Inflation Calculator

Current Inflation Rate
Trailing 12-month CPI
Current CPI
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Annual Inflation (2020)
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Use our Inflation Calculator

Updated: April 13, 2021

This inflation calculator uses official records published by the U.S. Department of Labor. Inflation has averaged 0.90% per year since 1635, causing an overall price difference of 3,091.29%.

Use the form on this page to look up inflation for any year (2021 inflation is estimated based on latest monthly CPI data).

About Inflation

What is inflation? Inflation is a measure of how prices change over time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a part of the U.S. Department of Labor) selects a "basket of goods," which is a collection of many goods and services that are commonly used by consumers. Every month, the prices of these goods are measured and compared to previous prices.

Use the inflation calculator form as a starting point for answering questions that you have about the historical inflation rate in the U.S. This calculator allows you to "correct for inflation". You can also learn about inflation for the UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe.

Compared to last year's annual rate, the inflation rate in 2021 is now 2.62%1. If this number holds, $100 today would be equivalent to $102.62 next year.

Go to the current inflation page for a more detailed, month-to-month view of official inflation rates, or test assumptions to predict future inflation.

Inflation from 1635 to 2021
Cumulative price change 3,091.29%
Average inflation rate 0.90%
Price difference ($100 base) $3,091.29
CPI in 1635 8.3
CPI in 2021 264.877

Note that CPI data prior to 1913 is estimated by Dr. Robert Sahr of Oregon State University.

U.S. inflation chart since 1665

You may also be interested in inflation since 2000 or inflation since 1950.

Inflation by Spending Category

Every item in the Consumer Price Index "basket of goods" is categorized into spending categories. There are 8 major categories (food, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education, and other), and over 200 subcategories.

In the past year, the biggest mover is Transportation, which changed by 4.38%. This is followed by Other goods and services (1.68%), Food and beverages (1.49%), and finally Housing (1.25%).

Transportation has averaged 3.18% inflation since 1935. Other goods and services, Food and beverages, and Housing averaged 4.92%, 3.86%, and 4.14% respectively since they were first recorded.

In summary:

Note that category changes will appear as "-100%" if data for this year has not yet been released.

Inflation by City (1990-current)

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. For obvious reasons we do not have inflation data going all the way back to the 1600s for these cities, but this excerpt showing inflation from 1990 to present day will give you an idea of how inflation varies by location.

Click through to see more city details or run your own inflation calculation using the form at the top of the page.

Here's how purchasing power in some major cities changed between 1990 and 2020:

San Diego, California experienced the highest average inflation rate of all the cities, 3.41%, in the 29 years between 1990 and 2020.

In other words, $100 in 1990 is equivalent to $255.60 in 2020 in San Diego!

St. Louis, Missouri experienced the lowest inflation rate of 2.04% during the 29 years between 1990 and 2020. $100 in 1990 is equivalent to $179.57 in 2020 in St. Louis.

Inflation by Country (1990-current)

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £100.00 in 1990 would be equivalent to £225.41 in 2020, an absolute change of £125.41 and a cumulative change of 125.41%. For more, see the UK inflation calculator.

In Canada, CA$100.00 in 1990 would be equivalent to CA$166.96 in 2020, an absolute change of CA$66.96 and a cumulative change of 66.96%. This site also has a Canada inflation calculator.

Compare the rates above to the US's overall absolute change of $95.98 and total percent change of 95.98%.

We also track rates for other countries:

The Consumer Price Index

The result of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly "basket of goods" measurement is a single number known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This the weighted average of many changes in the price of goods and services.

Inflation is quantified as a rate because it is a measure of how the CPI changes over time. When you see an inflation rate, the number is based on change in CPI between two points in time.

It's important to know which dates are being compared in order to understand the inflation rate. In most cases, inflation rates are 12-month trailing. This means, for example, that the inflation rate released in March 2021 is based on a comparison to the CPI in March 2020. If the inflation rate is annual, then it's based on the year-over-year CPI.

Select one of the options below to explore the basket of goods, or view the U.S. CPI over time.

Purchasing Power

The concept of "purchasing power" is used to compare the value of a dollar between different years. The Consumer Price Index directly measures purchasing power by keeping track of how many dollars it takes to buy common goods and services.

For example, if an apple costs $0.50 last year and $1.00 today, we can say that "the purchasing power of a dollar has decreased," because a dollar now buys you 1 apple instead of 2 (you can view actual inflation rates for apples and many other items).

Inflation is linked to purchasing power. As inflation takes place, the purchasing power of the dollar decreases. If deflation takes place, the purchasing power of the dollar increases.

Example: Calculate the Inflation Rate for $100 since 2000

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2020CPI in 2000
2000 USD value
2020 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 172.2 in the year 2000 and 257.208 in 2020:


$100 in 2000 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $149.37 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 20 years between 2000 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 2000CPI in 2000
Cumulative inflation rate (20 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

257.208 - 172.2172.2

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: “Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 13 Apr. 2021,

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.

Email · LinkedIn · Twitter

» Read more about inflation and investment.

Inflation from 1635 to 2021
Cumulative price change 3,091.29%
Average inflation rate 0.90%
Converted amount ($100 base) $3,191.29
Price difference ($100 base) $3,091.29
CPI in 1635 8.300
CPI in 2021 264.877
Inflation in 1635 0.00%
Inflation in 2021 2.62%
$100 in 1635 $3,191.29 in 2021