All Commentary
Thursday, November 24, 2016

Our Inflated Thanksgiving

It’s not just the balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that are inflated.

It’s not just the balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that are inflated.

Each year the American Farm Bureau Federation collects an informal price survey for a typical Thanksgiving dinner. The shopping list has remained the same for the past 31 years: turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all to feed a family of 10.

At first glance, it seems like the price of food has trended upward since 1986. Once you adjust for inflation, however, you get a different story. The inflation-adjusted price has stayed relatively flat over time with minor fluctuations. The purchasing power of our currency in circulation has gone down over time, driving up the price of goods.

As Mark Perry points out, this is no reason for despair. The average hourly wage of the American worker has increased steadily, making Thanksgiving more affordable than ever. That is something to be thankful for this year.


Interactive Version:

The data for this chart was collected by the American Farm Bureau Federation. We adjusted this price data for inflation using the BLS’s CPI Inflation Calculator.