$20 in 1916 → $462.46 in 2018

Inflation Calculator

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $20 in 1916 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 2,212.28% higher than prices in 1916. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.13% per year during this period.

In other words, $20 in 1916 is equivalent in purchasing power to $462.46 in 2018, a difference of $442.46 over 102 years.

The 1916 inflation rate was 7.92%. The current inflation rate (2017 to 2018) is now 2.18%1. If this number holds, $20 today will be equivalent to $20.44 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1916 to 2018
Cumulative price change 2,212.28%
Average inflation rate 3.13%
Converted amount ($20 base) $462.46
Price difference ($20 base) $442.46
CPI in 1916 10.900
CPI in 2018 252.038
Inflation in 1916 7.92%
Inflation in 2018 2.18%


U.S. Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

Buying power of $20 since 1916

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $20 in 1916 (price index tracking began in 1635).

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
1916 $20.00 7.92%
1917 $23.49 17.43%
1918 $27.71 17.97%
1919 $31.74 14.57%
1920 $36.70 15.61%
1921 $32.84 -10.50%
1922 $30.83 -6.15%
1923 $31.38 1.79%
1924 $31.38 0.00%
1925 $32.11 2.34%
1926 $32.48 1.14%
1927 $31.93 -1.69%
1928 $31.38 -1.72%
1929 $31.38 0.00%
1930 $30.64 -2.34%
1931 $27.89 -8.98%
1932 $25.14 -9.87%
1933 $23.85 -5.11%
1934 $24.59 3.08%
1935 $25.14 2.24%
1936 $25.50 1.46%
1937 $26.42 3.60%
1938 $25.87 -2.08%
1939 $25.50 -1.42%
1940 $25.69 0.72%
1941 $26.97 5.00%
1942 $29.91 10.88%
1943 $31.74 6.13%
1944 $32.29 1.73%
1945 $33.03 2.27%
1946 $35.78 8.33%
1947 $40.92 14.36%
1948 $44.22 8.07%
1949 $43.67 -1.24%
1950 $44.22 1.26%
1951 $47.71 7.88%
1952 $48.62 1.92%
1953 $48.99 0.75%
1954 $49.36 0.75%
1955 $49.17 -0.37%
1956 $49.91 1.49%
1957 $51.56 3.31%
1958 $53.03 2.85%
1959 $53.39 0.69%
1960 $54.31 1.72%
1961 $54.86 1.01%
1962 $55.41 1.00%
1963 $56.15 1.32%
1964 $56.88 1.31%
1965 $57.80 1.61%
1966 $59.45 2.86%
1967 $61.28 3.09%
1968 $63.85 4.19%
1969 $67.34 5.46%
1970 $71.19 5.72%
1971 $74.31 4.38%
1972 $76.70 3.21%
1973 $81.47 6.22%
1974 $90.46 11.04%
1975 $98.72 9.13%
1976 $104.40 5.76%
1977 $111.19 6.50%
1978 $119.63 7.59%
1979 $133.21 11.35%
1980 $151.19 13.50%
1981 $166.79 10.32%
1982 $177.06 6.16%
1983 $182.75 3.21%
1984 $190.64 4.32%
1985 $197.43 3.56%
1986 $201.10 1.86%
1987 $208.44 3.65%
1988 $217.06 4.14%
1989 $227.52 4.82%
1990 $239.82 5.40%
1991 $249.91 4.21%
1992 $257.43 3.01%
1993 $265.14 2.99%
1994 $271.93 2.56%
1995 $279.63 2.83%
1996 $287.89 2.95%
1997 $294.50 2.29%
1998 $299.08 1.56%
1999 $305.69 2.21%
2000 $315.96 3.36%
2001 $324.95 2.85%
2002 $330.09 1.58%
2003 $337.61 2.28%
2004 $346.61 2.66%
2005 $358.35 3.39%
2006 $369.91 3.23%
2007 $380.44 2.85%
2008 $395.05 3.84%
2009 $393.65 -0.36%
2010 $400.10 1.64%
2011 $412.73 3.16%
2012 $421.27 2.07%
2013 $427.44 1.46%
2014 $434.38 1.62%
2015 $434.89 0.12%
2016 $440.38 1.26%
2017 $449.76 2.13%
2018 $462.46 2.82%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1916 to 2018 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $20):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 102 years between 1916 and 2018 (3.41%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 102 years between 1916 and 2018 (3.11%).

Note that some locations showing 0% inflation may have not yet reported latest data.


Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £20.00 in 1916 would be equivalent to £1,689.65 in 2018, an absolute change of £1,669.65 and a cumulative change of 8,348.25%.

In Canada, CA$20.00 in 1916 would be equivalent to CA$370.28 in 2018, an absolute change of CA$350.28 and a cumulative change of 1,751.39%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $442.46 and total percent change of 2,212.28%.


Inflation by Spending Category

CPI is the weighted combination of many categories of spending that are tracked by the government. This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1916 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 3.13% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $20 in 1916 → 2018
Food 3.10 2,147.14 449.43
Shelter 4.10 5,954.49 1,210.90
Energy 3.89 4,810.27 982.05
Apparel 1.96 626.92 145.38
New vehicles 1.05 191.34 58.27
Used cars and trucks 0.61 86.71 37.34
Transportation services 3.35 2,767.70 573.54
Medical care services 5.11 16,013.20 3,222.64
Medical care commodities 4.28 7,120.15 1,444.03

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1916. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $20 since 1916

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 1916
×
1916 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 10.9 in the year 1916 and 252.038 in 2018:

252.03810.9
×
$20
=
$462.46

$20 in 1916 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $462.46 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 102 years between 1916 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1916CPI in 1916
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (102 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

252.038 - 10.910.9
×
100
=
2,212%

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 3.13% has a compounding effect between 1916 and 2018. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,212.28% over 102 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $20 in the S&P 500 index in 1916, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $353,260.73 in 2018. This is a return on investment of 1,766,203.64%, with an absolute return of $353,240.73.

These numbers are not inflation adjusted, so they are considered nominal. In order to evaluate the real return on our investment, we must calculate the return with inflation taken into account.

The compounding effect of inflation would account for 95.68% of returns ($337,963.97) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $20 investment is $15,276.76.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1916-2018
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $20 $353,260.73 1,766,203.64%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$20 $15,276.76 76,383.80%


News headlines from 1916

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

  • Ottoman forces successfully defend access to Constantinople, leading to ANZAC forces withdrawal from the Gallipoli Peninsula.
  • An estimated 1 million men are killed during the Battle of Verdun.
  • The Easter Rising ends after Irish republicans abandon the post office in Dublin and surrenders.
  • Tanks known as 'Little Willies' are used for the first time at the Battle of the Somme.
  • The first aerial combat in France is won by Manfred von Richthofen, known as The Red Baron, German Luftstreitkrafte flying ace.

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 1916 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 16 Dec. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1916-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.

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


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