$1 in 2021 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $0.15 today, an increase of $-0.85 over 50 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.90% per year between 1971 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of -85.24%.

This means that today's prices are 85.24% lower than average prices since 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index. A dollar today only buys 666.67% of what it could buy back then.

The 1971 inflation rate was 4.38%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2020 to 2021) is now 5.39%^{1}.
If this number holds, $1 today will be equivalent in buying power to $1.05 next year.
The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest inflation rates.

Contents

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Cumulative price change | -85.24% |

Average inflation rate | 3.90% |

Converted amount ($1 base) | $0.15 |

Price difference ($1 base) | $-0.85 |

CPI in 2021 | 274.310 |

CPI in 1971 | 40.500 |

Inflation in 1971 | 4.38% |

Inflation in 2021 | 5.39% |

$1 in 2021 | $0.15 in 1971 |

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1971 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $0.15 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1 is equivalent to $0.15 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 1971 dollars, the chart below shows how $1 is worth less over 50 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:

This conversion table shows various other 1971 amounts in today's dollars, based on the -85.24% change in prices:

Initial value | Equivalent value |
---|---|

$1 dollar in 1971 | $6.77 dollars today |

$5 dollars in 1971 | $33.87 dollars today |

$10 dollars in 1971 | $67.73 dollars today |

$50 dollars in 1971 | $338.65 dollars today |

$100 dollars in 1971 | $677.31 dollars today |

$500 dollars in 1971 | $3,386.54 dollars today |

$1,000 dollars in 1971 | $6,773.09 dollars today |

$5,000 dollars in 1971 | $33,865.43 dollars today |

$10,000 dollars in 1971 | $67,730.86 dollars today |

$50,000 dollars in 1971 | $338,654.32 dollars today |

$100,000 dollars in 1971 | $677,308.64 dollars today |

$500,000 dollars in 1971 | $3,386,543.21 dollars today |

$1,000,000 dollars in 1971 | $6,773,086.42 dollars today |

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 2021 would be equivalent to £0.07 in 1971, an absolute change of £-0.93 and a cumulative change of -93.10%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 2021 would be equivalent to CA$0.16 in 1971, an absolute change of CA$-0.84 and a cumulative change of -84.50%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $-0.85 and total percent change of -85.24%.

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 2021 and 1971.

Compare these values to the overall average of 3.90% per year:

Category | Avg Inflation (%) | Total Inflation (%) | $1 in 1971 → 2021 |
---|---|---|---|

Food and beverages | 3.85 | 562.74 | 6.63 |

Housing | 4.07 | 633.61 | 7.34 |

Apparel | 1.37 | 97.18 | 1.97 |

Transportation | 3.55 | 472.94 | 5.73 |

Medical care | 5.49 | 1,349.93 | 14.50 |

Recreation | 1.13 | 75.66 | 1.76 |

Education and communication | 1.83 | 147.84 | 2.48 |

Other goods and services | 4.92 | 1,004.82 | 11.05 |

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 2021. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1971 and today:

CPI in 1971
CPI today

×

2021 USD value

=

Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 274.31 in the year 2021 and 40.5 in 1971:

40.5274.31

×

$1

=

$1 in 2021 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $0.15 in 1971.

To get the total inflation rate for the 50 years between 1971 and 2021, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1971 - CPI in 2021CPI in 2021

×

100

=

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

40.5 - 274.31274.31

×

100

=

The above data describe the CPI for all items. Also of note is the **Core CPI**, which measures inflation for all items except for the more volatile categories of food and energy.
Core inflation averaged 3.80% per year between 2021 and 1971 (vs all-CPI inflation of 3.90%), for an inflation total of 544.43%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 2021 is equivalent in buying power to $6.44 in 1971, a difference of $5.44. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $0.15 with a difference of $-0.85.

In 2021, core inflation was 4.69%.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “$1 in 2021 → 1971 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 28 Oct. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/2021?endYear=1971&amount=1.

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

Cumulative price change | -85.24% |

Average inflation rate | 3.90% |

Converted amount ($1 base) | $0.15 |

Price difference ($1 base) | $-0.85 |

CPI in 2021 | 274.310 |

CPI in 1971 | 40.500 |

Inflation in 1971 | 4.38% |

Inflation in 2021 | 5.39% |

$1 in 2021 | $0.15 in 1971 |