Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Food prices in 1913 and today. Which do you think is a better deal? More convinced than ever that there are no Good ol' Days--except for the ones we are in now...

The data below are from a BLS report on prices.  It shows basic food staples as they were priced in 1913 and in 2013.

The total market basket cost for these items in 1913 = $3.19 (adjusted for inflation (using the BLS calculator) that would be $74.93 in 2013 dollars).

In 2013 those same items totaled = $49.71 (current dollars)

On an inflation adjusted basis, these food items today are 33% cheaper than in 1913.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Another way to look at this would be to calculate how many hours, at the prevailing wage, a worker would have to work to earn enough to purchase the items in this market basket.

It is hard to find exact data on wage rates in 1913 but I am going to use this BLS source and guesstimate about $.50 per hour (that is probably high) and the average hourly wage of a worker in  2013 is $23.87 (Source)

So...a working stiff in 1913 would have to work 6.38 hours to earn enough for the groceries and a worker in 2013 would have to work only 2.08 hours for those same groceries.

When would you rather live---today or then?  I choose today.  I am pretty sure I could sneak a bag of Cheetos in my market basket.  Something those old timers could NEVER do!! :)


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