$20 in 1791 is worth $534.53 in 2018

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Value of $20 from 1791 to 2018

$20 in 1791 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $534.53 in 2018, an increase of $514.53 over 227 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.46% per year between 1791 and 2018, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,572.66%.

This means that prices in 2018 are 26.73 times higher than average prices since 1791, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The inflation rate in 1791 was 2.17%. The inflation rate in 2018 was 2.49%. The 2018 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 4.36% per year between 2018 and 2022.


Inflation from 1791 to 2018
Cumulative price change2,572.66%
Average inflation rate1.46%
Converted amount ($20 base)$534.53
Price difference ($20 base)$514.53
CPI in 17919.400
CPI in 2018251.230
Inflation in 17912.17%
Inflation in 20182.49%
$20 in 1791$534.53 in 2018

USD inflation since 1791
Annual Rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI
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Buying power of $20 in 1791

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $20 in 1791 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $20, you would need to end with $534.53 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $20 is equivalent to $534.53 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 1791 dollars, the chart below shows how $20 is worth less over 227 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: 1791-2018
YearDollar ValueInflation Rate
1791$20.002.17%
1792$20.432.13%
1793$21.063.13%
1794$23.4011.11%
1795$26.8114.55%
1796$28.094.76%
1797$27.02-3.79%
1798$26.17-3.15%
1799$26.170.00%
1800$26.812.44%
1801$27.020.79%
1802$22.77-15.75%
1803$24.045.61%
1804$25.114.42%
1805$24.89-0.85%
1806$25.964.27%
1807$24.68-4.92%
1808$26.818.62%
1809$26.17-2.38%
1810$26.170.00%
1811$27.876.50%
1812$28.301.53%
1813$34.0420.30%
1814$37.4510.00%
1815$32.77-12.50%
1816$30.00-8.44%
1817$28.30-5.67%
1818$27.02-4.51%
1819$27.020.00%
1820$24.89-7.87%
1821$24.04-3.42%
1822$24.893.54%
1823$22.34-10.26%
1824$20.64-7.62%
1825$21.062.06%
1826$21.060.00%
1827$21.281.01%
1828$20.21-5.00%
1829$19.79-2.11%
1830$19.57-1.08%
1831$18.51-5.43%
1832$18.30-1.15%
1833$17.87-2.33%
1834$18.302.38%
1835$18.722.33%
1836$19.795.68%
1837$20.433.23%
1838$19.79-3.12%
1839$19.790.00%
1840$18.51-6.45%
1841$18.510.00%
1842$17.45-5.75%
1843$15.74-9.76%
1844$15.961.35%
1845$16.171.33%
1846$16.381.32%
1847$17.456.49%
1848$16.81-3.66%
1849$16.38-2.53%
1850$16.601.30%
1851$16.38-1.28%
1852$16.380.00%
1853$16.380.00%
1854$17.879.09%
1855$18.513.57%
1856$18.09-2.30%
1857$18.512.35%
1858$17.45-5.75%
1859$17.661.22%
1860$17.660.00%
1861$18.726.02%
1862$21.4914.77%
1863$26.8124.75%
1864$33.4024.60%
1865$34.683.82%
1866$33.83-2.45%
1867$31.49-6.92%
1868$30.21-4.05%
1869$28.94-4.23%
1870$27.87-3.68%
1871$25.96-6.87%
1872$25.960.00%
1873$25.53-1.64%
1874$24.26-5.00%
1875$23.40-3.51%
1876$22.77-2.73%
1877$22.34-1.87%
1878$21.28-4.76%
1879$21.280.00%
1880$21.702.00%
1881$21.700.00%
1882$21.700.00%
1883$21.49-0.98%
1884$20.85-2.97%
1885$20.64-1.02%
1886$20.00-3.09%
1887$20.211.06%
1888$20.210.00%
1889$19.57-3.16%
1890$19.36-1.09%
1891$19.360.00%
1892$19.360.00%
1893$19.15-1.10%
1894$18.30-4.44%
1895$17.87-2.33%
1896$17.870.00%
1897$17.66-1.19%
1898$17.660.00%
1899$17.660.00%
1900$17.871.20%
1901$18.091.19%
1902$18.301.18%
1903$18.722.33%
1904$18.941.14%
1905$18.72-1.12%
1906$19.152.27%
1907$20.004.44%
1908$19.57-2.13%
1909$19.36-1.09%
1910$20.214.40%
1911$20.210.00%
1912$20.642.11%
1913$21.062.06%
1914$21.281.01%
1915$21.491.00%
1916$23.197.92%
1917$27.2317.43%
1918$32.1317.97%
1919$36.8114.57%
1920$42.5515.61%
1921$38.09-10.50%
1922$35.74-6.15%
1923$36.381.79%
1924$36.380.00%
1925$37.232.34%
1926$37.661.14%
1927$37.02-1.69%
1928$36.38-1.72%
1929$36.380.00%
1930$35.53-2.34%
1931$32.34-8.98%
1932$29.15-9.87%
1933$27.66-5.11%
1934$28.513.08%
1935$29.152.24%
1936$29.571.46%
1937$30.643.60%
1938$30.00-2.08%
1939$29.57-1.42%
1940$29.790.72%
1941$31.285.00%
1942$34.6810.88%
1943$36.816.13%
1944$37.451.73%
1945$38.302.27%
1946$41.498.33%
1947$47.4514.36%
1948$51.288.07%
1949$50.64-1.24%
1950$51.281.26%
1951$55.327.88%
1952$56.381.92%
1953$56.810.75%
1954$57.230.75%
1955$57.02-0.37%
1956$57.871.49%
1957$59.793.31%
1958$61.492.85%
1959$61.910.69%
1960$62.981.72%
1961$63.621.01%
1962$64.261.00%
1963$65.111.32%
1964$65.961.31%
1965$67.021.61%
1966$68.942.86%
1967$71.063.09%
1968$74.044.19%
1969$78.095.46%
1970$82.555.72%
1971$86.174.38%
1972$88.943.21%
1973$94.476.22%
1974$104.8911.04%
1975$114.479.13%
1976$121.065.76%
1977$128.946.50%
1978$138.727.59%
1979$154.4711.35%
1980$175.3213.50%
1981$193.4010.32%
1982$205.326.16%
1983$211.913.21%
1984$221.064.32%
1985$228.943.56%
1986$233.191.86%
1987$241.703.65%
1988$251.704.14%
1989$263.834.82%
1990$278.095.40%
1991$289.794.21%
1992$298.513.01%
1993$307.452.99%
1994$315.322.56%
1995$324.262.83%
1996$333.832.95%
1997$341.492.29%
1998$346.811.56%
1999$354.472.21%
2000$366.383.36%
2001$376.812.85%
2002$382.771.58%
2003$391.492.28%
2004$401.912.66%
2005$415.533.39%
2006$428.943.23%
2007$441.152.85%
2008$458.093.84%
2009$456.46-0.36%
2010$463.951.64%
2011$478.593.16%
2012$488.502.07%
2013$495.651.46%
2014$503.691.62%
2015$504.290.12%
2016$510.651.26%
2017$521.532.13%
2018$534.532.49%
2019$543.951.76%
2020$550.661.23%
2021$576.534.70%
2022$634.079.98%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
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This conversion table shows various other 1791 amounts in 2018 dollars, based on the 2,572.66% change in prices:

Conversion: 1791 dollars in 2018
Initial valueEquivalent value
$1 dollar in 1791$26.73 dollars in 2018
$5 dollars in 1791$133.63 dollars in 2018
$10 dollars in 1791$267.27 dollars in 2018
$50 dollars in 1791$1,336.33 dollars in 2018
$100 dollars in 1791$2,672.66 dollars in 2018
$500 dollars in 1791$13,363.30 dollars in 2018
$1,000 dollars in 1791$26,726.60 dollars in 2018
$5,000 dollars in 1791$133,632.98 dollars in 2018
$10,000 dollars in 1791$267,265.96 dollars in 2018
$50,000 dollars in 1791$1,336,329.79 dollars in 2018
$100,000 dollars in 1791$2,672,659.57 dollars in 2018
$500,000 dollars in 1791$13,363,297.87 dollars in 2018
$1,000,000 dollars in 1791$26,726,595.74 dollars in 2018

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £20.00 in 1791 would be equivalent to £2,943.79 in 2018, an absolute change of £2,923.79 and a cumulative change of 14,618.96%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $514.53 and total percent change of 2,572.66%.


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.

This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1791 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 1.46% per year:

CategoryAvg Inflation (%)Total Inflation (%)$20 in 1791 → 2018
Food and beverages3.96670,930.79134,206.16
Housing4.261,296,064.08259,232.82
Apparel2.059,943.962,008.79
Transportation3.30159,648.8631,949.77
Medical care4.763,856,133.97771,246.79
Recreation1.091,068.09233.62
Education and communication1.896,978.551,415.71
Other goods and services5.107,939,491.521,587,918.30

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 1791. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.



How to calculate inflation rate for $20, 1791 to 2018

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1791 and 2018:

CPI in 2018 CPI in 1791
×
1791 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.4 in the year 1791 and 251.23 in 2018:

251.239.4
×
$20
=
$534.53

$20 in 1791 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $534.53 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 227 years between 1791 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1791CPI in 1791
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (227 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

251.23 - 9.49.4
×
100
=
2,573%

Data source & citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (CPI), established in 1913. Inflation data from 1634 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.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “$20 in 1791 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 5 Dec. 2022, https://www.officialdata.org/1791-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.

Special thanks to QuickChart for their chart image API, which is used for chart downloads.


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 1791 to 2018
Cumulative price change2,572.66%
Average inflation rate1.46%
Converted amount ($20 base)$534.53
Price difference ($20 base)$514.53
CPI in 17919.400
CPI in 2018251.230
Inflation in 17912.17%
Inflation in 20182.49%
$20 in 1791$534.53 in 2018