$20 in 1997 → $30.50 in 2017

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $20 in 1997 to 2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.13% per year. Prices in 2017 are 52.50% higher than prices in 1997.

In other words, $20 in 1997 is equivalent in purchasing power to $30.50 in 2017, a difference of $10.50 over 20 years.

The inflation rate in 2017 was 1.99%.

Inflation from 1997 to 2017
Cumulative price change 52.50%
Average inflation rate 2.13%
Converted amount ($20 base) $30.50
Price difference ($20 base) $10.50
CPI in 1997 160.5
CPI in 2017 244.786


U.S. inflation from 1913 to 2018


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 1.99% per year between 1997 and 2017 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.13%).

When using the core inflation measurement, $20 in 1997 is equivalent in buying power to $151.21 in 2017, a difference of $51.21. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $30.50 with a difference of $10.50.

In 1997, core inflation was 2.39%.


CPI is the weighted combination of many categories. This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1997 and 2017.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.13% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) $20 in 1997 → 2017
Food 2.35 31.80
Shelter 2.66 33.79
Energy 3.08 36.71
Apparel -0.28 18.91
New vehicles 0.09 20.38
Used cars and trucks -0.44 18.30
Transportation services 2.61 33.50
Medical care services 3.83 42.40
Medical care commodities 2.84 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.


Inflation rates for specific categories

Gasoline (all types) · Atlanta, Georgia · Detroit, Michigan · More

Inflation-adjusted measures

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

How to calculate the inflation rate for $20, 1997 to 2017

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2017 / CPI in 1997 * 1997 USD value = 2017 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 160.5 in the year 1997 and 244.786 in 2017:

244.786 / 160.5 * $20 = $30.50

$20 in 1997 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $30.50 in 2017.


Buying power of $20 since 1997

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $20 in 1997 (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
1997 $20.00 2.29%
1998 $20.31 1.56%
1999 $20.76 2.21%
2000 $21.46 3.36%
2001 $22.07 2.85%
2002 $22.42 1.58%
2003 $22.93 2.28%
2004 $23.54 2.66%
2005 $24.34 3.39%
2006 $25.12 3.23%
2007 $25.84 2.85%
2008 $26.83 3.84%
2009 $26.73 -0.36%
2010 $27.17 1.64%
2011 $28.03 3.16%
2012 $28.61 2.07%
2013 $29.03 1.46%
2014 $29.50 1.62%
2015 $29.53 0.12%
2016 $29.91 1.26%
2017 $30.50 1.99%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

News headlines from 1997

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

  • Production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons is outlawed as the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 comes into force.
  • The British lease of the New Territories in Hong Kong expires.
  • Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in a car crash in Paris,.
  • Hong Kong begins slaughtering chickens to prevent bird flu,.

Inflation can 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 172.96%.

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 144.25%.

Compare these numbers to the US's absolute change of $10.50 and percent change of 52.50%.


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 1997 → 2017 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 15 Jul. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1997-dollars-in-2017?amount=20.

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


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