$20 in 1860 → $579.99 in 2018

Inflation Calculator

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $20 in 1860 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.15% per year. Prices in 2018 are 2,799.95% higher than prices in 1860.

In other words, $20 in 1860 is equivalent in purchasing power to $579.99 in 2018, a difference of $559.99 over 158 years.

The current inflation rate is now 2.87%1. If this number holds, $20 today will be equivalent to $20.57 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.

Inflation from 1860 to 2018
Cumulative price change 2799.95%
Average inflation rate 2.15%
Converted amount ($20 base) $579.99
Price difference ($20 base) $559.99
CPI in 2018 251.989


U.S. inflation chart since 1665


CPI is the weighted combination of many categories. This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1860 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.15% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) $20 in 1860 → 2018
Food 3.13 2,611.01
Shelter 4.09 11,339.34
Energy 3.88 8,196.53
Apparel 2.06 501.37
New vehicles 1.05 104.81
Used cars and trucks 0.61 52.61
Transportation services 3.35 3,620.58
Medical care services 5.11 52,272.76
Medical care commodities 4.29 15,236.73

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1860. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.


Inflation rates for specific categories

Televisions · Indoor plants and flowers · Alcoholic beverages · More

Inflation-adjusted measures

S&P 500 price · S&P 500 earnings · Shiller P/E

Buying power of $20 since 1860

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $20 in 1860 (price index tracking began in 1913).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each of these USD amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Year USD Value Inflation Rate
1860 $20.00 -
1861 $21.30 6.52%
1862 $24.35 14.29%
1863 $30.00 23.21%
1864 $37.83 26.09%
1865 $39.13 3.45%
1866 $38.26 -2.22%
1867 $35.65 -6.82%
1868 $33.91 -4.88%
1869 $32.61 -3.85%
1870 $31.30 -4.00%
1871 $29.13 -6.94%
1872 $29.13 0.00%
1873 $28.70 -1.49%
1874 $27.39 -4.55%
1875 $26.09 -4.76%
1876 $25.65 -1.67%
1877 $25.22 -1.69%
1878 $23.91 -5.17%
1879 $23.91 0.00%
1880 $24.78 3.64%
1881 $24.78 0.00%
1882 $24.78 0.00%
1883 $24.35 -1.75%
1884 $23.48 -3.57%
1885 $23.04 -1.85%
1886 $22.61 -1.89%
1887 $22.61 0.00%
1888 $22.61 0.00%
1889 $22.17 -1.92%
1890 $21.74 -1.96%
1891 $21.74 0.00%
1892 $21.74 0.00%
1893 $21.74 0.00%
1894 $20.43 -6.00%
1895 $20.43 0.00%
1896 $20.43 0.00%
1897 $20.00 -2.13%
1898 $20.00 0.00%
1899 $20.00 0.00%
1900 $20.43 2.17%
1901 $20.43 0.00%
1902 $20.43 0.00%
1903 $21.30 4.26%
1904 $21.30 0.00%
1905 $21.30 0.00%
1906 $21.74 2.04%
1907 $22.61 4.00%
1908 $22.17 -1.92%
1909 $21.74 -1.96%
1910 $22.61 4.00%
1911 $22.61 0.00%
1912 $23.04 1.92%
1913 $22.79 -1.10%
1914 $23.02 1.01%
1915 $23.25 1.00%
1916 $25.09 7.92%
1917 $29.46 17.43%
1918 $34.75 17.97%
1919 $39.82 14.57%
1920 $46.03 15.61%
1921 $41.20 -10.50%
1922 $38.67 -6.15%
1923 $39.36 1.79%
1924 $39.36 0.00%
1925 $40.28 2.34%
1926 $40.74 1.14%
1927 $40.05 -1.69%
1928 $39.36 -1.72%
1929 $39.36 0.00%
1930 $38.44 -2.34%
1931 $34.99 -8.98%
1932 $31.53 -9.87%
1933 $29.92 -5.11%
1934 $30.84 3.08%
1935 $31.53 2.24%
1936 $31.99 1.46%
1937 $33.14 3.60%
1938 $32.45 -2.08%
1939 $31.99 -1.42%
1940 $32.22 0.72%
1941 $33.83 5.00%
1942 $37.52 10.88%
1943 $39.82 6.13%
1944 $40.51 1.73%
1945 $41.43 2.27%
1946 $44.88 8.33%
1947 $51.33 14.36%
1948 $55.47 8.07%
1949 $54.78 -1.24%
1950 $55.47 1.26%
1951 $59.84 7.88%
1952 $60.99 1.92%
1953 $61.45 0.75%
1954 $61.91 0.75%
1955 $61.68 -0.37%
1956 $62.61 1.49%
1957 $64.68 3.31%
1958 $66.52 2.85%
1959 $66.98 0.69%
1960 $68.13 1.72%
1961 $68.82 1.01%
1962 $69.51 1.00%
1963 $70.43 1.32%
1964 $71.35 1.31%
1965 $72.50 1.61%
1966 $74.57 2.86%
1967 $76.88 3.09%
1968 $80.10 4.19%
1969 $84.47 5.46%
1970 $89.30 5.72%
1971 $93.22 4.38%
1972 $96.21 3.21%
1973 $102.19 6.22%
1974 $113.47 11.04%
1975 $123.83 9.13%
1976 $130.96 5.76%
1977 $139.48 6.50%
1978 $150.07 7.59%
1979 $167.10 11.35%
1980 $189.66 13.50%
1981 $209.22 10.32%
1982 $222.11 6.16%
1983 $229.24 3.21%
1984 $239.14 4.32%
1985 $247.66 3.56%
1986 $252.26 1.86%
1987 $261.47 3.65%
1988 $272.29 4.14%
1989 $285.41 4.82%
1990 $300.83 5.40%
1991 $313.49 4.21%
1992 $322.92 3.01%
1993 $332.59 2.99%
1994 $341.11 2.56%
1995 $350.77 2.83%
1996 $361.13 2.95%
1997 $369.42 2.29%
1998 $375.17 1.56%
1999 $383.46 2.21%
2000 $396.34 3.36%
2001 $407.62 2.85%
2002 $414.07 1.58%
2003 $423.50 2.28%
2004 $434.78 2.66%
2005 $449.51 3.39%
2006 $464.01 3.23%
2007 $477.23 2.85%
2008 $495.55 3.84%
2009 $493.79 -0.36%
2010 $501.89 1.64%
2011 $517.73 3.16%
2012 $528.45 2.07%
2013 $536.19 1.46%
2014 $544.88 1.62%
2015 $545.53 0.12%
2016 $552.41 1.26%
2017 $563.41 1.99%
2018 $579.99 2.94%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

News headlines from 1860

Politics and news often influence economic performance. Here's what was happening at the time:

  • Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th President of the U.S.
  • Slavery ends in the Dutch East Indies.

Inflation can vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £20.00 in 1860 would be equivalent to £2,361.87 in 2018, an absolute change of £2,341.87 and a cumulative change of 11,809.37%.

Compare these numbers to the US's absolute change of $559.99 and percent change of 2,799.95%.


Data Source & Citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (CPI), established in 1913. Inflation data from 1665 to 1912 is sourced from a historical study conducted by political science professor Robert Sahr at Oregon State University.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “$20 in 1860 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 Jul. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1860-dollars?amount=20.

in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.


» Read more about inflation.