$50 in 1986 → $108.13 in 2015

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$50 in 1986 → $108.13 in 2015

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $50 in 1986 to 2015

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2015 are 116.26% higher than average prices throughout 1986. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.70% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $50 in 1986 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $108.13 in 2015, a difference of $58.13 over 29 years.

The 1986 inflation rate was 1.86%. The inflation rate in 2015 was 0.12%. The 2015 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 1.95% per year between 2015 and 2019.


Inflation from 1986 to 2015
Cumulative price change 116.26%
Average inflation rate 2.70%
Converted amount ($50 base) $108.13
Price difference ($50 base) $58.13
CPI in 1986 109.600
CPI in 2015 237.017
Inflation in 1986 1.86%
Inflation in 2015 0.12%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
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Buying power of $50 in 1986

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $50 in 1986 (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 Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1986 $50.00 1.86%
1987 $51.82 3.65%
1988 $53.97 4.14%
1989 $56.57 4.82%
1990 $59.63 5.40%
1991 $62.14 4.21%
1992 $64.01 3.01%
1993 $65.92 2.99%
1994 $67.61 2.56%
1995 $69.53 2.83%
1996 $71.58 2.95%
1997 $73.22 2.29%
1998 $74.36 1.56%
1999 $76.00 2.21%
2000 $78.56 3.36%
2001 $80.79 2.85%
2002 $82.07 1.58%
2003 $83.94 2.28%
2004 $86.18 2.66%
2005 $89.10 3.39%
2006 $91.97 3.23%
2007 $94.59 2.85%
2008 $98.22 3.84%
2009 $97.87 -0.36%
2010 $99.48 1.64%
2011 $102.62 3.16%
2012 $104.74 2.07%
2013 $106.28 1.46%
2014 $108.00 1.62%
2015 $108.13 0.12%
2016 $109.49 1.26%
2017 $111.82 2.13%
2018 $114.56 2.44%
2019 $116.83 1.99%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 23 more rows

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1986 to 2015 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $50):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 29 years between 1986 and 2015 (3.31%).

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 29 years between 1986 and 2015 (2.38%).

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 £50.00 in 1986 would be equivalent to £132.16 in 2015, an absolute change of £82.16 and a cumulative change of 164.32%.

In Canada, CA$50.00 in 1986 would be equivalent to CA$94.69 in 2015, an absolute change of CA$44.69 and a cumulative change of 89.37%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $58.13 and total percent change of 116.26%.


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 1986 and 2015.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.70% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $50 in 1986 → 2015
Food 2.87 126.93 113.47
Shelter 3.08 140.71 120.36
Energy 2.91 129.61 114.81
Apparel 0.60 18.87 59.44
New vehicles 0.99 33.03 66.52
Used cars and trucks 1.05 35.22 67.61
Transportation services 3.21 150.21 125.10
Medical care services 4.81 290.60 195.30
Medical care commodities 3.73 188.91 144.45

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1986. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $50, 1986 to 2015

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2015CPI in 1986
×
1986 USD value
=
2015 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 109.6 in the year 1986 and 237.017 in 2015:

237.017109.6
×
$50
=
$108.13

$50 in 1986 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $108.13 in 2015.

To get the total inflation rate for the 29 years between 1986 and 2015, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2015 - CPI in 1986CPI in 1986
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (29 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

237.017 - 109.6109.6
×
100
=
116%

Alternate Measurements of Inflation

The above data describe the CPI for all items. Also of note is the Core CPI, which measures inflation for all items except for the more volatile categories of food and energy. Core inflation averaged 2.65% per year between 1986 and 2015 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.70%), for an inflation total of 113.39%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $50 in 1986 is equivalent in buying power to $106.69 in 2015, a difference of $56.69. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $108.13 with a difference of $58.13.

In 1986, core inflation was 4.04%.


Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.70% has a compounding effect between 1986 and 2015. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 116.26% over 29 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $50 in the S&P 500 index in 1986, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $900.15 in 2015. This is a return on investment of 1,700.29%, with an absolute return of $850.15.

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 53.76% of returns ($457.03) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $50 investment is $393.12.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1986-2015
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $50 $900.15 1,700.29%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$50 $393.12 786.24%


News headlines from 1986

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

  • Ferdinand Marcos becomes president of the Philippines after rigged elections.
  • 6.5 million People hold hands across the US in an event referred to as Hands Across America.
  • Doctors announce that the drug AZT will be available to AIDS patients.
  • Talks between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev begin at the Reykjavik summit.
  • Mrs. Davina Thompson receives the first heart, lung and liver transplant in Cambridge, England.

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: “$50 in 1986 → 2015 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 15 Jun. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1986-dollars-in-2015?amount=50.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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


» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1986 to 2015
Cumulative price change 116.26%
Average inflation rate 2.70%
Converted amount ($50 base) $108.13
Price difference ($50 base) $58.13
CPI in 1986 109.600
CPI in 2015 237.017
Inflation in 1986 1.86%
Inflation in 2015 0.12%