$5,000 in 1894 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $137,800.58 in 2015, an increase of $132,800.58 over 121 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.78% per year between 1894 and 2015, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,656.01%.

This means that prices in 2015 are 27.56 times higher than average prices since 1894, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The 1894 inflation rate was -4.44%. The inflation rate in 2015 was 0.12%. The 2015 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.47% per year between 2015 and 2021.

Contents

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Cumulative price change | 2,656.01% |

Average inflation rate | 2.78% |

Converted amount ($5,000 base) | $137,800.58 |

Price difference ($5,000 base) | $132,800.58 |

CPI in 1894 | 8.600 |

CPI in 2015 | 237.017 |

Inflation in 1894 | -4.44% |

Inflation in 2015 | 0.12% |

$5,000 in 1894 | $137,800.58 in 2015 |

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $5,000 in 1894 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $5,000, you would need to end with $137,800.58 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $5,000 is equivalent to $137,800.58 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 1894 dollars, the chart below shows how $5,000 is worth less over 121 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 1894 amounts in 2015 dollars, based on the 2,656.01% change in prices:

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

$1 dollar in 1894 | $27.56 dollars in 2015 |

$5 dollars in 1894 | $137.80 dollars in 2015 |

$10 dollars in 1894 | $275.60 dollars in 2015 |

$50 dollars in 1894 | $1,378.01 dollars in 2015 |

$100 dollars in 1894 | $2,756.01 dollars in 2015 |

$500 dollars in 1894 | $13,780.06 dollars in 2015 |

$1,000 dollars in 1894 | $27,560.12 dollars in 2015 |

$5,000 dollars in 1894 | $137,800.58 dollars in 2015 |

$10,000 dollars in 1894 | $275,601.16 dollars in 2015 |

$50,000 dollars in 1894 | $1,378,005.81 dollars in 2015 |

$100,000 dollars in 1894 | $2,756,011.63 dollars in 2015 |

$500,000 dollars in 1894 | $13,780,058.14 dollars in 2015 |

$1,000,000 dollars in 1894 | $27,560,116.28 dollars in 2015 |

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £5,000.00 in 1894 would be equivalent to £586,206.90 in 2015, an absolute change of £581,206.90 and a cumulative change of 11,624.14%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $132,800.58 and total percent change of 2,656.01%.

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 1894 and 2015.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.78% per year:

Category | Avg Inflation (%) | Total Inflation (%) | $5,000 in 1894 → 2015 |
---|---|---|---|

Food and beverages | 4.15 | 13,660.86 | 688,042.88 |

Housing | 4.35 | 17,243.64 | 867,182.05 |

Apparel | 2.11 | 1,157.47 | 62,873.32 |

Transportation | 3.36 | 5,324.99 | 271,249.54 |

Medical care | 4.84 | 30,289.11 | 1,519,455.37 |

Recreation | 1.12 | 282.64 | 19,132.16 |

Education and communication | 2.20 | 1,296.94 | 69,846.79 |

Other goods and services | 5.28 | 50,595.94 | 2,534,796.90 |

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 1894. 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 1894 and 2015:

CPI in 2015
CPI in 1894

×

1894 USD value

=

2015 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 8.6 in the year 1894 and 237.017 in 2015:

237.0178.6

×

$5,000

=

$5,000 in 1894 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $137,800.58 in 2015.

To get the total inflation rate for the 121 years between 1894 and 2015, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2015 - CPI in 1894CPI in 1894

×

100

=

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

237.017 - 8.68.6

×

100

=

The average inflation rate of 2.78% has a compounding effect between 1894 and 2015. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,656.01% over 121 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $5,000 in the S&P 500 index in 1894, our investment would be * nominally* worth approximately $359,126,837.92 in 2015. This is a return on investment of 7,182,436.76%, with an absolute return of $359,121,837.92 on top of the original $5,000.

These numbers are not inflation adjusted, so they are considered *nominal*. In order to evaluate the *real* return on our investment, we must calculate the return with inflation taken into account.

The compounding effect of inflation would account for 96.37% of returns ($346,096,165.84) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted * real* return of our $5,000 investment is $13,025,672.09. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $11,071,821 for most people.

Original Amount | Final Amount | Change | |
---|---|---|---|

Nominal |
$5,000 | $359,126,837.92 | 7,182,436.76% |

RealInflation Adjusted |
$5,000 | $13,030,672.09 | 260,513.44% |

Information displayed above may differ slightly from other S&P 500 calculators. Minor discrepancies can occur because we use the latest CPI data for inflation, annualized inflation numbers for previous years, and we compute S&P price and dividends from January of 1894 to latest available data for 2015 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1894 and 2015, see the stock market returns calculator.

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

- Thomas Edison's kinetoscope is shown to the public for the first time.
- Initiated by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the International Olympic Committee is founded in Paris.
- Shibasaburo Kitasato, a Japanese scientist, discovers the cause of the Bubonic Plague and publishes his discovery in ‘The Lancet’.
- The first ever drink driving fine, is delivered to a London taxi driver called George Smith.
- Doctor Roux of Paris announces the creation of a diphtheria vaccine.

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (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: “$5,000 in 1894 → 2015 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 17 Oct. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/1894-dollars-in-2015?amount=5000.

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

in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.

Cumulative price change | 2,656.01% |

Average inflation rate | 2.78% |

Converted amount ($5,000 base) | $137,800.58 |

Price difference ($5,000 base) | $132,800.58 |

CPI in 1894 | 8.600 |

CPI in 2015 | 237.017 |

Inflation in 1894 | -4.44% |

Inflation in 2015 | 0.12% |

$5,000 in 1894 | $137,800.58 in 2015 |