Visualizing the Purchasing Power of the U.S. Dollar Over Time
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Purchasing Power of the U.S. Dollar Over Time

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The Briefing

  • The purchasing power of the U.S. dollar has fallen over time, as money supply has grown
  • In fact, $1 in 1913 had the same purchasing power as $26 in 2020

What is Purchasing Power?

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.

Tracking the Purchasing Power of the Dollar

In 1913, the Federal Reserve Act granted Federal Reserve banks the ability to manage the money supply in order to ensure economic stability. Back then, a dollar could buy 30 Hershey’s chocolate bars.

As more dollars came into circulation, average prices of goods and services increased while the purchasing power of the dollar fell. By 1929, the value of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 73% higher than in 1913, but a dollar was now enough only for 10 rolls of toilet paper.

Year EventPurchasing Power of $1What a Dollar Buys
1913Creation of the Federal Reserve System$26.1430 Hershey’s chocolate bars
1929Stock market crash$15.1410 rolls of toilet paper
1933Gold possession criminalized$19.9110 bottles of beer
1944Bretton Woods agreement$14.7120 bottles of Coca-Cola
1953End of the Korean War$9.6910 bags of pretzels
1964Escalation of the Vietnam War$8.351 drive-in movie ticket
1971End of the gold standard$6.3917 oranges
1987"Black Monday" stock market crash$2.282 boxes of crayons
1997Asian financial crisis$1.614 grapefruits
2008Global Financial crisis$1.202 lemons
2020COVID-19 pandemic$1.001 McDonald’s coffee

Between 1929-1933, the purchasing power of the dollar actually increased due to deflation and a 31% contraction in money supply before eventually declining again. Fast forward to 1944 and the U.S. dollar, fixed to gold at a rate of $35/oz, became the world’s reserve currency under the Bretton Woods agreement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. increased its money supply in order to finance the deficits of World War II followed by the Korean war and the Vietnam war. Hence, the buying power of the dollar reduced from 20 bottles of Coca-Cola in 1944 to a drive-in movie ticket in 1964.

By the late 1960s, the number of dollars in circulation was too high to be backed by U.S. gold reserves. President Nixon ceased direct convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold in 1971. This ended both the gold standard and the limit on the amount of currency that could be printed.

More Dollars in the System

Money supply (M2) in the U.S. has skyrocketed over the last two decades, up from $4.6 trillion in 2000 to $19.5 trillion in 2021.

The effects of the rise in money supply were amplified by the financial crisis of 2008 and more recently by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, around 20% of all U.S. dollars in the money supply, $3.4 trillion, were created in 2020 alone.

How will the purchasing power of the dollar evolve going forward?

Where does this data come from?

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics – Consumer Price Index, Morris County Library of Historic Prices
Details: Purchasing power is based on average annual CPI values from 1913-2020 (not seasonally adjusted). Reference base for the CPI is 1982-84 = 100.

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Top 20 Countries With the Most Ultra-Wealthy Individuals

Developing countries are creating wealth like never before, but the majority of the world’s ultra-wealthy people still live in the United States.

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The Briefing

  • According to Credit Suisse, there are now 218,200 people globally with assets over $50 million.
  • The majority (53%) of the world’s ultra-wealthy people live in the U.S.

Top 20 Countries With the Most Ultra-Wealthy Individuals

New data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report shows that there was an “explosion of wealth” last year.

The global population of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) grew by 46,000 to a record of 218,200. The report notes that UHNWIs benefited from a surge in the value of financial assets last year.

These increases are more than double the increases recorded in any other year this century. – Global Wealth Report 2022

The majority of ultra-wealthy individuals already reside in the United States, but 2021 saw a staggering increase of 30,470 people bring added to this exclusive ultra-wealthy category in the country.

Country/regionNet Worth of $50–$100MNet Worth of $100M–$500MNet Worth of $500M+
🇺🇸 United States103,66935,7401,726
🇨🇳 China20,01311,4111,282
🇩🇪 Germany6,0523,354318
🇨🇦 Canada3,4721,912123
🇮🇳 India3,0241,750210
🇯🇵 Japan3,3731,41188
🇫🇷 France3,2371,31485
🇦🇺 Australia2,9471,576109
🇬🇧 United Kingdom2,7871,278110
🇮🇹 Italy2,5741,253103
🇰🇷 South Korea2,4501,319117
🇷🇺 Russia2,1341,488253
🇨🇭 Switzerland2,11598792
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR1,7901,139127
🇸🇪 Sweden1,8661,01976
🇹🇼 Taiwan1,87491293
🇪🇸 Spain1,50966651
🇧🇷 Brazil1,23874995
🇸🇬 Singapore97457073
🇳🇱 Netherlands1,10047128

China and India will likely see their ultra-wealthy populations increase dramatically, but still have a long way to go before catching up to the United States.

The biggest increases, aside from the U.S., were China (5,200), Germany (1,750), Canada (1,610), and Australia (1,350).

Decreases in UHNWI populations were more rare, but did occur in a few cases. United Kingdom (-1,130), Turkey (-330), and Hong Kong SAR (-130) saw the biggest drops.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2022

Data note: All amounts in USD

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Ranked: The Top Cyberattacks Against Businesses

Recent research provides insight into the top cyberattacks that businesses faced in 2021. See the results in this infographic.

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Ranked: The Top Cyberattacks Against Businesses

Cyberattacks hit a record high in 2021, continuing the momentum that had developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. One reason for this increase is the shift to remote work, which has opened up new vulnerabilities. Home networks are typically less secure, and the rapid rise in the use of online services means security is falling behind.

In this graphic sponsored by Global X ETFs, we’ve visualized survey results showing the 10 most successful types of cyberattacks in 2021.

The Results

These results are from a 2021 whitepaper by Osterman Research, a market research firm focused on cybersecurity. They surveyed 130 cybersecurity professionals from mid and large-sized organizations to see which types of attacks were the most prominent.

Type of AttackPercentage of respondents (%)
Business email attack was successful in tricking a lower-level employee53%
Phishing message resulted in a malware infection49%
Phishing message resulted in an account being compromised47%
Domain name was spoofed to perpetrate phishing campaigns38%
Ransomware was detected before it could be activated34%
Business email attack was successful in tricking a senior executive28%
Domain name impersonation resulted in a third-party being compromised16%
Phishing message resulted in a ransomware infection14%
A ransomware attack was successfully launched10%
A ransomware attack rendered internal IT systems non-operational10%

Source: Osterman Research (2021)

The report notes that these figures may be understated because organizations are likely to downplay their security incidents. Organizations may also lack the capability to detect all types of cyberattacks.

The Impact of Phishing Attacks

Phishing refers to an attack where the perpetrator pretends to be a trusted entity. These attacks can be carried out over email, text message (SMS), and even social media apps. The goal is often to trick the victim into opening a malicious link.

According to the whitepaper, opening malicious links can result in credential theft or ransomware infections. Credential theft is when attackers gain access to internal systems. This is incredibly dangerous, as it allows attackers to commit fraud, impersonate company officials, and steal data.

A powerful tool for preventing credential theft is multi-factor authentication (MFA). This method requires users to provide multiple verification factors to access a resource (instead of a single password).

The Threat of Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that involves blackmail, often for financial gain. For ransomware to be successfully planted, attackers must first gain access to a company’s networks.

Access can be gained through phishing, as discussed above, or alternate means such as compromised software updates. One such attack impacted over 57,000 Asus laptop owners in Russia after hackers created a malicious update tool on an official Asus server.

Cybercriminals have become increasingly ruthless in how ransomware attacks are executed.
– Osterman Research

Researchers have warned that ransomware attacks are becoming more dangerous and sophisticated. In addition to locking organizations out from core systems, hackers are also stealing data to increase their leverage. If a ransom is not paid, the stolen data may be published or even sold to the highest bidder.

Under Siege

The rising frequency and sophistication of cybercriminal activity is a major threat to the world.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Risks Report, ransomware attacks have increased by 435% since 2020. Furthermore, there is an estimated shortage of 3 million cybersecurity professionals worldwide.

To catch up, businesses and governments are expected to increase their spending on cybersecurity over the next several years.

The Global X Cybersecurity ETF is a passively managed solution that can be used to gain exposure to the rising adoption of cybersecurity technologies. Click the link to learn more.

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