# \$20 in 1926 is worth \$344.30 in 2023

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## Value of \$20 from 1926 to 2023

\$20 in 1926 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$344.30 in 2023, an increase of \$324.30 over 97 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.98% per year between 1926 and 2023, producing a cumulative price increase of 1,621.48%.

This means that prices in 2023 are 17.21 times as high as average prices since 1926, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The inflation rate in 1926 was 1.14%. The inflation rate in 2023 was 4.12%. The 2023 inflation rate is higher compared to the average inflation rate of 2.90% per year between 2023 and 2024.

 Cumulative price change 1,621.48% Average inflation rate 2.98% Converted amount\$20 base \$344.30 Price difference\$20 base \$324.30 CPI in 1926 17.700 CPI in 2023 304.702 Inflation in 1926 1.14% Inflation in 2023 4.12% \$20 in 1926 \$344.30 in 2023

USD inflation since 1926
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

## Buying power of \$20 in 1926

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$20 in 1926 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$20, you would need to end with \$344.30 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$20 is equivalent to \$344.30 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single U.S. dollar decreases over time. In other words, a dollar will pay for fewer items at the store.

This effect explains how inflation erodes the value of a dollar over time. By calculating the value in 1926 dollars, the chart below shows how \$20 is worth less over 97 years.

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:

Dollar inflation: 1926-2023
YearDollar ValueInflation Rate
1926\$20.001.14%
1927\$19.66-1.69%
1928\$19.32-1.72%
1929\$19.320.00%
1930\$18.87-2.34%
1931\$17.18-8.98%
1932\$15.48-9.87%
1933\$14.69-5.11%
1934\$15.143.08%
1935\$15.482.24%
1936\$15.711.46%
1937\$16.273.60%
1938\$15.93-2.08%
1939\$15.71-1.42%
1940\$15.820.72%
1941\$16.615.00%
1942\$18.4210.88%
1943\$19.556.13%
1944\$19.891.73%
1945\$20.342.27%
1946\$22.038.33%
1947\$25.2014.36%
1948\$27.238.07%
1949\$26.89-1.24%
1950\$27.231.26%
1951\$29.387.88%
1952\$29.941.92%
1953\$30.170.75%
1954\$30.400.75%
1955\$30.28-0.37%
1956\$30.731.49%
1957\$31.753.31%
1958\$32.662.85%
1959\$32.880.69%
1960\$33.451.72%
1961\$33.791.01%
1962\$34.121.00%
1963\$34.581.32%
1964\$35.031.31%
1965\$35.591.61%
1966\$36.612.86%
1967\$37.743.09%
1968\$39.324.19%
1969\$41.475.46%
1970\$43.845.72%
1971\$45.764.38%
1972\$47.233.21%
1973\$50.176.22%
1974\$55.7111.04%
1975\$60.799.13%
1976\$64.295.76%
1977\$68.476.50%
1978\$73.677.59%
1979\$82.0311.35%
1980\$93.1113.50%
1981\$102.7110.32%
1982\$109.046.16%
1983\$112.543.21%
1984\$117.404.32%
1985\$121.583.56%
1986\$123.841.86%
1987\$128.363.65%
1988\$133.674.14%
1989\$140.114.82%
1990\$147.685.40%
1991\$153.904.21%
1992\$158.533.01%
1993\$163.282.99%
1994\$167.462.56%
1995\$172.202.83%
1996\$177.292.95%
1997\$181.362.29%
1998\$184.181.56%
1999\$188.252.21%
2000\$194.583.36%
2001\$200.112.85%
2002\$203.281.58%
2003\$207.912.28%
2004\$213.452.66%
2005\$220.683.39%
2006\$227.803.23%
2007\$234.282.85%
2008\$243.283.84%
2009\$242.41-0.36%
2010\$246.391.64%
2011\$254.173.16%
2012\$259.432.07%
2013\$263.231.46%
2014\$267.501.62%
2015\$267.820.12%
2016\$271.191.26%
2017\$276.972.13%
2018\$283.882.49%
2019\$288.881.76%
2020\$292.441.23%
2021\$306.184.70%
2022\$330.688.00%
2023\$344.304.12%
2024\$354.292.90%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 91 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1926 amounts in 2023 dollars, based on the 1,621.48% change in prices:

Conversion: 1926 dollars in 2023
Initial valueEquivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1926\$17.21 dollars in 2023
\$5 dollars in 1926\$86.07 dollars in 2023
\$10 dollars in 1926\$172.15 dollars in 2023
\$50 dollars in 1926\$860.74 dollars in 2023
\$100 dollars in 1926\$1,721.48 dollars in 2023
\$500 dollars in 1926\$8,607.41 dollars in 2023
\$1,000 dollars in 1926\$17,214.81 dollars in 2023
\$5,000 dollars in 1926\$86,074.06 dollars in 2023
\$10,000 dollars in 1926\$172,148.12 dollars in 2023
\$50,000 dollars in 1926\$860,740.58 dollars in 2023
\$100,000 dollars in 1926\$1,721,481.17 dollars in 2023
\$500,000 dollars in 1926\$8,607,405.84 dollars in 2023
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1926\$17,214,811.68 dollars in 2023

## Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1926 to 2023 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of \$20):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 97 years between 1926 and 2023 (3.26%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 97 years between 1926 and 2023 (2.85%).

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 1926 would be equivalent to £1,474.53 in 2023, an absolute change of £1,454.53 and a cumulative change of 7,272.66%.

In Canada, CA\$20.00 in 1926 would be equivalent to CA\$341.30 in 2023, an absolute change of CA\$321.30 and a cumulative change of 1,606.52%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$324.30 and total percent change of 1,621.48%.

## Inflation by Spending Category

CPI is the weighted combination of many categories of spending that are tracked by the government. Breaking down these categories helps explain the main drivers behind price changes.

This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1926 and 2023.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.98% per year:

CategoryAvg Inflation (%)Total Inflation (%)\$20 in 1926 → 2023
Food and beverages4.034,536.69927.34
Housing4.275,676.631,155.33
Apparel1.68405.47101.09
Transportation3.392,438.06507.61
Medical care4.637,992.391,618.48
Recreation1.36271.2774.25
Education and communication1.78454.76110.95
Other goods and services5.0011,207.642,261.53

The graph below compares inflation in categories of goods over time. Click on a category such as "Food" to toggle it on or off:

For all these visualizations, it's important to note that not all categories may have been tracked since 1926. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

## How to calculate inflation rate for \$20, 1926 to 2023

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1926 and 2023:

CPI in 2023 CPI in 1926
×
1926 USD value
=
2023 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 17.7 in the year 1926 and 304.70216666667 in 2023:

304.7021666666717.7
×
\$20
=
\$344.30

\$20 in 1926 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$344.30 in 2023.

To get the total inflation rate for the 97 years between 1926 and 2023, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2023 - CPI in 1926CPI in 1926
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (97 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

304.70216666667 - 17.717.7
×
100
=
1,621%

## Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.98% has a compounding effect between 1926 and 2023. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 1,621.48% over 97 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$20 in the S&P 500 index in 1926, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$274,772.56 in 2023. This is a return on investment of 1,373,762.80%, with an absolute return of \$274,752.56 on top of the original \$20.

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 94.19% of returns (\$258,811.16) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$20 investment is \$15,941.40. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around \$13,550 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1926-2023
Original AmountFinal AmountChange
Nominal\$20\$274,772.561,373,762.80%
Real
\$20\$15,961.4079,707.02%

Information displayed above may differ slightly from other S&P 500 calculators. Minor discrepancies can occur because we use the latest CPI data for inflation, annualized inflation numbers for previous years, and we compute S&P price and dividends from January of 1926 to latest available data for 2023 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1926 and 2023, see the stock market returns calculator.

## Data source & citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (CPI), established in 1913. Price index data from 1774 to 1912 is sourced from a historical study conducted by political science professor Robert Sahr at Oregon State University and from the American Antiquarian Society. Price index data from 1634 to 1773 is from the American Antiquarian Society, using British pound equivalents.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “\$20 in 1926 → 2023 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 26 May. 2024, https://www.officialdata.org/1926-dollars-in-2023?amount=20.

Special thanks to QuickChart for their chart image API, which is used for chart downloads.

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