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# How do I define this use of CPI?June 8, 2006 11:22 PM   Subscribe

How do I interpret CPI (consumer price index) in the following table?

The table in quesiton is "Table 1. Weighted Average Poverty Thresholds for Families of Specified Size
1959 to 2004", towards the bottom of the page.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov1.html
posted by frankie_stubbs to science & nature (7 answers total)

What do you mean? That's the CPI on the right, with a base of 100, erm, somewhere between 83 and 84. Each year's inflation is that value / the previous value.
posted by pompomtom at 11:29 PM on June 8, 2006

If you're looking to figure out the relative value of the dollar for a particular year, you are likely interested in this site: http://eh.net/hmit/. Plug in the year and the dollar amount, the CPI, and the site does the rest. If, on the other hand, you just need to know what the CPI was for a given year, see pompomtom's answer.
posted by zachlipton at 11:38 PM on June 8, 2006

i'm still confused. so the cpi, in comparison with poverty thresholds, is the average spending amount in dollars?
posted by frankie_stubbs at 11:41 PM on June 8, 2006

No, the CPI is simply the figure on the right. It has nothing to do with the poverty figures there.

To find the real (ie 83/84 dollar) figure for each year , each dollar figure given should be divided by CPI/100.
posted by pompomtom at 11:50 PM on June 8, 2006

Perhaps WikiP may help with the concept of indexing.
posted by pompomtom at 11:50 PM on June 8, 2006

Thanks all - an especially big thanks goes to zachlipton for his link (i'm analyzing the implications poverty thresholds for certain years)
posted by frankie_stubbs at 12:05 AM on June 9, 2006

If you're interested in going deeper into what the CPI means, the official US Bureau of Labor Statistics page about the CPI is really excellent.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:28 AM on June 9, 2006

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