$20 in 2017 is worth $21.12 in 2020

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Value of $20 from 2017 to 2020

$20 in 2017 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $21.12 in 2020, an increase of $1.12 over 3 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.83% per year between 2017 and 2020, producing a cumulative price increase of 5.59%.

This means that prices in 2020 are 1.06 times as high as average prices since 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The inflation rate in 2017 was 2.13%. The inflation rate in 2020 was 1.23%. The 2020 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 5.86% per year between 2020 and 2023.

Inflation from 2017 to 2020
Cumulative price change5.59%
Average inflation rate1.83%
Converted amount
$20 base
Price difference
$20 base
CPI in 2017245.120
CPI in 2020258.812
Inflation in 20172.13%
Inflation in 20201.23%
$20 in 2017$21.12 in 2020

Recent USD inflation
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

Buying power of $20 in 2017

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $20 in 2017 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $20, you would need to end with $21.12 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $20 is equivalent to $21.12 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 2017 dollars, the chart below shows how $20 is worth less over 3 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: 2017-2020
YearDollar ValueInflation Rate
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

This conversion table shows various other 2017 amounts in 2020 dollars, based on the 5.59% change in prices:

Conversion: 2017 dollars in 2020
Initial valueEquivalent value
$1 dollar in 2017$1.06 dollars in 2020
$5 dollars in 2017$5.28 dollars in 2020
$10 dollars in 2017$10.56 dollars in 2020
$50 dollars in 2017$52.79 dollars in 2020
$100 dollars in 2017$105.59 dollars in 2020
$500 dollars in 2017$527.93 dollars in 2020
$1,000 dollars in 2017$1,055.86 dollars in 2020
$5,000 dollars in 2017$5,279.28 dollars in 2020
$10,000 dollars in 2017$10,558.57 dollars in 2020
$50,000 dollars in 2017$52,792.85 dollars in 2020
$100,000 dollars in 2017$105,585.70 dollars in 2020
$500,000 dollars in 2017$527,928.50 dollars in 2020
$1,000,000 dollars in 2017$1,055,857.00 dollars in 2020

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 2017 to 2020 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $20):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 3 years between 2017 and 2020 (3.95%).

St Louis, Missouri experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 3 years between 2017 and 2020 (1.20%).

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 2017 would be equivalent to £21.43 in 2020, an absolute change of £1.43 and a cumulative change of 7.16%.

In Canada, CA$20.00 in 2017 would be equivalent to CA$21.00 in 2020, an absolute change of CA$1.00 and a cumulative change of 5.01%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $1.12 and total percent change of 5.59%.

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.

Between 2017 and 2020:

This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 2017 and 2020.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.83% per year:

CategoryAvg Inflation (%)Total Inflation (%)$20 in 2017 → 2020
Food and beverages2.196.7221.34
Medical care2.979.1621.83
Education and communication0.922.7820.56
Other goods and services2.256.8921.38

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 2017. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

How to calculate inflation rate for $20, 2017 to 2020

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 2017 and 2020:

CPI in 2020 CPI in 2017
2017 USD value
2020 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 245.12 in the year 2017 and 258.81166666667 in 2020:


$20 in 2017 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $21.12 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 3 years between 2017 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 2017CPI in 2017
Cumulative inflation rate (3 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

258.81166666667 - 245.12245.12

Alternate Measurements of Inflation

There are multiple ways to measure inflation. Published rates of inflation will vary depending on methodology. The Consumer Price Index, used above, is the most common standard used globally.

Alternative measurements are sometimes used based on context and economic/political circumstances. Below are a few examples of alternative measurements.

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Inflation

The PCE Price Index is the U.S. Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation, compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It measures the change in prices of goods and services purchased by consumers.

The PCE Price Index changed by 1.58% per year on average between 2017 and 2020. The total PCE inflation between these dates was 4.80%. In 2017, PCE inflation was 1.83%.

This means that the PCE Index equates $20 in 2017 with $20.96 in 2020, a difference of $0.96. Compare this to the standard CPI measurement, which equates $20 with $21.12. The PCE measured -0.79% inflation compared to standard CPI.

For more information on the difference between PCE and CPI, see this analysis provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Core Inflation

Also of note is the Core CPI, which uses the standard CPI but omits the more volatile categories of food and energy.

Core inflation averaged 2.01% per year between 2017 and 2020 (vs all-CPI inflation of 1.83%), for an inflation total of 6.16%. In 2017, core inflation was 1.84%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $20 in 2017 is equivalent in buying power to $21.23 in 2020, a difference of $1.23. Recall that the converted amount is $21.12 when all items including food and energy are measured.

Chained Inflation

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged 1.51% per year between 2017 and 2020, a total inflation amount of 4.61%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, $20 in 2017 is equal in buying power to $20.92 in 2020, a difference of $0.92 (versus a converted amount of $21.12/change of $1.12 for All Items).

In 2017, chained inflation was 1.76%.

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 1.83% has a compounding effect between 2017 and 2020. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 5.59% over 3 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $20 in the S&P 500 index in 2017, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $35.95 in 2020. This is a return on investment of 79.76%, with an absolute return of $15.95 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 5.29% of returns ($1.90) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $20 investment is $14.05. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $12 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2017-2020
Original AmountFinal AmountChange
Inflation Adjusted

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 2017 to latest available data for 2020 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 2017 and 2020, 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 2017 → 2020 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 Sep. 2023, https://www.officialdata.org/2017-dollars-in-2020?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.

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.

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Inflation from 2017 to 2020
Cumulative price change5.59%
Average inflation rate1.83%
Converted amount
$20 base
Price difference
$20 base
CPI in 2017245.120
CPI in 2020258.812
Inflation in 20172.13%
Inflation in 20201.23%
$20 in 2017$21.12 in 2020