# \$20 in 2012 is worth \$23.67 today

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## Value of \$20 from 2012 to 2021

\$20 in 2012 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$23.67 today, an increase of \$3.67 over 9 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.89% per year between 2012 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 18.34%.

This means that today's prices are 1.18 times higher than average prices since 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index. A dollar today only buys 84.50% of what it could buy back then.

The 2012 inflation rate was 2.07%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2020 to 2021) is now 5.39%1. If this number holds, \$20 today will be equivalent in buying power to \$21.08 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest inflation rates.

 Cumulative price change 18.34% Average inflation rate 1.89% Converted amount (\$20 base) \$23.67 Price difference (\$20 base) \$3.67 CPI in 2012 229.594 CPI in 2021 271.696 Inflation in 2012 2.07% Inflation in 2021 5.39% \$20 in 2012 \$23.67 in 2021

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

## Buying power of \$20 in 2012

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$20 in 2012 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with \$20, you would need to end with \$23.67 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$20 is equivalent to \$23.67 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 2012 dollars, the chart below shows how \$20 is worth less over 9 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: 2012-2021
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
2012 \$20.00 2.07%
2013 \$20.29 1.46%
2014 \$20.62 1.62%
2015 \$20.65 0.12%
2016 \$20.91 1.26%
2017 \$21.35 2.13%
2018 \$21.88 2.49%
2019 \$22.27 1.76%
2020 \$22.55 1.23%
2021 \$23.67 4.98%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 3 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 2012 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 18.34% change in prices:

Conversion: 2012 dollars today
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 2012 \$1.18 dollars today
\$5 dollars in 2012 \$5.92 dollars today
\$10 dollars in 2012 \$11.83 dollars today
\$50 dollars in 2012 \$59.17 dollars today
\$100 dollars in 2012 \$118.34 dollars today
\$500 dollars in 2012 \$591.69 dollars today
\$1,000 dollars in 2012 \$1,183.38 dollars today
\$5,000 dollars in 2012 \$5,916.88 dollars today
\$10,000 dollars in 2012 \$11,833.76 dollars today
\$50,000 dollars in 2012 \$59,168.79 dollars today
\$100,000 dollars in 2012 \$118,337.59 dollars today
\$500,000 dollars in 2012 \$591,687.94 dollars today
\$1,000,000 dollars in 2012 \$1,183,375.87 dollars today

## Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 2012 to 2021 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of \$20):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 9 years between 2012 and 2021 (3.66%).

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 9 years between 2012 and 2021 (1.17%).

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 2012 would be equivalent to £24.23 in 2021, an absolute change of £4.23 and a cumulative change of 21.13%.

In Canada, CA\$20.00 in 2012 would be equivalent to CA\$22.67 in 2021, an absolute change of CA\$2.67 and a cumulative change of 13.37%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of \$3.67 and total percent change of 18.34%.

## 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 2012 and 2021.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.89% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) \$20 in 2012 → 2021
Food and beverages 1.70 16.41 23.28
Housing 2.45 24.33 24.87
Apparel -0.56 -4.90 19.02
Transportation 0.14 1.25 20.25
Medical care 2.62 26.23 25.25
Recreation 0.85 7.87 21.57
Education and communication 0.65 5.98 21.20
Other goods and services 2.01 19.63 23.93

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 2012. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

## How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$20 since 2012

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 2012 and today:

CPI today CPI in 2012
×
2012 USD value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 229.594 in the year 2012 and 271.696 in 2021:

271.696229.594
×
\$20
=
\$23.67

\$20 in 2012 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$23.67 in 2021.

To get the total inflation rate for the 9 years between 2012 and 2021, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2021 - CPI in 2012CPI in 2012
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (9 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

271.696 - 229.594229.594
×
100
=
18%

## 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 1.95% per year between 2012 and 2021 (vs all-CPI inflation of 1.89%), for an inflation total of 18.98%.

When using the core inflation measurement, \$20 in 2012 is equivalent in buying power to \$23.80 in 2021, a difference of \$3.80. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is \$23.67 with a difference of \$3.67.

In 2012, core inflation was 2.11%.

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged 1.40% per year between 2012 and 2021, a total inflation amount of 18.98%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, \$20 in 2012 is equal in buying power to \$22.67 in 2021, a difference of \$2.67 (versus a converted amount of \$23.67/change of \$3.67 for All Items).

In 2012, chained inflation was 1.95%.

## Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 1.89% has a compounding effect between 2012 and 2021. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 18.34% over 9 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested \$20 in the S&P 500 index in 2012, our investment would be nominally worth approximately \$69.59 in 2021. This is a return on investment of 247.96%, with an absolute return of \$49.59 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 15.50% of returns (\$10.78) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our \$20 investment is \$38.81. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around \$33 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2012-2021
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal \$20 \$69.59 247.96%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
\$20 \$58.81 194.04%

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 2012 to latest available data for 2021 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 2012 and 2021, see the stock market returns calculator.

## News headlines from 2012

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

• Wikileaks discloses 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private intelligence company.
• Kim Jong-un is officially appointed as Supreme Leader of North Korea.
• Ecuador guarantees political asylum to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.

## 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 2012 → 2021 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 4 Aug. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/2012-dollars-in-2021?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.

#### 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.

 Cumulative price change 18.34% Average inflation rate 1.89% Converted amount (\$20 base) \$23.67 Price difference (\$20 base) \$3.67 CPI in 2012 229.594 CPI in 2021 271.696 Inflation in 2012 2.07% Inflation in 2021 5.39% \$20 in 2012 \$23.67 in 2021