U.S. inflation rate in 2003: 2.28%

Inflation Calculator


Inflation in 2003 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power decreased by 2.28% in 2003 compared to the previous year, 2002. On average, you would have to spend 2.28% more money in 2003 than in 2002 for the same item.

In other words, $1 in 2002 is equivalent in purchasing power to $1.02 in 2003.

The 2002 inflation rate was 1.58%. The inflation rate in 2003 was 2.28%. The 2003 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 2.14% per year between 2003 and 2018.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 2003 was 184. It was 179.9 in the previous year, 2002. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 2002 to 2003
Average inflation rate 2.28%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.02
Price difference ($1 base) $0.02
CPI in 2002 179.900
CPI in 2003 184.000
Inflation in 2002 1.58%
Inflation in 2003 2.28%

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

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 2002 to 2003 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2002 and 2003 (6.93%).

Denver, Colorado experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2002 and 2003 (1.08%).

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 £1.00 in 2002 would be equivalent to £1.03 in 2003, an absolute change of £0.03 and a cumulative change of 2.89%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 2002 would be equivalent to CA$1.02 in 2003, an absolute change of CA$0.02 and a cumulative change of 2.08%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.02 and total percent change of 2.28%.

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 2002 and 2003.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.28% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 2002 → 2003
Food 2.13 2.13 1.02
Shelter 2.41 2.41 1.02
Energy 12.33 12.33 1.12
Apparel -2.54 -2.54 0.97
New vehicles -1.52 -1.52 0.98
Used cars and trucks -5.96 -5.96 0.94
Transportation services 3.44 3.44 1.03
Medical care services 4.47 4.47 1.04
Medical care commodities 2.50 2.50 1.02

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 2002. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 2002 to 2003

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2003CPI in 2002
2002 USD value
2003 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 179.9 in the year 2002 and 184 in 2003:


$1 in 2002 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.02 in 2003.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 2002 and 2003, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2003 - CPI in 2002CPI in 2002
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

184 - 179.9179.9

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 1.46% per year between 2002 and 2003 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.28%), for an inflation total of 1.46%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 2002 is equivalent in buying power to $1.01 in 2003, a difference of $0.01. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $1.02 with a difference of $0.02.

In 2002, core inflation was 2.32%.

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged 2.04% per year between 2002 and 2003, a total inflation amount of 1.46%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, $1 in 2002 is equal in buying power to $1.02 in 2003, a difference of $0.02 (versus a converted amount of $1.02/change of $0.02 for All Items).

In 2002, chained inflation was 1.26%.

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 2002, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.03 in 2003. This is a return on investment of 2.69%, with an absolute return of $0.03.

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 2.23% of returns ($0.00) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.03.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2002-2003
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.03 2.69%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.03 2.63%

News headlines from 2002

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

  • United States deploys conventional forces as part of Operation Anaconda during the US invasion of Afghanistan.
  • Jimmy Carter visits Cuba, marking the first time an American president has visited the Island since 1959.
  • It is announced that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members of the European Union from May 1, 2004.

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: “Inflation Rate in 2003 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 14 Nov. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-2003.

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

» Read more about inflation and investment.