$1 in 1940 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.16 in 1942, an increase of $0.16 over 2 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 7.90% per year between 1940 and 1942, producing a cumulative price increase of 16.43%.

This means that prices in 1942 are 1.16 times higher than average prices since 1940, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The 1940 inflation rate was 0.72%. The inflation rate in 1942 was 10.88%. The 1942 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 3.64% per year between 1942 and 2021.

Contents

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Cumulative price change | 16.43% |

Average inflation rate | 7.90% |

Converted amount ($1 base) | $1.16 |

Price difference ($1 base) | $0.16 |

CPI in 1940 | 14.000 |

CPI in 1942 | 16.300 |

Inflation in 1940 | 0.72% |

Inflation in 1942 | 10.88% |

$1 in 1940 | $1.16 in 1942 |

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $1 in 1940 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $1, you would need to end with $1.16 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $1 is equivalent to $1.16 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 1940 dollars, the chart below shows how $1 is worth less over 2 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 1940 amounts in 1942 dollars, based on the 16.43% change in prices:

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

$1 dollar in 1940 | $1.16 dollars in 1942 |

$5 dollars in 1940 | $5.82 dollars in 1942 |

$10 dollars in 1940 | $11.64 dollars in 1942 |

$50 dollars in 1940 | $58.21 dollars in 1942 |

$100 dollars in 1940 | $116.43 dollars in 1942 |

$500 dollars in 1940 | $582.14 dollars in 1942 |

$1,000 dollars in 1940 | $1,164.29 dollars in 1942 |

$5,000 dollars in 1940 | $5,821.43 dollars in 1942 |

$10,000 dollars in 1940 | $11,642.86 dollars in 1942 |

$50,000 dollars in 1940 | $58,214.29 dollars in 1942 |

$100,000 dollars in 1940 | $116,428.57 dollars in 1942 |

$500,000 dollars in 1940 | $582,142.86 dollars in 1942 |

$1,000,000 dollars in 1940 | $1,164,285.71 dollars in 1942 |

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1940 to 1942 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

**Seattle, Washington**: 9.27% average rate, $1 → $1.19, cumulative change of 19.39%**San Francisco, California**: 8.71% average rate, $1 → $1.18, cumulative change of 18.17%**Detroit, Michigan**: 8.63% average rate, $1 → $1.18, cumulative change of 18.00%**Philadelphia, Pennsylvania**: 8.05% average rate, $1 → $1.17, cumulative change of 16.74%**Atlanta, Georgia**: 7.80% average rate, $1 → $1.16, cumulative change of 16.22%**Chicago, Illinois**: 7.57% average rate, $1 → $1.16, cumulative change of 15.71%**Boston, Massachusetts**: 7.51% average rate, $1 → $1.16, cumulative change of 15.59%**Houston, Texas**: 7.35% average rate, $1 → $1.15, cumulative change of 15.25%**New York**: 6.64% average rate, $1 → $1.14, cumulative change of 13.72%

Seattle, Washington experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 2 years between 1940 and 1942 (9.27%).

New York experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 2 years between 1940 and 1942 (6.64%).

Note that some locations showing 0% inflation may have not yet reported latest data.

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1940 would be equivalent to £1.19 in 1942, an absolute change of £0.19 and a cumulative change of 18.81%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 1940 would be equivalent to CA$1.10 in 1942, an absolute change of CA$0.10 and a cumulative change of 9.76%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.16 and total percent change of 16.43%.

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 1940 and 1942.

Compare these values to the overall average of 7.90% per year:

Category | Avg Inflation (%) | Total Inflation (%) | $1 in 1940 → 1942 |
---|---|---|---|

Food and beverages | 0.00 | 0.00 | 1.00 |

Housing | 0.00 | 0.00 | 1.00 |

Apparel | 10.63 | 22.40 | 1.22 |

Transportation | 6.14 | 12.66 | 1.13 |

Medical care | 1.82 | 3.67 | 1.04 |

Recreation | 0.00 | 0.00 | 1.00 |

Education and communication | 0.00 | 0.00 | 1.00 |

Other goods and services | 0.00 | 0.00 | 1.00 |

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 1940. 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 1940 and 1942:

CPI in 1942
CPI in 1940

×

1940 USD value

=

1942 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 14 in the year 1940 and 16.3 in 1942:

16.314

×

$1

=

$1 in 1940 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.16 in 1942.

To get the total inflation rate for the 2 years between 1940 and 1942, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1942 - CPI in 1940CPI in 1940

×

100

=

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

16.3 - 1414

×

100

=

The average inflation rate of 7.90% has a compounding effect between 1940 and 1942. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 16.43% over 2 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 1940, our investment would be * nominally* worth approximately $1.01 in 1942. This is a return on investment of 0.80%, with an absolute return of $0.01 on top of the original $1.

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 14.11% of returns ($0.14) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted * real* return of our $1 investment is $-0.13. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $0 for most people.

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

Nominal |
$1 | $1.01 | 0.80% |

RealInflation Adjusted |
$1 | $0.87 | -13.42% |

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 1940 to latest available data for 1942 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1940 and 1942, see the stock market returns calculator.

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: “$1 in 1940 → 1942 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1940?amount=1&endYear=1942.

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 | 16.43% |

Average inflation rate | 7.90% |

Converted amount ($1 base) | $1.16 |

Price difference ($1 base) | $0.16 |

CPI in 1940 | 14.000 |

CPI in 1942 | 16.300 |

Inflation in 1940 | 0.72% |

Inflation in 1942 | 10.88% |

$1 in 1940 | $1.16 in 1942 |