Inflation and CPI Consumer Price Index 1960-1969

The 1960’s was an age of possibility, in April of 1961 the Soviet Union put the first man in space and in May of 1961 President Kennedy set the goal of putting the first man on the moon by the end of the decade.  “Muscle cars” were popular, industrial robots were developed as were geosynchronous communications satellites, 8-Track and cassette tapes, and the world’s first “supercomputer”. Everything seemed possible.

Inflation in 1960'sIn popular culture, the civil rights movement gained momentum, along with an anti-war “hippie” culture developed and communes gained popularity.  Partially due to the increased criminalization of drug use and partially due to the anti-war movement many college campuses saw violent confrontations between college students (and other activists) and law enforcement.

In the political arena, in 1961 the Berlin wall was built to stem the tide of people fleeing communism. The U.S. was embroiled in the Vietnam War, Kennedy was assassinated, Johnson assumed the Presidency and was reelected and remained President through January 1969.

The Economy in the 1960’s

In the 1960’s economist Arthur Okun created a simple system for measuring economic well-being called the “misery index” which was simply the inflation rate plus the unemployment rate. Interestingly during the 1960’s the misery index was one of the lowest on record dipping below 6% in late 1965.

Misery Index 1960sClick for Larger Image

During the first half of the decade inflation remained below 2% while unemployment began around 7% and declined to 3.7% in 1966. The misery index bottomed in November of 1965 at 5.7% with unemployment at 4.1% and inflation at 1.6%. Shortly thereafter Johnson announced his “Great Society” initiative which began expanding social programs and by the end of the decade the misery index had nearly doubled to slightly below 10% (December 1969 inflation 6.2% and unemployment 3.5%). And by 1975 the misery index was almost 20%.

The Consumer Price Index CPI from 1960 – 1969

Year Jan- Feb- Mar- Apr- May- Jun- Jul- Aug- Sep- Oct- Nov- Dec-
1960 29.3 29.4 29.4 29.5 29.5 29.6 29.6 29.6 29.6 29.8 29.8 29.8
1961 29.8 29.8 29.8 29.8 29.8 29.8 30.0 29.9 30.0 30.0 30.0 30.0
1962 30.0 30.1 30.1 30.2 30.2 30.2 30.3 30.3 30.4 30.4 30.4 30.4
1963 30.4 30.4 30.5 30.5 30.5 30.6 30.7 30.7 30.7 30.8 30.8 30.9
1964 30.9 30.9 30.9 30.9 30.9 31.0 31.1 31.0 31.1 31.1 31.2 31.2
1965 31.2 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.4 31.6 31.6 31.6 31.6 31.7 31.7 31.8
1966 31.8 32.0 32.1 32.3 32.3 32.4 32.5 32.7 32.7 32.9 32.9 32.9
1967 32.9 32.9 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 33.6 33.7 33.8 33.9
1968 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 34.5 34.7 34.9 35.0 35.1 35.3 35.4 35.5
1969 35.6 35.8 36.1 36.3 36.4 36.6 36.8 37.0 37.1 37.3 37.5 37.7

Annual Inflation from 1960 – 1969

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1960 1.03% 1.73% 1.73% 1.72% 1.72% 1.72% 1.37% 1.37% 1.02% 1.36% 1.36% 1.36%
1961 1.71% 1.36% 1.36% 1.02% 1.02% 0.68% 1.35% 1.01% 1.35% 0.67% 0.67% 0.67%
1962 0.67% 1.01% 1.01% 1.34% 1.34% 1.34% 1.00% 1.34% 1.33% 1.33% 1.33% 1.33%
1963 1.33 1.00% 1.33% 0.99% 0.99% 1.32% 1.32% 1.32% 0.99% 1.32% 1.32% 1.64%
1964 1.64% 1.64% 1.31% 1.31% 1.31% 1.31% 1.30% 0.98% 1.30% 0.97% 1.30% 0.97%
1965 0.97% 0.97% 1.29% 1.62% 1.62% 1.94% 1.61% 1.94% 1.61% 1.93% 1.60% 1.92%
1966 1.92% 2.56% 2.56% 2.87% 2.87% 2.53% 2.85% 3.48% 3.48% 3.79% 3.79% 3.46%
1967 3.46% 2.81% 2.80% 2.48% 2.79% 2.78% 2.77% 2.45% 2.75% 2.43% 2.74% 3.04%
1968 3.65% 3.95% 3.94% 3.93% 3.92% 4.20% 4.49% 4.48% 4.46% 4.75% 4.73% 4.72%
1969 4.40% 4.68% 5.25% 5.52% 5.51% 5.48% 5.44% 5.71% 5.70% 5.67% 5.93% 6.20%

From the Average Annual Inflation by Decade chart we can see that the average inflation for the 1960′s was a moderate 2.32%.

Average Annual Inflation by Decade

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Inflation Chart 1960- 1969

The following chart shows the inflation rates during the period from 1960-1969.

Annual Inflation 1960s

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