In the Past 30 Years, the Prices of Basic Items Have Actually Gone Down
But Health Care and College Prices Have Skyrocketed.
—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.