falling prices11 In the Past 30 Years, the Prices of Basic Items Have Actually Gone Down

Falling Prices

But Health Care and College Prices Have Skyrocketed. 

 “Bloomberg BusinessWeek” just finished a major study comparing the prices we pay for things today with what we paid 30 years ago, in 1980.  And their big finding is . . . on a day-to-day basis, most basic stuff costs LESS now than it did back then.  But . . . when it comes to big ticket items, like college, health care, and technology products, we’re spending FAR more today than we were in 1980.  Here are some of the comparisons, transforming 1980s dollars into today’s dollars.

One personal computer, down 80.8%.  In 1980, a home computer cost $1,565, which is about $3,700 in today’s dollars.  The average computer today runs $710 . . . and is exponentially more powerful.

Coffee, down 55.9%.  In 1980, one pound cost $3.18, which is $8.38 in today’s dollars.  Today it costs an average of $3.70.

Coca-Cola, down 54.9%.  In 1980, a two-liter of Coke cost $1.27, which is $3.35 in today’s dollars.  The average two-liter today costs $1.51.

Milk, down 28.1%.  A half gallon of milk cost $1.06 in 1980, which is $2.79 in today’s dollars.  A half gallon today averages $2.01.

Gasoline, down 14.8%.  Even with gas prices where they are, we still pay less.  In 1980, the average gallon cost $1.26, which is $3.32 in today’s dollars.  The latest average price was $2.83 for a gallon.

Movie ticket, up 1.1%.  In 1980, a ticket averaged $3.31, which is $8.72 in today’s dollars.  The average ticket is now $8.82, or ten cents more.

A house, up 3.4%.  In 1980, the average home price was $64,200, or $166,946 in today’s money.  Now the average home price is $172,600.

A new car, up 16.5%.  In 1980, the average new car cost $7,574, which is $19,790 in today’s dollars.  The average new car runs $23,051 today.

College tuition, up 123.5%.  In 1980, a year of tuition, room, and board cost $3,499, or $9,142 in today’s dollars.  College costs have skyrocketed up to an average of $20,435 per year today . . . more than doubling the cost 30 years ago.

Health care, up 167.2%.  In 1980, the average American had $1,100 in annual health care costs, which is $2,874 in today’s dollars.  Today, the average American runs $7,681.

Cigarettes, up 293%.  Cigarettes had the biggest jump of any item on the list.  In 1980, a carton of 10 packs averaged $5.32, or $14.02 in today’s dollars.  Now, that carton costs $55.10.

Internet and cell phone service, not applicable.  Back in 1980, no one was paying for Internet, and only a tiny handful had cell service.  Today, the average person spends about $1,000 on those two services.

 –One more note . . . overall, household income is up 8% from 1980.  The average income then was $17,710, which is $46,109 in today’s dollars.  According to the latest Census numbers, the average income today is $49,777.


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