According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2017 are 52.72% higher than prices in 1997. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.14% per year during this period.
In other words, $20 in 1997 is equivalent in purchasing power to $30.54 in 2017, a difference of $10.54 over 20 years.
The 1997 inflation rate was 2.29%. The inflation rate in 2017 was 2.13%. The 2017 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.87% per year between 2017 and 2018.
|Cumulative price change||52.72%|
|Average inflation rate||2.14%|
|Converted amount ($20 base)||$30.54|
|Price difference ($20 base)||$10.54|
|CPI in 1997||160.5|
|CPI in 2017||245.12|
|Inflation in 1997||2.29%|
|Inflation in 2017||2.13%|
This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $20 in 1997 (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|
Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1997 to 2017 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $20):
Seattle, Washington experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 20 years between 1997 and 2017 (4.36%).
Chicago, Illinois experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 20 years between 1997 and 2017 (1.86%).
Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £20.00 in 1997 would be equivalent to £34.59 in 2017, an absolute change of £14.59 and a cumulative change of 72.96%.
In Canada, CA$20.00 in 1997 would be equivalent to CA$28.85 in 2017, an absolute change of CA$8.85 and a cumulative change of 44.25%.
Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $10.54 and total percent change of 52.72%.
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 1997 and 2017.
Compare these values to the overall average of 2.14% per year:
|Category||Avg Inflation (%)||Total Inflation (%)||$20 in 1997 → 2017|
|Used cars and trucks||-0.44||-8.50||18.30|
|Medical care services||3.83||111.98||42.40|
|Medical care commodities||2.84||75.16||35.03|
It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1997. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.
This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:
Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 160.5 in the year 1997 and 245.12 in 2017:
$20 in 1997 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $30.54 in 2017.
To get the total inflation rate for the 20 years between 1997 and 2017, we use the following formula:
Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:
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 2.01% per year between 1997 and 2017 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.14%), for an inflation total of 48.77%.
When using the core inflation measurement, $20 in 1997 is equivalent in buying power to $29.75 in 2017, a difference of $9.75. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $30.54 with a difference of $10.54.
In 1997, core inflation was 2.39%.
The average inflation rate of 2.14% during these years has a compounding effect. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate produces an overall price difference of 52.72% over 20 years.
To help put this inflation into perspective, if you had invested $20 in the S&P 500 index in 1997, your investment would be worth approximately $106.75 in 2017. This is a change of 433.76%.
This means the nominal return on a $20 investment is $86.75, but inflation would eat into your real returns.
Inflation would account for 34.52% of your returns ($29.95), for an inflation-adjusted real return of about $56.80.
Politics and news often influence economic performance. Here's what was happening at the time:
Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (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 1997 → 2017 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 16 Oct. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1997-dollars-in-2017?amount=20.
in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.