Purchasing Power of the U.S. Dollar Over Time

1 Credit

The purchasing power of a currency is the amount of goods and services that can be bought with one unit of the currency.

For example, one U.S. dollar could buy 10 bottles of beer in 1933. Today, it’s the cost of a small McDonald’s coffee. In other words, the purchasing power of the dollar—its value in terms of what it can buy—has decreased over time as price levels have risen.

Visualization type: Area chart

Purchasing Power of the U.S. Dollar Over Time

The purchasing power of a currency is the amount of goods and services that can be bought with one unit of the currency.

For example, one U.S. dollar could buy 10 bottles of beer in 1933. Today, it’s the cost of a small McDonald’s coffee. In other words, the purchasing power of the dollar—its value in terms of what it can buy—has decreased over time as price levels have risen.


First published: April 6, 2021 (link)

Source files included: .ai, .eps, .pdf

Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics – Consumer Price Index, Morris County Library of Historic Prices

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