The price of eggs in the past 50 years

You may not believe it till you see it, but according to a recent USDA report, retail prices of eggs have actually begun to ease. More than perhaps any other product, eggs have become a symbol of inflation the past few months. Prices soared 60% in 2022, reaching $4.25 for a dozen eggs in December. 

Of course, egg prices in the grocery store are often higher than that average national price, with the cost largely dependent on where you live. A dozen eggs went for over $6 in Arizona, California, Nevada, Alabama, and Florida, and nearly $10 in Hawaii, according to an Axios analysis. (Also see, states where inflation is causing the most stress.)

It was only a year ago that egg prices were $1.79 a dozen, so how did prices get so high? The egg industry has blamed increased costs of fuel, feed, and packaging, as well as supply issues and a global bird flu outbreak that necessitated the killing of 58 million chickens, resulting in a national egg shortage. If farmers cannot get the avian flu under control, some experts warn things could get worse.

While these sky-high prices might feel unprecedented to some, there have been times in just the last 50 years when eggs were even more expensive. 24/7 Wall St. adjusted the average price of a dozen large grade A eggs in U.S. cities as of December of every year from 1973 to 2022 based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We found that in the past 50 years, the inflation-adjusted price of eggs in 2021 and 2022 ranks fifth and fourth highest, respectively. The highest price was in 1975, when it reached $4.79.

The second and third highest prices were also in the 1970s, during the period of The Great Inflation, which lasted from 1965 to 1982. Several factors contributed to The Great Inflation, including two severe energy shortages and Federal Reserve policies that provided cheap money. (Not surprising, the price of this household item is soaring.)

Inflation-adjusted egg prices were generally lower from 1988 to 1995. Those years were generally marked by stable inflation, but also sluggish economic, employment, and wage growth ahead of the growth later in the mid to late ‘90s.

Click here to see the price of eggs in the past 50 years.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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