Annualized Growth Rate
of Various Historical Economic Series

US
Consumer Price Index*(1774 to 2013) GROWTH RATES:

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PLOT SERIES:

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Unskilled Wage(1790 to 2013)
Production Worker Compensation(1790 to 2013)
Nominal GDP(1790 to 2013)
Real GDP(1790 to 2013)
GDP Deflator*(1790 to 2013)
Nominal GDP per capita(1790 to 2013)
Real GDP per capita(1790 to 2013)
S&P Composite Index**(1871 to 2013)
Population (millions)(1790 to 2013)
UK
Retail Price Index*(1265 to 2013)
Average Earnings(1265 to 2013)
Average Real Earnings(1265 to 2013)
Nominal GDP(1830 to 2013)
Real GDP(1830 to 2013)
GDP Deflator*(1830 to 2013)
Nominal GDP per capita(1830 to 2013)
Real GDP per capita(1830 to 2013)
Population (millions)(1830 to 2013)
Gold
US Official Price(1786 to 2013)
British Official Price(1257 to 1945)
New York Market Price(1791 to 2012)
London Market Price(1950 to 2013)
Gold/Silver Price Ratio(1687 to 2013)
The growth rates of the price indexes, marked *, can be
interpreted as average inflation or deflation during the period specified.

** This is the S&P Composite index with dividends reinvested.

Why not 2012?

The annualized growth rate is the average growth rate measured over a year. In other words, it is the hypothetical constant year-to-year growth rate necessary to take the beginning-year value of a series to its ending-year value. To understand the construction of the hypothetical growth rate, see how the growth rates are constructed. Note that, contrary to intuition, this uniform growth rate is not obtained by averaging the year-to-year percentage changes in the observed value of the series. Because most economic variables grow over time, the annualized growth rate is a useful computation for comparing rates of growth of a given series for various time periods and of different series over the same time period.

This point is illustrated by the following examples of how the growth rate of GDP can vary, depending on the time period of the computation.

  • General knowledge of history tells us that growth during the Great Depression of the 1930s was slower than during the "economic boom" of the 1960s. Using the calculator, one can put numbers on the comparison. U.S. real GDP grew at only 0.9 percent per year during from 1931 to 1935, but 4.65 percent during the 1960s.
  • Economic historians often ask: did the U.S. economy "take off" after the Civil War? The answer, from the calculator, is negative. The annual average growth of real GDP for 1840 to 1860 (the last antebellum year) is 4.9 percent; while from 1866 (the first postbellum year) to 1886, the growth rate is somewhat less, at 4.6 percent.

Citation

Samuel H. Williamson, "Annualized Growth Rate of Various Historical Economic Series" MeasuringWorth, .


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