$20 in 1987 → $44.37 in 2018

Inflation Calculator

$

U.S. Inflation Rate, $20 in 1987 to 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, prices in 2018 are 121.84% higher than prices in 1987. The dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.95% per year during this period.

In other words, $20 in 1987 is equivalent in purchasing power to $44.37 in 2018, a difference of $24.37 over 31 years.

The 1987 inflation rate was 3.65%. The current inflation rate (2017 to 2018) is now 2.95%1. If this number holds, $20 today will be equivalent to $20.59 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.


Inflation from 1987 to 2018
Cumulative price change 121.84%
Average inflation rate 2.95%
Converted amount ($20 base) $44.37
Price difference ($20 base) $24.37
CPI in 1987 113.6
CPI in 2018 252.006
Inflation in 1987 3.65%
Inflation in 2018 2.95%


U.S. Inflation since 1913
Annual Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

Buying power of $20 since 1987

This chart shows calculations of buying power equivalence over time for $20 in 1987 (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 USD Value Inflation Rate
1987 $20.00 3.65%
1988 $20.83 4.14%
1989 $21.83 4.82%
1990 $23.01 5.40%
1991 $23.98 4.21%
1992 $24.70 3.01%
1993 $25.44 2.99%
1994 $26.09 2.56%
1995 $26.83 2.83%
1996 $27.62 2.95%
1997 $28.26 2.29%
1998 $28.70 1.56%
1999 $29.33 2.21%
2000 $30.32 3.36%
2001 $31.18 2.85%
2002 $31.67 1.58%
2003 $32.39 2.28%
2004 $33.26 2.66%
2005 $34.38 3.39%
2006 $35.49 3.23%
2007 $36.50 2.85%
2008 $37.91 3.84%
2009 $37.77 -0.36%
2010 $38.39 1.64%
2011 $39.60 3.16%
2012 $40.42 2.07%
2013 $41.01 1.46%
2014 $41.68 1.62%
2015 $41.73 0.12%
2016 $42.25 1.26%
2017 $43.15 2.13%
2018 $44.37 2.81%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 1987 to 2018 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $20):

San Diego, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 31 years between 1987 and 2018 (3.38%).

St Louis, Missouri experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 31 years between 1987 and 2018 (2.32%).


Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £20.00 in 1987 would be equivalent to £54.64 in 2018, an absolute change of £34.64 and a cumulative change of 173.20%.

In Canada, CA$20.00 in 1987 would be equivalent to CA$38.30 in 2018, an absolute change of CA$18.30 and a cumulative change of 91.52%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $24.37 and total percent change of 121.84%.


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 1987 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.9495150866471143% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $20 in 1987 → 2018
Food 2.62 122.85 44.57
Shelter 3.03 152.14 50.43
Energy 2.96 147.25 49.45
Apparel 0.43 14.13 22.83
New vehicles 0.80 28.17 25.63
Used cars and trucks 0.66 22.48 24.50
Transportation services 3.17 163.15 52.63
Medical care services 4.55 297.51 79.50
Medical care commodities 3.52 191.91 58.38

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 1987. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.



How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $20 since 1987

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 1987
×
1987 USD value
=
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 113.6 in the year 1987 and 252.006 in 2018:

252.006113.6
×
$20
=
$44.37

$20 in 1987 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $44.37 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 31 years between 1987 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 1987CPI in 1987
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (31 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

252.006 - 113.6113.6
×
100
=
122%

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 2.53% per year between 1987 and 2018 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.9495150866471143%), for an inflation total of 117.09%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $20 in 1987 is equivalent in buying power to $43.42 in 2018, a difference of $23.42. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $44.37 with a difference of $24.37.

In 1987, core inflation was 3.93%.


News headlines from 1987

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

  • New Zealand becomes the only nation to legislate against nuclear power, when their Labour government legislates against nuclear weapons and nuclear powered vessels.
  • Margaret Thatcher becomes the first British PM in 160 years to win a third consecutive term in office.
  • The Dow Jones stock index falls by 508.32 points, the event is later known as Black Monday.

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 1987 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 13 Aug. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/1987-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.


© 2018 Official Data Foundation / Alioth LLC. Contact