$20 in 2016 → $20.92 in 2018

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $20 in 2016 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 4.62% higher than average prices throughout 2016. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.29% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $20 in 2016 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $20.92 in 2018, a difference of $0.92 over 2 years.

The 2016 inflation rate was 1.26%. The inflation rate in 2018 was 2.44%. The 2018 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 1.77% per year between 2018 and 2019.

Inflation from 2016 to 2018
Cumulative price change 4.62%
Average inflation rate 2.29%
Converted amount ($20 base) $20.92
Price difference ($20 base) $0.92
CPI in 2016 240.007
CPI in 2018 251.107
Inflation in 2016 1.26%
Inflation in 2018 2.44%

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

Buying power of $20 in 2016

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $20 in 2016 (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
2016 $20.00 1.26%
2017 $20.43 2.13%
2018 $20.92 2.44%
2019 $21.30 1.77%*
* 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 2016 to 2018 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $20):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 2 years between 2016 and 2018 (5.44%).

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 2 years between 2016 and 2018 (1.30%).

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 2016 would be equivalent to £21.23 in 2018, an absolute change of £1.23 and a cumulative change of 6.16%.

In Canada, CA$20.00 in 2016 would be equivalent to CA$20.37 in 2018, an absolute change of CA$0.37 and a cumulative change of 1.87%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.92 and total percent change of 4.62%.

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 2016 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.29% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $20 in 2016 → 2018
Food 1.13 2.27 20.45
Shelter 3.32 6.74 21.35
Energy 7.72 16.04 23.21
Apparel -0.16 -0.31 19.94
New vehicles -0.36 -0.73 19.85
Used cars and trucks -1.79 -3.56 19.29
Transportation services 3.67 7.48 21.50
Medical care services 2.30 4.66 20.93
Medical care commodities 1.98 3.99 20.80

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 2016. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $20, 2016 to 2018

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 2016
2016 USD value
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 240.007 in the year 2016 and 251.10683333333 in 2018:


$20 in 2016 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $20.92 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 2 years between 2016 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 2016CPI in 2016
Cumulative inflation rate (2 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

251.10683333333 - 240.007240.007

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 1.99% per year between 2016 and 2018 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.29%), for an inflation total of 4.02%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $20 in 2016 is equivalent in buying power to $20.80 in 2018, a difference of $0.80. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $20.92 with a difference of $0.92.

In 2016, core inflation was 2.21%.

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged 1.91% per year between 2016 and 2018, a total inflation amount of 4.02%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, $20 in 2016 is equal in buying power to $20.77 in 2018, a difference of $0.77 (versus a converted amount of $20.92/change of $0.92 for All Items).

In 2016, chained inflation was 0.93%.

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.29% has a compounding effect between 2016 and 2018. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 4.62% over 2 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $20 in the S&P 500 index in 2016, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $28.83 in 2018. This is a return on investment of 44.15%, with an absolute return of $8.83.

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 4.42% of returns ($0.39) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $20 investment is $8.44.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2016-2018
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $20 $28.83 44.15%
Inflation Adjusted
$20 $8.44 42.19%

News headlines from 2016

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

  • The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in a referendum, prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to resign.
  • Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States.
  • The World Health Organisation confirms the outbreak of the Zika virus.
  • Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, is assassinated.

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 2016 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 27 May. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/2016-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.

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.