$5 in 1998 is worth $7.98 today

Value of $5 from 1998 to 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 59.68% higher than average prices since 1998. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.15% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, $5 in 1998 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $7.98 in 2020, a difference of $2.98 over 22 years.

The 1998 inflation rate was 1.56%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 1.37%1. If this number holds, $5 today will be equivalent in buying power to $5.07 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1998 to 2020
Cumulative price change 59.68%
Average inflation rate 2.15%
Converted amount ($5 base) $7.98
Price difference ($5 base) $2.98
CPI in 1998 163.000
CPI in 2020 260.280
Inflation in 1998 1.56%
Inflation in 2020 1.37%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
Download

Buying power of $5 in 1998

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $5 in 1998 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $5, you would need to end with $7.98 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $5 is equivalent to $7.98 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 1998 dollars, the chart below shows how $5 is worth less over 22 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: 1998-2020
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1998 $5.00 1.56%
1999 $5.11 2.21%
2000 $5.28 3.36%
2001 $5.43 2.85%
2002 $5.52 1.58%
2003 $5.64 2.28%
2004 $5.79 2.66%
2005 $5.99 3.39%
2006 $6.18 3.23%
2007 $6.36 2.85%
2008 $6.60 3.84%
2009 $6.58 -0.36%
2010 $6.69 1.64%
2011 $6.90 3.16%
2012 $7.04 2.07%
2013 $7.15 1.46%
2014 $7.26 1.62%
2015 $7.27 0.12%
2016 $7.36 1.26%
2017 $7.52 2.13%
2018 $7.71 2.49%
2019 $7.84 1.76%
2020 $7.98 1.81%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 16 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1998 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 59.68% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar today
Initial value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1998 $1.60 dollars today
$5 dollars in 1998 $7.98 dollars today
$10 dollars in 1998 $15.97 dollars today
$50 dollars in 1998 $79.84 dollars today
$100 dollars in 1998 $159.68 dollars today
$500 dollars in 1998 $798.40 dollars today
$1,000 dollars in 1998 $1,596.81 dollars today
$5,000 dollars in 1998 $7,984.05 dollars today
$10,000 dollars in 1998 $15,968.10 dollars today
$50,000 dollars in 1998 $79,840.49 dollars today
$100,000 dollars in 1998 $159,680.98 dollars today
$500,000 dollars in 1998 $798,404.91 dollars today
$1,000,000 dollars in 1998 $1,596,809.82 dollars today

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1998 to 2020 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $5):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 22 years between 1998 and 2020 (4.22%).

Chicago, Illinois experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 22 years between 1998 and 2020 (1.79%).

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 £5.00 in 1998 would be equivalent to £8.86 in 2020, an absolute change of £3.86 and a cumulative change of 77.13%.

In Canada, CA$5.00 in 1998 would be equivalent to CA$7.47 in 2020, an absolute change of CA$2.47 and a cumulative change of 49.40%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $2.98 and total percent change of 59.68%.


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 1998 and 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.15% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $5 in 1998 → 2020
Food and beverages 2.30 64.97 8.25
Housing 2.41 69.04 8.45
Apparel -0.52 -10.90 4.46
Transportation 1.60 41.80 7.09
Medical care 3.52 114.07 10.70
Recreation 0.86 20.70 6.04
Education and communication 1.53 39.60 6.98
Other goods and services 3.06 94.18 9.71

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 1998. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $5 since 1998

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1998 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1998
×
1998 USD value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 163 in the year 1998 and 260.28 in 2020:

260.28163
×
$5
=
$7.98

$5 in 1998 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $7.98 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 22 years between 1998 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1998CPI in 1998
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (22 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

260.28 - 163163
×
100
=
60%

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 1.98% per year between 1998 and 2020 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.15%), for an inflation total of 54.08%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $5 in 1998 is equivalent in buying power to $7.70 in 2020, a difference of $2.70. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $7.98 with a difference of $2.98.

In 1998, core inflation was 2.29%.


Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.15% has a compounding effect between 1998 and 2020. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 59.68% over 22 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $5 in the S&P 500 index in 1998, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $26.15 in 2020. This is a return on investment of 423.05%, with an absolute return of $21.15 on top of the original $5.

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 37.38% of returns ($9.77) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $5 investment is $11.38. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $10 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 1998-2020
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $5 $26.15 423.05%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$5 $16.38 227.56%

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 1998 to latest available data for 2020 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1998 and 2020, see the stock market returns calculator.


News headlines from 1998

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

  • Osama Bin Laden declares a Jihad against Jews and Crusaders.
  • The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland.
  • President of the US Bill Clinton admits that he had an "improper physical relationship" with an intern and then denied it in the same day. The event has come to be known as the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

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: “$5 in 1998 → 2020 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 27 Oct. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/1998-dollars-in-2020?amount=5.

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.


Ian Webster

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.

Email · LinkedIn · Twitter


» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1998 to 2020
Cumulative price change 59.68%
Average inflation rate 2.15%
Converted amount ($5 base) $7.98
Price difference ($5 base) $2.98
CPI in 1998 163.000
CPI in 2020 260.280
Inflation in 1998 1.56%
Inflation in 2020 1.37%