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Example question calculating CPI and inflation

AP.MACRO:
MEA‑1 (EU)
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MEA‑1.F (LO)
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MEA‑1.F.1 (EK)
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MEA‑1.F.2 (EK)
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MEA‑1.F.3 (EK)
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MEA‑1.F.4 (EK)
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MEA‑1.G (LO)
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MEA‑1.G.1 (EK)
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices of a typical basket of goods and services over time. It is used to gauge inflation and changes in the cost of living. The CPI might overstate changes in the cost of living because it doesn't always account for how people adjust their spending when prices change.

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  • leaf green style avatar for user tdavidpearce
    This seems like a different calculation approach than the "percentage of expenditures" approach in the Intro to Inflation video. Here Sal only looks at the changes in the costs of the goods (easier).

    In Intro to Inflation, Sal uses the 60%/40% base-year percentages of a household's expenditures on each good to give different weights to the inflated prices.

    That method would have required a few more steps than this video took, and it would yield different answers on an exam.

    Which is right?
    (8 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Danial
    I've been told we're not able to use calculators on the AP Exam, so if a question like the sample problem part a, what do we do?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Linda  Kusel
    My 2016 = 177 and 2017 = 221 why is it different
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf blue style avatar for user Nicole Torres
    why is the base year 100 dollars
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Niyati Reddy
    For calculating the CPI, shouldn't the entire total cost spent in a year be taken rather than a week?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user shagufta khan
    5. Explain the meaning and uses of a pie diagram. Prepare a pie diagram of family expenditure from the following data:


    S.No. Items Expenditure (`.)
    1.

    2.

    3.

    4.

    5. Food

    Clothing

    Education and Entertainment

    Rent

    Miscellaneous

    Total Expenditure
    480

    300

    330

    450

    240

    1880
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user ashray tiwari
    at Sal says-"inflation lower actual growth in cost of living." So, *I didn't get this point what it means and how it's overstate cost of living?*
    (0 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user N.
      the question was about how the changes in the inflation rate create changes in the cost of living. In this case, since cream cheese is considered cheaper (due to its unchanged rate of inflation comparatively) which means people would buy more of the 'cheaper' good, rather than the bread or books. It does not create growth in the cost of living as the high costs of the book and the bread is sort of balanced out by buying less of it, and rather turning to buy more of the cream cheese.
      (1 vote)

Video transcript

- [Instructor] The CPI, or Consumer Price Index, is used to measure the cost of a typical basket of goods. The typical household in the nation of Jacksonia buys four loaves of bread, three pounds of cream cheese, and eight books each week. The prices of these goods in years 2015, 2016, and 2017 are given in the table below. And then they ask us some questions. Calculate the CPI in 2017, using 2016 as the base year. Calculate the CPI in 2015, using 2016 as the base year. Calculate the rate of inflation between 2015 and 2016. Calculate the rate of inflation between 2016 and 2017. And then describe a reason why the inflation rate between 2016 and 2017 might overstate the changes in cost of living. So pause this video, and see if you can work through it before I do it with you. All right, now let's just do it step by step. So these first two letters, they want us to calculate the CPIs in 2017 and 2015, using 2016 as a base year. So the way I'm going to do it, I'm going to set up a new column here, which is cost of the weekly basket, and they tell us how much they buy each week, cost of weekly, weekly basket. Let's see, in 2015, they buy four loaves of bread at $1 each. So it's going to be four times one, plus they buy three pounds of cream cheese at $3 a pound, plus three times three, plus they buy eight books a week, these people like to read, and so, and each book in 2015 is $10, so eight times 10, eight times 10. And this is going to be equal to four times one is four, plus nine is 13, plus 80 is going to be $93. Now, that same basket, that weekly basket in 2016, where we're buying four loves of bread at $2 now, four times two, plus we're buying three pounds of cream cheese at $6 a pound now, plus three times six, plus eight books per week at $20 per book, eight times 20. This is going to be equal to eight plus 18, which is 26, plus 160 is 186. So this is going to be $186. And now we're going to do the same thing in 2017. Each week, you're going to get four loaves of bread. Now it's $3 per loaf, plus we're buying three pounds of cream cheese per week, three, it's still at $6 per pound, plus eight books per week at $25 per book. And so this is going to be equal to 12 plus 18, which is 30, plus 200, which is going to be $230. And now we can calculate the CPIs. So the CPI, it's typical that it's going to be 100 in your base year, should be 100, so I could just put that there. And for the other years, you could say the basket cost, cost in year, divided by the cost in base year, cost in base year, year, times 100. So obviously, in 2016, that's going to be the cost in 2016 divided by the cost in 2016 times 100. You'll get 100. But for 2015, it will be the cost of the basket in 2015, which is $93, divided by the cost in 2016, which is $186, times 100. This one is actually pretty straightforward. 93 is half of 186, so this is going to be equal to 50. And then in 2017, it's going to be the cost of the basket in 2017 divided by the cost of the basket in 2016, times 100, which is going to be equal to, I'm going to use the calculator for this one. 230 divided by 186 is equal to approximately 1.24. If we multiply that times 100, we'll say it's approximately, it is approximately 124. So calculate the CPI in 2017, using 2016 as the base year. It would be 124. Calculate the CPI in 2015, using 2016 as the base year. That is 50. Calculate the rate of inflation between 2015 and 2016. So how much do prices grow if we take this basket of goods from 2015 to 2016? Well, you could look at your CPI. It went from 50 to 100, so prices doubled. And so if something is double, it grew by 100%. And the rate of inflation is the growth in prices. And so this is 100% inflation. Things doubled in price, and you could see it here. Everything doubled in price right over here. Calculate the rate of inflation between 2016 and 2017. Well, if you start at 100 and you grow to 124, you have just grown by 24%. One way to think about it is you multiply by 1.24, which is the same thing as growing by 24%. So that 24% growth is the rate of inflation. Describe a reason why the inflation rate between 2016 and 2017, so that's what we answered right here in part d, might overstate changes in the cost of living. And if you haven't answered that part yet, I encourage you, given all that we've done, try to pause the video, and try to think about that. So let's look at what happened from 2016 to 2017. The price of a loaf of bread increases by 50%. The price of a book increases by $5 on a base of 20. That's an increase of 25%. But the price of cream cheese does not change, plus 0%. It experiences no inflation from 2016 to 2017. And so you could imagine a scenario where if some goods, their prices increased a lot while others don't, the basket of goods might change. People might buy less bread and fewer books and more cream cheese. And so we could say the typical basket might get more weighted to goods that had less inflation, had less inflation, example, in this case, would be cream cheese, cream cheese because they look relatively, relatively cheaper to the goods that had more inflation. And if that happened, you would have a lower actual growth, actual growth in cost of living. And this last question really alludes to the fact that the CPI isn't necessarily a perfect indicator, that as different goods in the basket have a price inflation at different rates, you could have a substitution effect between the various goods. Now, in countries, they try to rebalance the basket of goods based on a perception of what is typical. But once again, that is not necessarily going to be perfect.