This Study Just Provided an Overview of Inflation in the 21st Century

Inflation is a term that is used to refer to the rising prices of goods in an economy. It is also therefore a useful way to determine the value of a dollar or any type of currency. In America, inflation is usually tracked by using the Consumer Price Index with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Taking a look at the Consumer Price Index can allow policy makers and financial experts to make better decisions than might have been the case otherwise. In spite of the fact that this is the case, it often doesn’t portray the complete picture of inflation from the consumers point of view. However, it can still be taken as one of the many pools of data that can provide an overview of the everyday struggles of regular people.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the consumer price index has shown an overall rate of inflation of about 74% since the start of the 21st century. It should be mentioned that some commodities and sectors have seen prices rise at many times this rate, whereas other consumer goods have actually gotten cheaper over the years.

The two areas where inflation has hit the hardest happen to be the educational and healthcare sectors. Healthcare has gotten especially expensive, with an average rate of inflation of well over 200% being recorded. This indicates that healthcare costs have more than tripled in the past two decades or so.

This explains why around 50% of all Americans are now saddled with medical debt that is in excess of $1,000. Healthcare is not the sort of thing that anyone would want to compromise on, and many are pointing to insurance companies for driving up prices because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up sending more profits their way.

Education is yet another sector that has become impossible for regular Americans to afford. The cost of going to college and paying tuition has increased by a whopping 178% since the year 2000. What’s more, college textbooks have become a lot more expensive as well, with an average increase of about 162% being recorded.

Inflation can be harmful, but low income people are the ones that usually suffer the worst of it. They have no choice but to pay for these essential services, and that has made it difficult to keep inflation under control.

However, an interesting thing to note in the Consumer Price Index is how affordable certain goods have gotten. Globalization has certainly played a role in this. Back in the year 2000, a regular television set would have cost approximately 17% of the average American income in that era which was around $42,000 a year.

Fast forward to 2022 and they just cost 1% of the $54,000 that Americans earn per year on average. TVs getting cheaper is good news, but they are not essential. Essential goods and services becoming more expensive can have a much more profound impact on American society, so this might not be all that fair of a tradeoff in the eyes of regular folk.

H/T: Visual Capitalist

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