Visualizing The Buying Power Of The U.S. Dollar Over The Last Century

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jeff Desjardins of Visual Capitalist,

The value of money is not static. In the short term, it may ebb and flow against other currencies on the market. In the long-term, a currency tends to lose buying power over time through inflation, and as more currency units are created.

Inflation is a result of too much money chasing too few goods – and it is often influenced by government policies, central banks, and other factors. In this short timeline of monetary history in the 20th century, we look at major events, the change in money supply, and the buying power of the U.S. dollar in each decade.

Here is a visual guide to the buying power of $1 over the past century:

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


At the turn of the 20th century, the money supply was just $7 billion. Today there are literally 1,900X more dollars in existence.

While economic growth has meant we all make many more dollars today, it is still phenomenal to think that during past moments in the 20th century, a dollar could buy a pair of leather shoes or a women’s house dress.

The buying power of a dollar has changed significantly over the last century, but it’s important to recognize that it could change even faster (up or down) under the right economic circumstances.

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Skateboarder's picture

From the $1 gallon of milk generation, those patent leather boots sure look nice.  :-)

Kefeer's picture

1 gallon of milk had nutrients; today's gallon tastes like water.

space shitle's picture
space shitle (not verified) Kefeer Apr 6, 2017 6:26 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

ultraticum's picture

Inflation is a monetary phenomenon.  Period.

wren's picture

Good article, but it fails to go over how we've exported our inflation. Sure, printing more money makes it so there is a higher ratio of money to product, thereby raising costs. But when our freely printed money is shipped to foreign countries in exchange for goods, we're exporting our inflation.

But what will happen to the value of our currency if other countries finally decide that they are done with the US Dollar? Or what happens when the money returns home?

Madison's_Ghost's picture

I dont remember being able to buy a gallon of milk for $1 in the 90s....80s maybe.

DetectiveStern's picture

1 GBP used to be redeemable for 1 pound of silver hence pound sterling. Now a pound of silver would set you back around 224 GBP!

Miss Informed's picture

The sovereign at nearly 1/4 ounce of gold was created to be the equivalent value of a pound sterling and be easier to keep and transport.

Agstacker's picture

And that's the manipulated silver price...

hardmedicine's picture

















Taint Boil's picture

You're not going to believe this but I am going to Marfa and I'm looking for roommates ..... unbelievable! Please post your credit card number so I can get the tickets rolling .... no need to pick me up I'll just get a rental. Do you have beer?

hardmedicine's picture

HAHA ,, good one.... glad you won't be missed in Marfa


indygo55's picture

Hey! What's this Marfa thing. Looks cool and I'm available. Can you do a private chat later today? I may be in for a vacation. Thanks



lakecity55's picture

"Blog Site Party Droned In Texas"
"Details at 11!"

Kefeer's picture

Tyler's - please remove this dishonest shill.

hardmedicine's picture


hardmedicine's picture



inosent's picture

Uncle Scam gettin it done for you, baby.

detached.amusement's picture

"Don't that shit make ya mad, right?"

-Richard Pryor

Shibboleth's picture

The Fed's message is: BUY MORE SHIT!

Bear's picture

As a percent of the Money Supply, we are in hog heaven 7 Bil to 14,000 Bil = 2000x ... that 1$ shoe should should be $2,000 ... quite a shoe

in 1905 my grandfather bough a house in Minneapolis for $7,000, big house in Wayzata today the same house goes for 1.5 million ... only 214x

Based upon Money Supply, better to live today ... besides, iPhone were pretty rudimentary in 1900 

East Indian's picture

That shows that only a small portion of the money so recklessly created has come into general circulation; a substantial portion is grabbed by the oligarchs, which made them oligarchs in the first place. All those unicorns are attempts to create new oligarchs.

The traditional plutocrats of America who made their money in manufacturing are now being pushed back by the 'air backed money' creators, and their fancy horses like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. In a gold standard, you cannot issue yourself 1,000,000 shares, sell two shares at $1,000 each and then pretend you are billionaire.

indygo55's picture

Right! And a lot of those dollars are digital. They are holed up in financial "assets" and thus we have these financial bubbles. No where is that bubble bigger then in the bond market but the equity markets are pretty massive too. The thing is the old saying "There is no alternative" is the pervasive term to keep these captured participants in the markets. Psychology plays a huge role as the FED "leaders" jostle and churn our collective minds with frequent and coordinated FED SPEAK keeping us confused and concerned. When the international community uses other currencies and gold to settle trade is when things get serious. That's happening now. Only a few years ago that would be an act of war but the countries doing that are now very powerful and our (US) aggression is getting major push back. Our media will not report on such atrocities in truthful manners but the internet reveals the truth if you know where to look. 

armageddon addahere's picture

The money supply has increased but the supply of goods has increased too. If the number of dollars is up 1900X but the prices are up only 100X that means the amount of goods must be up 19X. Since the population is up 3X that means the amount of goods per person must be up 6.33X. Sounds about right.

lakecity55's picture

1913: 1 dollar=1 dollar.
2013: 1 dollar=5 cents.

silvermail's picture

In 1913, a working man, he could financially support a large family.
In 2017, two employees - a husband and a woman, can not financially support a large family.
All the rest is just words and figures from the evil one.

css1971's picture

The question is who gets the bulk of that benefit, and how do you prevent it being directed away from you?


Answer; avoid keeping and holding your value in money.

drdolittle's picture

That's progress. Assembly line shoes instead of hand made. Shoe should be 25 cents instead of a dollar but now it's $100. Same for the house and everything else, we should be benefitting from increased productivity (to an extent we are but both parents are working outisde the home now too).

Bear's picture

1920 ... 5 lbs. of sugar was $1.00

Today closing in Chicago 6.2 lbs. of sugar for $1.00

Not so sweet

indygo55's picture

I bet thats if you bought like a ton at a time. The article I believe refers to what the retail price is. But you are right. 

whatisthat's picture

I would observe no new data here.....

alphasammae's picture

wasn't McDonalds advertizing for a  Burger, fries and Coke meal for $0.99 served in less than 1 minute or get the meal free? I believe this was available in 1969.

alphasammae's picture

wasn't McDonalds advertizing for a  Burger, fries and Coke meal for $0.99 served in less than 1 minute or get the meal free? I believe this was available in 1975.

lakecity55's picture

I remember when Hardee's hamburgers were 10 cents and bigger.

For like 50 cents you could get a burger, fries, coke.

These debt notes they make us use today are a joke; the Banksters are still laughing at us serfs!

1970: Mr President, DeGaulle is on to our dollar scam! He wants Gold!
Nixon: What are my orders, PTB?
TPTB: Close the Gold Window! We'll just issue straight fiats!
T. Dick: What will we do for cash?
TPTB: We'll just print up as much as we need and use the military to overthrow anyone who does not want to use them. We'll have Hank Kissinger get the Saudis to only sell Oil in dollars! Everyone will need them!



just the tip's picture

you might want to re-visit your screenplay, before submitting it to the studios.

deGaulle left office in '69 and died in '70.

you may want to, or not, include a part about how deGaulle hated america.  had he lived, he'd fit right in with some ZH commenters.

Old Hippie Patriot's picture

DeGaulle was a nationalist. I think he closed all the US military bases in France, similar to the ones in Germany at the time.

Rich Monk's picture

In 1967 at McDonalds, a burger, and fries sold for $.15 each, a VW bug, new, sold for $1,700.00. A gallon of gas - $.35.

Fake Trump's picture

Buy Made in America. Pay more for less.  

Xena fobe's picture

Buy made in China to fund Chinese colonization of the planet.

CatsPaw's picture

Its a good way to make sure people work all their lives instead of half of it.

AE911Truth's picture


The combined effect of the fifty to one degradation of the value of our currency, and the fifty to one suppression of the quality (E.R.O.E.I.) of our energy is not additive, but multiplicative, meaning the effect of the combination of these offenses is 2,500 to one. Stated simply, what takes us a lifetime to earn would take us one week to earn if it were not for the combined effects of massively devalued currency and massively overpriced energy.


BitchezGonnaBitch's picture

"Brilliant Light has solved the theory, confirmed Hydrino reaction products by many analytical techniques, and identified Hydrino as the pervasive dark matter of the universe."

I'll be honest - I have my doubts here, there is a significant leap, or two, in the above statement (unless I can assess & validate the actual work).

Sure, it'll be awesome to see what is essentially a source of free energy, but I'd be keen to see more about methodology and principles involved. Also, dark matter is a theory far from validated; it's flimsy, even. What they say here would not only offer a commercial solution but solve a problem physicists have been grappling with for decades so it's certainly a very bold thing to say.

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Indeed, it remains to be seen. I followed the E-Cat for years thinking it could be the thing, but it turned out to be vaporware. Though some continue to pump money into the research.

BrilliantLight may be able to generate light but what about the longevity of the mechanism? They recently announced a breakthrough on this nagging problem, real or coverup? What about the rates of the electrical conversion process? Very hazy at this point. Not saying that it's bunk, but there have been countless energy projects like this and there have been zero real deal solutions to date. I agree it will happen eventually, but I will not promote a project as "it" until it is proven. Period. That means at a minimum they're granted a patent and then have a truly independent party replicate ALL of the processes.

lakecity55's picture

I am issuing Gold Challenge Coins for Marfa!

Call 1800 WHITE MAN and leave your CC number!
Oh, yes, uhh, err, add your address.

Actually, it should be a good meet-up.

css1971's picture

Yeah, I mean this is basically "the system".


What they should have done is shown how the value of for example commodity money would have compared.

Kefeer's picture

1925 - 2 ozt silver fills a 15-gallon tank with gas.

1955 - 2 ozt silver fills a 15-gallon tank with gas.

1975 - 2 ozt silver fills a 15-gallon tank with gas.

1995 - 2 ozt silver fills a 15-gallon tank with gas.

2005 - 2 ozt silver fills a 15-gallon tank with gas.

2015 - 2 ozt silver fills a 15-gallon tank with gas.

Keep stacking!

moorewasthebestbond's picture

2017 - 2 ozt gold buys you the gas station.

Rich Monk's picture

In the beginning, 1913, the Federal Reserve (Zionist Jewish organized crime syndicate) and Federal Income tax act are created. The destruction of the USA begins it's slide. The Zionist push for their "Greater Israel" project slowly moves forward.

hootowl's picture

Under the evil FED, the destruction of the USA was/is a certainty, right from the day of its conception.  The Zionist/Khazarian/Babylonian deception is nearly complete.


The ascension of the Faux-Hebrew "Handlers" to power in the Trump WH do not bode well for the continued existence of our constitutional republic.  The Orthodox Jew Jerod Kushner is rising to be the new "Mandel House", propelled into a position of power by the influence of his wife, Ivanka.  Trump is having the wool pulled over his eyes by master deceivers.