The Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Has Increased by 565% Since 1960, According to New Study

The price of turkey has gone up almost $18 over the past six decades.

For many, Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated meals of the year. It's a day of togetherness that also happens to be chock-full of incredible dishes including, roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and other staples. However, if you've ever planned a turkey day feast, you know as well as anyone it can get pricey. You need to stock up on ingredients for everything from mains and sides, to desserts and beverages. Over time the cost of hosting Thanksgiving dinner has surely increased, but have you ever wondered by how much? According to a new study from Self—a credit building website—the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal has increased by 565 percent since 1960.

To obtain their findings, the team researched the most popular dishes that people across the country will be cooking for Thanksgiving. All in all, the list included 13 traditional holiday dishes including, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, bread rolls, macaroni and cheese, creamed corn, salad, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. After finalizing which dishes are the most popular, researchers tracked down the cost of 3,905 ingredients dating back to the 1960s.

thanksgiving dinner on table
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Unsurprisingly, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner has increased greatly over the past six decades. According to their findings, the meal cost an average of $11.65 per 10 people in 1960. Today it will set you back about $77.52 for the same amount of guests—that's a 565 percent increase. We've even seen an increase in the price of ingredients over the past year. The study shows the cost of hosting Thanksgiving dinner has gone up 3.5 percent since last year. Although the results may seem shocking, the rising costs of the meal have mirrored the same increase as the median household income in the United States.

The team also broke their findings down by dish. In 1960, turkey cost about $3.06. Today consumers will pay on average $20.80 for the bird—an increase of 580 percent. However, the team notes that the price of turkey has actually decreased over the years, peaking in 2015 at $23.03. Last year, a 16-pound bird cost on average $19.39. The second priciest Thanksgiving dish is macaroni and cheese. The team notes that cheese is the most expensive part of the dish and heavily contributes to the 537% price increase since 1960, taking the side dish's price from $2.47 to $15.74.

Perhaps the most notable price increase was for salad, which saw a 1300 percent bump since 1960 and has never been as expensive as it is today. Research shows that a side salad for Thanksgiving would set you back about $0.17 in 1960. Today, the same dish will cost roughly $2.39. Since 2019, the price has nearly doubled.

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