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Additional information about the data on this page

Instructions about how to produce conversion factors for any base year are available here.  This might be useful for anyone who needs to produce dollars for a base year not shown here, for example, dollars of 1928 (that is, 1928 = 1.000).  The calculation process to produce conversion factors using the year 1928 as the base is shown here .

Conversion factors for the years 1913 and later use CPI-U data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Prior to the 2008 revision, conversion factors used price-level data from John J. McCusker and colleagues for the period 1665 to 1912.  McCusker's offprint How Much Is That In Real Money?, revised 2001 (ISBN 1-929545-01-1) is available from the American Antiquarian Society for $15 plus shipping and handling through their web site.

  • A comparison of price level and inflation estimates prior to 1913 using the Historical Statistics and McCusker price series is available here .
  • Journal article by Robert Sahr that uses these conversion factors is available here.
  • An interesting discussion that denominates prices of selected items over time in terms of number of hours, days, or similar worked to purchase is available in the 1997 Annual Report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • At the "Shadow Government Statistics" site, economic consultant John Williams critiques official government statistics and presents alternate data.  (His biography is available on the site's home page.)  Concerning inflation, see especially here.
  • A brief bibliography of books and other materials about cost of living and related concerns during various periods of American history is available in pdf format here.
  • Additional information about the Consumer Price Index, including recent and proposed changes, can be obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at Consumer Price Indexes Home Page, which includes a link to their “inflation calculator” that calculates inflation-adjusted dollar figures by simply entering several numbers.
  • Two additional sources of data are the Statistical Abstract of the United States from the US Census Bureau and Statistical Resources on the Web (from the University of Michigan), both excellent starting points for statistics on a very wide range of topics.  Revision of the  Statistical Abstract ended in 2011.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a guide to statistical sources online, including in other countries, here.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests "math calculations to better utilize CPI data" here.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland provides very useful links about measuring US inflation here.
  • FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data), from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, provides many useful links and methods to produce graphs of many sets of economic data series, here,
  • The Economic History Net site also contains other sets of data, available here.