$1 in 2018 → $0.49 in 1989

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$1 in 2018 → $0.49 in 1989

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $1 in 2018 to 1989

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 1989 are 50.62% lower than average prices throughout 2018. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.46% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $1 in 2018 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $0.49 in 1989, a difference of $-0.51 over 29 years.

The 1989 inflation rate was 4.82%. The inflation rate in 2018 was 2.44%. The 2018 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 2.48% per year between 2018 and 2019.


Inflation from 2018 to 1989
Cumulative price change -50.62%
Average inflation rate 2.46%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.49
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.51
CPI in 2018 251.107
CPI in 1989 124.000
Inflation in 1989 4.82%
Inflation in 2018 2.44%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
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Buying power of $1 in 1989

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $1 in 1989 (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
1989 $1.00 4.82%
1990 $1.05 5.40%
1991 $1.10 4.21%
1992 $1.13 3.01%
1993 $1.17 2.99%
1994 $1.20 2.56%
1995 $1.23 2.83%
1996 $1.27 2.95%
1997 $1.29 2.29%
1998 $1.31 1.56%
1999 $1.34 2.21%
2000 $1.39 3.36%
2001 $1.43 2.85%
2002 $1.45 1.58%
2003 $1.48 2.28%
2004 $1.52 2.66%
2005 $1.58 3.39%
2006 $1.63 3.23%
2007 $1.67 2.85%
2008 $1.74 3.84%
2009 $1.73 -0.36%
2010 $1.76 1.64%
2011 $1.81 3.16%
2012 $1.85 2.07%
2013 $1.88 1.46%
2014 $1.91 1.62%
2015 $1.91 0.12%
2016 $1.94 1.26%
2017 $1.98 2.13%
2018 $2.03 2.44%
2019 $2.08 2.48%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 23 more rows

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 2018 to 1989 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 29 years between 1989 and 2018 (3.44%).

St Louis, Missouri experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 29 years between 1989 and 2018 (2.20%).

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 £1.00 in 2018 would be equivalent to £0.41 in 1989, an absolute change of £-0.59 and a cumulative change of -58.74%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 2018 would be equivalent to CA$0.58 in 1989, an absolute change of CA$-0.42 and a cumulative change of -41.82%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $-0.51 and total percent change of -50.62%.


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 2018 and 1989.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.46% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 1989 → 2018
Food 2.47 102.72 2.03
Shelter 2.94 131.62 2.32
Energy 2.96 133.14 2.33
Apparel 0.20 5.96 1.06
New vehicles 0.71 22.72 1.23
Used cars and trucks 0.48 14.91 1.15
Transportation services 3.02 137.31 2.37
Medical care services 4.39 247.77 3.48
Medical care commodities 3.25 152.94 2.53

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 2018. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1, 1989 to 2018

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 1989CPI in 2018
×
2018 USD value
=
1989 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 251.10683333333 in the year 2018 and 124 in 1989:

124251.10683333333
×
$1
=
$0.49

$1 in 2018 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $0.49 in 1989.

To get the total inflation rate for the 29 years between 1989 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 1989 - CPI in 2018CPI in 2018
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (29 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

124 - 251.10683333333251.10683333333
×
100
=
-51%

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 2.41% per year between 2018 and 1989 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.46%), for an inflation total of 99.70%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 2018 is equivalent in buying power to $2.00 in 1989, a difference of $1.00. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $0.49 with a difference of $-0.51.

In 2018, core inflation was 4.51%.

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: “$1 in 2018 → 1989 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 27 Nov. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/2018-dollars-in-1989?amount=1.

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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Inflation from 2018 to 1989
Cumulative price change -50.62%
Average inflation rate 2.46%
Converted amount ($1 base) $0.49
Price difference ($1 base) $-0.51
CPI in 2018 251.107
CPI in 1989 124.000
Inflation in 1989 4.82%
Inflation in 2018 2.44%
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