ---- (year)
has the same buying power as
$ ----
in ----(year).

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Consumer Price Indexes


Some directories you may find useful:

Current Value of Old Money

Duke University Library: Reference Resources - Calculators

Search criteria:
dollar any given year worth today

I hope the information provided is helpful. If you have any questions
regarding my answer please don?t hesitate to ask before rating it.

Best regards,
joearchivist-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Excellent!!  Thanks very much.

Subject: Re: Wealth Comparison Through the Years
From: neilzero-ga on 21 Jul 2004 19:10 PDT
Any calculation will have a small error as the purchasing power of the
dollar is in comodities and services; but how much of which services
and comodities? Shoeing 6 horses. Ten miners type carbide lamps. One
hour of piano instruction. Baby sitting service from 9pm to 2 am July
4 to July 5th. 25 washboards of the same size.  One acre of Florida
swampland at the west end of the Buchman Bridge just South of
Jacksonville, Florida which is now occupied by the Interstate 295
meridium. Obviously many items in common use in recent years had not
been invented in 1890 and surounding conditions have modified the
value as well as inflation.   Neil

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