U.S. inflation rate in 1988: 4.14%

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Inflation since 1988 and its effect on dollar value

The consumer price index (CPI) in 1988 was 118.3. It was 113.6 in the previous year. This change in CPI is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate inflation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.55% per year. Prices in 2018 are 112.7% higher than prices in 1988.

In other words, $100 in 1988 is equivalent in purchasing power to $212.67 in 2018, a difference of $112.67 over 30 years.

The current inflation rate is now 2.80%1. If this number holds, $100 today will be equivalent to $102.80 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.

Inflation from 1988 to 2018
Cumulative price change 112.67%
Average inflation rate 2.55%
Converted amount ($100 base) $212.67
Price difference ($100 base) $112.67
CPI in 1988 118.3
CPI in 2018 251.59


U.S. inflation from 1913 to 2018


Inflation rates for specific categories

New trucks · Medical care · Juices and nonalcoholic drinks · More

Inflation-adjusted measures

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

How to calculate the inflation rate for $100 since 1988

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018 / CPI in 1988 * 1988 USD value = 2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 118.3 in the year 1988 and 251.59 in 2018:

251.59 / 118.3 * $100 = $212.67

$100 in 1988 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $212.67 in 2018.


Here are calculations of buying power over time for $100 in 1988 (price index tracking began in 1913). Each of these USD amounts below is equivalent in terms of what it could buy at the time:
Year USD Value Inflation Rate
1988 $100.00 4.14%
1989 $104.82 4.82%
1990 $110.48 5.40%
1991 $115.13 4.21%
1992 $118.60 3.01%
1993 $122.15 2.99%
1994 $125.27 2.56%
1995 $128.83 2.83%
1996 $132.63 2.95%
1997 $135.67 2.29%
1998 $137.79 1.56%
1999 $140.83 2.21%
2000 $145.56 3.36%
2001 $149.70 2.85%
2002 $152.07 1.58%
2003 $155.54 2.28%
2004 $159.68 2.66%
2005 $165.09 3.39%
2006 $170.41 3.23%
2007 $175.27 2.85%
2008 $182.00 3.84%
2009 $181.35 -0.36%
2010 $184.32 1.64%
2011 $190.14 3.16%
2012 $194.08 2.07%
2013 $196.92 1.46%
2014 $200.11 1.62%
2015 $200.35 0.12%
2016 $202.88 1.26%
2017 $206.92 1.99%
2018 $212.67 2.78%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

News headlines from 1988

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

  • The USSR withdraws its troops from Afghanistan.
  • Iran and Iraq, announce a ceasefire after 8 years of war.
  • Approximately 50,000 Kurdish civilians and soldiers are killed by Iraq.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev Chairman becomes president of the USSR.
  • Benazir Bhutto becomes the first female leader of a Muslim country in Pakistan

Inflation Data Source

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 Rate in 1988 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 15 Jun. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-1988.


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