In 1960, gas was 25-cents per gallon, a stamp was four-cents, and a new home cost about $12,675.
The average annual income was $5,199, a new car cost $2,610 and a movie ticket was only $1.
These prices were part of The Price is Right, a hands-on game for adults offered at the 2012 Farm Technology Days in Outagamie County.
Sponsored by the Wisconsin Women for Agriculture, the game showed that prices are indeed higher now.
“People enjoyed playing The Price is Right game,” said Claudine Lehman, of Randolph.
“We’re trying to show people how food prices have changed,” she explained. “Food is such a big discussion these days.”
She noted the comparisons did reveal one interesting fact: Modern Americans spend less of their income on food and other necessities.
For instance, in December 1945, Americans spent 40 percent of their income on food. In December 2011, they spent only 15.3 percent of their annual income on food.
Another comparison was apparel at 11.7 percent in 1945, compared to 3.6 percent in 2011.
Housing, though, has increased from 26.1 percent to 41 percent. “People complain about the price of food,” Lehman said, “but the farmer only gets four-cents on a $3.89 box of corn flakes.”
According to the American Farm Bureau (AFB), retail grocery prices have gradually increased over the last three decades. Meanwhile, the share of the average dollar spent on food that farm families receive has dropped.
In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures in grocery stores and restaurants. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) revised Food Dollar Series.
In 1980, farmers received 31 cents out of every dollar spent on food in the U.S., according to the AFB.
Despite higher prices, the USDA says Americans spend about 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average in the world. This compares to 11.5 percent of income in the United Kingdom, 15.2 percent in France, 17.8 percent in Japan, and 33.2 percent in Mexico.