$400 in 2003 → $559.45 in 2019

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$400 in 2003 → $559.45 in 2019

U.S. Inflation Rate, $400 in 2003 to 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2019 are 39.86% higher than average prices throughout 2003. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.12% per year during this period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased.

In other words, $400 in 2003 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $559.45 in 2019, a difference of $159.45 over 16 years.

The 2003 inflation rate was 2.28%. The current inflation rate (2018 to 2019) is now 1.76%1. If this number holds, $400 today will be equivalent in buying power to $407.06 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 2003 to 2019
Cumulative price change 39.86%
Average inflation rate 2.12%
Converted amount ($400 base) $559.45
Price difference ($400 base) $159.45
CPI in 2003 184.000
CPI in 2019 257.346
Inflation in 2003 2.28%
Inflation in 2019 1.76%

USD Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
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Buying power of $400 in 2003

This chart shows calculation of buying power equivalence, often referred to as "the value of a dollar" over time for $400 in 2003 (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
2003 $400.00 2.28%
2004 $410.65 2.66%
2005 $424.57 3.39%
2006 $438.26 3.23%
2007 $450.74 2.85%
2008 $468.05 3.84%
2009 $466.38 -0.36%
2010 $474.03 1.64%
2011 $489.00 3.16%
2012 $499.12 2.07%
2013 $506.43 1.46%
2014 $514.64 1.62%
2015 $515.25 0.12%
2016 $521.75 1.26%
2017 $532.87 2.13%
2018 $545.88 2.44%
2019 $559.45 2.48%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 10 more rows

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 2003 to 2019 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $400):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 16 years between 2003 and 2019 (3.28%).

Detroit, Michigan experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 16 years between 2003 and 2019 (1.58%).

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 £400.00 in 2003 would be equivalent to £627.19 in 2019, an absolute change of £227.19 and a cumulative change of 56.80%.

In Canada, CA$400.00 in 2003 would be equivalent to CA$517.05 in 2019, an absolute change of CA$117.05 and a cumulative change of 29.26%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $159.45 and total percent change of 39.86%.


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 2003 and 2019.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.12% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $400 in 2003 → 2019
Food 2.28 43.38 573.52
Shelter 2.52 48.92 595.66
Energy 2.85 56.83 627.31
Apparel 0.19 3.12 412.49
New vehicles 0.42 6.99 427.94
Used cars and trucks -0.14 -2.19 391.22
Transportation services 2.57 50.19 600.74
Medical care services 3.54 74.43 697.70
Medical care commodities 2.34 44.77 579.08

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 2003. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $400 since 2003

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2019CPI in 2003
×
2003 USD value
=
2019 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 184 in the year 2003 and 257.346 in 2019:

257.346184
×
$400
=
$559.45

$400 in 2003 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $559.45 in 2019.

To get the total inflation rate for the 16 years between 2003 and 2019, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2019 - CPI in 2003CPI in 2003
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (16 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

257.346 - 184184
×
100
=
40%

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 1.94% per year between 2003 and 2019 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.12%), for an inflation total of 36.03%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $400 in 2003 is equivalent in buying power to $544.14 in 2019, a difference of $144.14. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $559.45 with a difference of $159.45.

In 2003, core inflation was 1.45%.

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged 1.83% per year between 2003 and 2019, a total inflation amount of 36.03%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, $400 in 2003 is equal in buying power to $534.45 in 2019, a difference of $134.45 (versus a converted amount of $559.45/change of $159.45 for All Items).

In 2003, chained inflation was 2.04%.


Comparison to S&P 500 Index

The average inflation rate of 2.12% has a compounding effect between 2003 and 2019. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 39.86% over 16 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $400 in the S&P 500 index in 2003, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1,782.95 in 2019. This is a return on investment of 245.74%, with an absolute return of $1,382.95 on top of the original $400.

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 28.50% of returns ($394.15) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $400 investment is $988.80. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $840 for most people.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2003-2019
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $400 $1,782.95 245.74%
Real
Inflation Adjusted
$400 $988.80 175.70%


News headlines from 2003

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

  • Despite a lack of support from the United Nations, a coalition lead by America and Britain invades Iraq.
  • Baghdad falls, ending the invasion of Iraq.
  • 10 new members are admitted to the European Union after signing the Treaty of Accession in Athens.

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: “$400 in 2003 → 2019 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 21 Nov. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/2003?amount=400.

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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» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 2003 to 2019
Cumulative price change 39.86%
Average inflation rate 2.12%
Converted amount ($400 base) $559.45
Price difference ($400 base) $159.45
CPI in 2003 184.000
CPI in 2019 257.346
Inflation in 2003 2.28%
Inflation in 2019 1.76%
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