# \$100 in 1981 is worth \$263.32 today

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## Why a dollar today is worth only 38% of a dollar in 1981

Updated: September 11, 2020

According to Statistics Canada consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 163.32% higher than average prices since 1981. This means that a dollar today only buys 37.98% of what it could buy in 1981. The Canadian dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.51% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, \$100 in 1981 is equivalent in purchasing power to about \$263.32 in 2020, a difference of \$163.32 over 39 years.

The 1981 inflation rate was 12.12%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 2.25%1. If this number holds, \$100 today will be equivalent in buying power to \$102.25 next year.

 Cumulative price change 163.32% Average inflation rate 2.51% Converted amount (\$100 base) \$263.32 Price difference (\$100 base) \$163.32 CPI in 1981 51.800 CPI in 2020 136.400 Inflation in 1981 12.12% Inflation in 2020 2.25%

## Buying power of \$100 in 1981

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for \$100 in 1981 (price index tracking began in 1914).

For example, if you started with \$100, you would need to end with \$263.32 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When \$100 is equivalent to \$263.32 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single Canadian 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 1981 dollars, the chart below shows how \$100 is worth less over 39 years.

According to Statistics Canada, each of these CAD amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Dollar inflation: 1981-2020
Year Dollar Value Inflation Rate
1981 \$100.00 12.12%
1982 \$109.27 9.27%
1983 \$114.29 4.59%
1984 \$118.53 3.72%
1985 \$123.75 4.40%
1986 \$128.96 4.21%
1987 \$134.36 4.19%
1988 \$139.58 3.88%
1989 \$146.91 5.26%
1990 \$154.25 4.99%
1991 \$160.04 3.75%
1992 \$163.51 2.17%
1993 \$166.22 1.65%
1994 \$166.60 0.23%
1995 \$169.50 1.74%
1996 \$173.17 2.16%
1997 \$174.52 0.78%
1998 \$176.25 1.00%
1999 \$180.89 2.63%
2000 \$186.68 3.20%
2001 \$188.03 0.72%
2002 \$195.17 3.80%
2003 \$199.23 2.08%
2004 \$203.47 2.13%
2005 \$207.72 2.09%
2006 \$211.20 1.67%
2007 \$216.22 2.38%
2008 \$218.73 1.16%
2009 \$221.62 1.32%
2010 \$226.83 2.35%
2011 \$232.05 2.30%
2012 \$233.98 0.83%
2013 \$236.87 1.24%
2014 \$240.35 1.47%
2015 \$244.21 1.61%
2016 \$247.88 1.50%
2017 \$251.74 1.56%
2018 \$252.51 0.31%
2019 \$257.53 1.99%
2020 \$263.32 2.25%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 33 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1981 amounts in today's dollars, based on the 163.32% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a dollar today
Initial value Equivalent value
\$1 dollar in 1981 \$2.63 dollars today
\$5 dollars in 1981 \$13.17 dollars today
\$10 dollars in 1981 \$26.33 dollars today
\$50 dollars in 1981 \$131.66 dollars today
\$100 dollars in 1981 \$263.32 dollars today
\$500 dollars in 1981 \$1,316.60 dollars today
\$1,000 dollars in 1981 \$2,633.20 dollars today
\$5,000 dollars in 1981 \$13,166.02 dollars today
\$10,000 dollars in 1981 \$26,332.05 dollars today
\$50,000 dollars in 1981 \$131,660.23 dollars today
\$100,000 dollars in 1981 \$263,320.46 dollars today
\$500,000 dollars in 1981 \$1,316,602.32 dollars today
\$1,000,000 dollars in 1981 \$2,633,204.63 dollars today

## How to Calculate Inflation Rate for \$100 since 1981

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1981 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1981
×
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The Canadian CPI was 51.8 in the year 1981 and 136.4 in 2020:

136.451.8
×
\$100
=
\$263.32

\$100 in 1981 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as \$263.32 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 39 years between 1981 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1981CPI in 1981
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (39 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

136.4 - 51.851.8
×
100
=
163%

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

• Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the President of the United States.
• IBM introduces its first PC - Personal Computer.
• United States Center for Disease Control reports that pneumonia is affecting five homosexual men in Los Angeles, which marks the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

## Data Source & Citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the government of Canada's annual Consumer Price Index (CPI), established in 1914 and computed by Statistics Canada (StatCan).

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “Value of 1981 dollars today | Canada Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 26 Sep. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/canada/inflation/1981?amount=&startYear=&future_pct=.

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.