U.S. inflation rate in 2009: -0.36%

Inflation Calculator


U.S. inflation rate in 2009: -0.36%

Inflation in 2009 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power increased by 0.36% in 2009 compared to 2008. On average, you would have to spend 0.36% less money in 2009 than in 2008 for the same item. This is an example of deflation.

In other words, $1 in 2008 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.00 in 2009.

The 2008 inflation rate was 3.84%. The inflation rate in 2009 was -0.36%. The 2009 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 1.81% per year between 2009 and 2019.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 2009 was 214.54. It was 215.30 in the previous year, 2008. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation. Because the 2009 CPI is less than 2008 CPI, negative inflation (also known as deflation) has occurred.

Inflation from 2008 to 2009
Average inflation rate -0.36%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.00
Price difference ($1 base) $0.00
CPI in 2008 215.303
CPI in 2009 214.537
Inflation in 2008 3.84%
Inflation in 2009 -0.36%

USD 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 2008 to 2009 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2008 and 2009 (2.37%).

Atlanta, Georgia experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2008 and 2009 (-2.83%).

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 2008 would be equivalent to £0.99 in 2009, an absolute change of £-0.01 and a cumulative change of -0.53%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 2008 would be equivalent to CA$1.01 in 2009, an absolute change of CA$0.01 and a cumulative change of 1.32%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.00 and total percent change of -0.36%.

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 2008 and 2009.

Compare these values to the overall average of -0.36% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 2008 → 2009
Food 1.80 1.80 1.02
Shelter 1.09 1.09 1.01
Energy -18.11 -18.11 0.82
Apparel 0.98 0.98 1.01
New vehicles 1.07 1.07 1.01
Used cars and trucks -5.21 -5.21 0.95
Transportation services 2.85 2.85 1.03
Medical care services 3.21 3.21 1.03
Medical care commodities 3.06 3.06 1.03

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 2008. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 2008 to 2009

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2009CPI in 2008
2008 USD value
2009 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 215.303 in the year 2008 and 214.537 in 2009:


$1 in 2008 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.00 in 2009.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 2008 and 2009, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2009 - CPI in 2008CPI in 2008
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

214.537 - 215.303215.303

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 1.70% per year between 2008 and 2009 (vs all-CPI inflation of -0.36%), for an inflation total of 1.70%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 2008 is equivalent in buying power to $1.02 in 2009, a difference of $0.02. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $1.00 with a difference of $0.00.

In 2008, core inflation was 2.30%.

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged -0.47% per year between 2008 and 2009, a total inflation amount of 1.70%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, $1 in 2008 is equal in buying power to $1.00 in 2009, a difference of $0.00 (versus a converted amount of $1.00/change of $0.00 for All Items).

In 2008, chained inflation was 3.73%.

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 2008, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $0.86 in 2009. This is a return on investment of -14.18%, with an absolute return of $-0.14.

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 -0.36% of returns ($0.00) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $-0.14.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2008-2009
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $0.86 -14.18%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $-0.14 -14.23%

News headlines from 2008

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

  • Black Monday: stock markets crash all over the globe, resulting in enormous drops in global stock markets and halts in trading.
  • Fidel Castro retires as Cuban President due to ill health, after nearly 50 years in power.
  • Barak Obama becomes the first African American to receive the presidential nomination of his party.

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 2009 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 24 Oct. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-2009.

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.

Inflation from 2008 to 2009
Average inflation rate -0.36%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.00
Price difference ($1 base) $0.00
CPI in 2008 215.303
CPI in 2009 214.537
Inflation in 2008 3.84%
Inflation in 2009 -0.36%