U.S. inflation rate in 1981: 10.32%

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U.S. Inflation Rate, 1981-2017 ($1)

The consumer price index (CPI) in 1981 was 90.9. the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses this CPI value to track inflation on a monthly basis.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.79% per year. Prices in 2017 are 169.0% higher than prices in 1981.

In other words, $1 in the year 1981 is equivalent to $2.69 in 2017, a difference of $1.69 over 36 years.

The current inflation rate in 2017 is 1.99%1. If this number holds, $1 today will be equivalent to $1.02 next year.

Inflation from 1981 to 2017
Cumulative price change 169.00%
Average inflation rate 2.79%
Price difference ($1 base) $1.69
CPI in 1981 90.9
CPI in 2017 244.786


U.S. inflation from 1913 to 2017


Inflation rates for specific categories

College tuition and fees · Bread · Admission to sporting events · More

Inflation-adjusted measures

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

How to calculate the inflation rate for $1 since 1981

Start with the inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2017 / CPI in 1981 * 1981 USD value = 2017 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 90.9 in the year 1981 and 244.786 in 2017:

244.786 / 90.9 * $1 = $2.69

The "purchasing power" of $1 from 1981 is $2.69 in 2017.


News headlines from 1981

Politics and news often play an important role in economic performance.

  • Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the President of the United States.
  • IBM introduces its first PC - Personal Computer.
  • United States Center for Disease Control reports that pneumonia is affecting five homosexual men in Los Angeles, which marks the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

Inflation Data Source: 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.


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