Consumer Prices, 1913 and 2013

February 28, 2013

While potatoes are among the cheapest food items today, potato prices have increased over 39-fold from 1913 to 2013, rising from less than 2 cents to over 62 cents per pound—the sharpest rate of increase seen among items in a list of consumer foods for which the Consumer Price Index has price data going back to 1913.

Average food prices, selected items, January 1913 and January 2013
ItemJanuary 1913January 2013

Bacon

0.2544.407

Bread

0.0561.422

Butter(1)

0.4093.501

Cheese

0.2225.832

Chuck roast

0.1493.696

Coffee

0.2995.902

Eggs, per dozen

0.3731.933

Flour

0.0330.524

Fresh milk, per gallon(2)

0.3563.526

Ham

0.2512.693

Pork chops

0.1873.465

Potatoes

0.0160.627

Rice

0.0860.715

Round steak

0.2055.074

Sirloin steak

0.2385.705

Sugar

0.0580.683

Footnotes:
(1) This is the average price of butter in January 2012. Data for January 2013 are not available.
(2) Milk average prices were recorded per quart in 1913 and per gallon in 2013; the 1913 average prices have been converted to gallon equivalents. Milk was further characterized as "whole, fortified" in 2013.
 

Note: All average prices are per pound, unless otherwise noted.
 

Egg prices have increased the least in the last century, up about 5-fold (from 37 cents to $1.93 per dozen) as advances in production, delivery, and storage techniques have outpaced those seen for most other food items.

These price data are from the Consumer Price Indexes program and are featured in "Average Food Prices: a snapshot of how much has changed over a century," Beyond the Numbers, February 2013).  Average price of butter shown on the chart is for January 2012. The price of butter for January 2013 is not available.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Consumer Prices, 1913 and 2013 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130228.htm (visited September 01, 2014).

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