Sunday, 9 January 2011

What would that be worth today?

I was approached at Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting on the equivalent value today of a Canadian dollar amount in the past. An ancestor had left a certain amount and I was asked how to find out what it would be worth today.

The Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator which uses monthly consumer price index data from 1914 to the present shows changes in the cost of a fixed "basket" of consumer purchases. These include food, shelter, furniture, clothing, transportation, and recreation.

If you're looking for periods prior to 1914 there is no such simple aid I could find. You might check out Chart A1 in Appendix A, titled "Purchasing Power of the Canadian Dollar," to a Bank of Canada publication A History of the Canadian Dollar — by James Powell, described as a "lively and informative account of Canadian money from colonial times to the present."  It goes back to 1870.

1 comment:

DWP said...

I don't see any mention of Canada in this, but there is mention of the colonies. The dates go farther back than the purely Canadian data. The "British" data or the U.S. data could be used, and then a guess of the relationship of "worth" between either of those and Canadian worth would provide something. See