$20 in 1984 → $49.54 in 2019

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$20 in 1984 → $49.54 in 2019

U.S. Inflation Rate, $20 in 1984 to 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2019 are 147.69% higher than average prices throughout 1984. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.63% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $20 in 1984 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $49.54 in 2019, a difference of $29.54 over 35 years.

The 1984 inflation rate was 4.32%. The current inflation rate (2018 to 2019) is now 1.76%1. If this number holds, $20 today will be equivalent in buying power to $20.35 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1984 to 2019
Cumulative price change 147.69%
Average inflation rate 2.63%
Converted amount ($20 base) $49.54
Price difference ($20 base) $29.54
CPI in 1984 103.900
CPI in 2019 257.346
Inflation in 1984 4.32%
Inflation in 2019 1.76%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
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Buying power of $20 in 1984

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $20 in 1984 (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
1984 $20.00 4.32%
1985 $20.71 3.56%
1986 $21.10 1.86%
1987 $21.87 3.65%
1988 $22.77 4.14%
1989 $23.87 4.82%
1990 $25.16 5.40%
1991 $26.22 4.21%
1992 $27.01 3.01%
1993 $27.82 2.99%
1994 $28.53 2.56%
1995 $29.34 2.83%
1996 $30.20 2.95%
1997 $30.90 2.29%
1998 $31.38 1.56%
1999 $32.07 2.21%
2000 $33.15 3.36%
2001 $34.09 2.85%
2002 $34.63 1.58%
2003 $35.42 2.28%
2004 $36.36 2.66%
2005 $37.59 3.39%
2006 $38.81 3.23%
2007 $39.91 2.85%
2008 $41.44 3.84%
2009 $41.30 -0.36%
2010 $41.97 1.64%
2011 $43.30 3.16%
2012 $44.20 2.07%
2013 $44.84 1.46%
2014 $45.57 1.62%
2015 $45.62 0.12%
2016 $46.20 1.26%
2017 $47.18 2.13%
2018 $48.34 2.44%
2019 $49.54 2.48%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 29 more rows

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1984 to 2019 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $20):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 35 years between 1984 and 2019 (3.02%).

Houston, Texas experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 35 years between 1984 and 2019 (2.32%).

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 1984 would be equivalent to £63.75 in 2019, an absolute change of £43.75 and a cumulative change of 218.77%.

In Canada, CA$20.00 in 1984 would be equivalent to CA$43.45 in 2019, an absolute change of CA$23.45 and a cumulative change of 117.26%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $29.54 and total percent change of 147.69%.


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 1984 and 2019.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.63% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $20 in 1984 → 2019
Food and beverages 2.65 149.69 49.94
Housing 2.72 156.15 51.23
Apparel 0.57 22.16 24.43
Transportation 2.04 102.73 40.55
Medical care 4.48 363.73 92.75
Recreation 1.09 46.03 29.21
Education and communication 1.84 89.61 37.92
Other goods and services 4.16 316.93 83.39

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 1984. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $20 since 1984

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2019CPI in 1984
×
1984 USD value
=
2019 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 103.9 in the year 1984 and 257.346 in 2019:

257.346103.9
×
$20
=
$49.54

$20 in 1984 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $49.54 in 2019.

To get the total inflation rate for the 35 years between 1984 and 2019, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2019 - CPI in 1984CPI in 1984
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (35 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

257.346 - 103.9103.9
×
100
=
148%

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 2.67% per year between 1984 and 2019 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.63%), for an inflation total of 151.42%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $20 in 1984 is equivalent in buying power to $50.28 in 2019, a difference of $30.28. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $49.54 with a difference of $29.54.

In 1984, core inflation was 4.95%.


Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.63% has a compounding effect between 1984 and 2019. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 147.69% over 35 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $20 in the S&P 500 index in 1984, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $859.47 in 2019. This is a return on investment of 4,197.36%, with an absolute return of $839.47 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 59.63% of returns ($512.47) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $20 investment is $327.00. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $278 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1984-2019
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $20 $859.47 4,197.36%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$20 $347.00 1,635.00%

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 1984 to latest available data for 2019.


News headlines from 1984

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

  • Apple Computer Inc unveils the Macintosh personal computer.
  • Virus causing AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is identified as HTLV-III.
  • Operation Blue Star took place as Indira Gandhi issued command to attack the Golden Temple, holiest site of Sikh's.
  • Indira Gandhi orders an attack on the Golden temple, one of the holiest sites in Sikh tradition, in an operation now called Blue Star.
  • A toxic leak in the Union Carbide factory kills 2,259 people, a further 500,000 are injured.

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 1984 → 2019 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 12 Dec. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/1984-dollars-in-2019?amount=20.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

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


About the author

Ian Webster is an engineer and data expert based in San Mateo, California. He has worked for Google, NASA, and consulted for governments around the world on data pipelines and data analysis. Disappointed by the lack of clear resources on the impacts of inflation on economic indicators, Ian believes this website serves as a valuable public tool. Ian earned his degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.

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» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1984 to 2019
Cumulative price change 147.69%
Average inflation rate 2.63%
Converted amount ($20 base) $49.54
Price difference ($20 base) $29.54
CPI in 1984 103.900
CPI in 2019 257.346
Inflation in 1984 4.32%
Inflation in 2019 1.76%
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