$20 in 1982 → $52.23 in 2018

Inflation Calculator

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U.S. Inflation Rate, $20 in 1982 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.70% per year. Prices in 2018 are 161.15% higher than prices in 1982.

In other words, $20 in 1982 is equivalent in purchasing power to $52.23 in 2018, a difference of $32.23 over 36 years.

The current inflation rate is now 2.87%1. If this number holds, $20 today will be equivalent to $20.57 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.

Inflation from 1982 to 2018
Cumulative price change 161.15%
Average inflation rate 2.70%
Converted amount ($20 base) $52.23
Price difference ($20 base) $32.23
CPI in 1982 96.5
CPI in 2018 251.989


U.S. inflation from 1913 to 2018


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 2.77% per year between 1982 and 2018 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.70%).

When using the core inflation measurement, $20 in 1982 is equivalent in buying power to $267.41 in 2018, a difference of $167.41. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $52.23 with a difference of $32.23.

In 1982, core inflation was 7.39%.


CPI is the weighted combination of many categories. This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1982 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.70% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) $20 in 1982 → 2018
Food 2.69 51.93
Shelter 3.24 63.01
Energy 2.23 44.19
Apparel 0.72 25.93
New vehicles 1.05 29.17
Used cars and trucks 0.61 24.93
Transportation services 3.35 65.38
Medical care services 4.89 111.52
Medical care commodities 4.03 82.87

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1982. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.


Inflation rates for specific categories

Alcoholic beverages · Food · Indoor plants and flowers · More

Inflation-adjusted measures

S&P 500 price · S&P 500 earnings · Shiller P/E

How to calculate the inflation rate for $20 since 1982

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018 / CPI in 1982 * 1982 USD value = 2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 96.5 in the year 1982 and 251.989 in 2018:

251.989 / 96.5 * $20 = $52.23

$20 in 1982 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $52.23 in 2018.


Buying power of $20 since 1982

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $20 in 1982 (price index tracking began in 1913).

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 USD Value Inflation Rate
1982 $20.00 6.16%
1983 $20.64 3.21%
1984 $21.53 4.32%
1985 $22.30 3.56%
1986 $22.72 1.86%
1987 $23.54 3.65%
1988 $24.52 4.14%
1989 $25.70 4.82%
1990 $27.09 5.40%
1991 $28.23 4.21%
1992 $29.08 3.01%
1993 $29.95 2.99%
1994 $30.72 2.56%
1995 $31.59 2.83%
1996 $32.52 2.95%
1997 $33.26 2.29%
1998 $33.78 1.56%
1999 $34.53 2.21%
2000 $35.69 3.36%
2001 $36.70 2.85%
2002 $37.28 1.58%
2003 $38.13 2.28%
2004 $39.15 2.66%
2005 $40.48 3.39%
2006 $41.78 3.23%
2007 $42.97 2.85%
2008 $44.62 3.84%
2009 $44.46 -0.36%
2010 $45.19 1.64%
2011 $46.62 3.16%
2012 $47.58 2.07%
2013 $48.28 1.46%
2014 $49.06 1.62%
2015 $49.12 0.12%
2016 $49.74 1.26%
2017 $50.73 1.99%
2018 $52.23 2.94%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

News headlines from 1982

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

  • The Falkland Islands are seized from Great Britain by several thousand Argentine troops.
  • Canada's constitution is adopted.
  • The General Belgrano, an Argentine cruiser is sunk by Conqueror, a British Submarine; more than 350 men are killed
  • Argentina surrenders to Great Britain ending the Falklands conflict.

Inflation can vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £20.00 in 1982 would be equivalent to £68.56 in 2018, an absolute change of £48.56 and a cumulative change of 342.78%.

In Canada, CA$20.00 in 1982 would be equivalent to CA$47.10 in 2018, an absolute change of CA$27.10 and a cumulative change of 235.51%.

Compare these numbers to the US's absolute change of $32.23 and percent change of 161.15%.


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: “$20 in 1982 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 18 Jul. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1982-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.


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