THIS SITE HAS BEEN REVISED TO REFLECT FINAL 2015 DATA.  New individual-year tables of conversion factors have been provided for 2015 and estimated 2016.  Conversion factors for all years have been provided in a pdf file and an Excel file.

 

Inflation Conversion Factors for years 1774 to estimated 2026, in dollars of recent years

by Robert Sahr  

Individual year conversion factors for 2015 and estimated 2016 have been revised to reflect final 2015 Consumer Price Index.  Those revisions are available in the "individual year section" immediately below, in both pdf and Excel formats.

  • inflation conversion factors for indivvidual years in the individual year section
  • A single file, available in both Excel and pdf format, that provides conversion factors for year 1774 to estimated 2026 in dollars of 1994 through estimated 2016 and in several specific inflation measures, in the "download conversion factor tables" at the link at the bottom of this page.
  •  A brief introduction to US national government budget concepts, including data, links, and suggestions for understanding the budget, is available here.  It is best examined by using it with the set of graphs listed on this page.
 

Many people are unclear or misinformed about the composition of the national government budget. The best-known example is that nearly everyone vastly over-estimates foreign aid as percent of the national government budget.  The following tables show the composition of national government spending as percent of the budget and percent of the national economy (gross domestic product, GDP).  The following two items examine the composition of national government in specific years and also over time.  Note:  These have not been revised to reflect final 2015 data but the illustrations are useful even if the data are not current.


  • A table (available in Excel and pdf formats) shows detailed categories of national government spending as percent of total national government outlays and as percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for budget years 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2013, the most recently completed budget year, available here (Excel) and here (pdf).  These data are useful for gaining perspective about the relative size of various budget categories.
  • one set of graphs in the graphs section.  The revised graphs show trends in inflation-adjusted price levels, national government outlays and revenues, gross domestic product, and the minimum wage.  Data are for all or part of years 1774 to 2012, though, for example, the minimum wage began in 1938.
  • a second set of graphs, showing presidential and congressional pay, 1789-2012, also in the graphs section
  • A graph showing comparison of yearly price changes using three inflation measures--the CPI-U, the CPI-U-RS (research series), and the "chained" CPI--is available here.  The "chained" CPI is included because of its recent political importance.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) conversion factors to determine the value of dollars of 1774 to estimated 2026 in dollars of estimated 2016, 2015, (final), 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, CPI (1982-84), and three special CPI measures, CPI-U-X1 (starting 1950), CPI-U-RS (starting 1947), and "chain-weighted" CPI for recent years.

To ease understanding of the value of dollar figures over time, the materials on this page “re-base” the official CPI from its current base (1982-84 average = 1.000) to dollars of more recent years (for example, 2015 = 1.000).

All inflation conversion factors use year-to-year inflation, not December-to-December inflation. 

Final 2015 CPI is from Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/cpi/data.htm, "All Urban Consumers (Current Series)," January 2016.

INFLATION ASSUMPTIONS:  Inflation conversion factors for 2016 and later years assume 2.10% inflation in 2016, 2.20% in 2017, and 2.35% in each year 2018 through 2026.  These are averages of OMB and CBO inflation estimates as of January (CBO) and February (OMB) 2016.  Note:  The early 2015 average inflation estimate for 2015 by CBO and OMB was 1.25%.  The final inflation rate was 0.1%

CAUTIONS:  These use CPI year to year average data rather than December to December.  As illustrated above.

Note also that these are calendar year CPI data.  In the tables that use these data to calculate inflation-adjusted budget data, the difference between calendar year and federal budget year (October 1 to September 30 starting 1976, July 1 to June 30 in earlier years) will slightly affect the results.  However, because these slight offsets are the same for all years, the effects probably are minimal.

However, these differences suggest that inflation-adjusted budget and economic data from other sources (for example, the Bureau of Economic Analysis) might not match these data directly.

Note:  For some charts, users of non-Internet Explorer web explorers might have to use the “open link target in IE” option or equivalent.

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Conversion Factor Tables
Individual Year
Conversion Factor Tables
Graphs:  Visual Displays