The Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 21,000 points for the first time ever on March 1. The milestone was achieved only 24 trading days after the Dow first reached 20,000. The only time in history the Dow passed a 1,000 point milestone in as few days was during the dot-com boom.
The DJIA is a price-weighted average of 30 large American companies. Fluctuations in the Dow often reflect overall market conditions. In addition, because it is one of the oldest market indices, it is regularly used to compare markets over time.
24/7 Wall St. determined the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average each year since 1929, the first full year the index contained 30 companies.
The companies comprising the Dow are picked by the editors of The Wall Street Journal as Charles Dow, the creator of the index, was also the founding editor of the publication. Since its inception in 1896, when only 12 companies comprised the average, the Dow has changed 51 times.
The index currently contains companies such as Walmart, Disney, J.P. Morgan, Boeing, and the newest member as of 2015, Apple. The only company remaining from the original list of 12 is General Electric.
Like the economy as a whole, the stock market is much larger today than it was in 1917. However, the Dow has experienced extreme swings over the course of its history.
One of the most notable events in the history of the often-referenced index is the lows during the Great Depression. The Dow started 1929 at an inflation-adjusted level of 4,274.94 points. In October of that year, the Dow lost nearly one-quarter of its value in just two days. The Dow reached its lowest point on July 8, 1932, with an adjusted value of 725.90 points — only 17% of its value at the start of 1929.
After the historic low, the Dow soared by close to 70% in 1933, the largest single year growth in the history of the Dow 30. Still, the Dow did not return to its pre-Great Depression level until the mid 1950s.
There have been several more dramatic stock market swings since the Great Depression. The largest single day drop in the index’s history occurred during a stock market crash on October 19, 1987, when the Dow plunged 22.6%. The Dow’s value doubled between 1995 and 1999 during the dot-com boom, only to collapse between 2000 and 2002. Relatively soon after, the Dow lost nearly a third of its value in 2008, after the financial crisis emerged in the summer of 2007.
To determine the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average the year you were born, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the daily Dow figures aggregated by economic research website MeasuringWorth.com. Historical Dow data are inflation-adjusted using annual headline CPI.
This is the value of the stock market the year you were born.