The most important things in life have become more expensive while things that don’t really matter have gotten more affordable over the last 2 decades.
That is what personal finance website HowMuch.Net is pointing out in its newly released graph showing how prices of products and services, and wages in the United States changed from January 1998 to December 2018.
Modeled after a similar visualization created by economist Mark J. Perry at the American Enterprise Institute, this graph used data on inflation-adjusted price and wage changes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Based on the graph, prices of products and services related to healthcare and education have skyrocketed over the last 20 years. Hospital services are now over 225% more pricey compared to their average costs back in 1998. College tuition and fees are now 183% more expensive, and college textbooks now cost 150% more than they used to. Sadly, hospital services and college tuition have more than doubled the growth rate of average hourly wage, making them less affordable for middle class families.
Meanwhile, as healthcare and education have become more costly, consumer goods have become cheaper. For instance, prices of TV sets have dropped to 97% since 1998. The costs of wireless telephone services, computer software, and toys have also seen a considerable slump despite the said services and products being much better that their old counterparts.