U.S. inflation rate in 2018: 2.18%

Inflation Calculator


Inflation in 2018 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power decreased by 2.18% in 2018 compared to the previous year, 2017. On average, you would have to spend 2.18% more money in 2018 than in 2017 for the same item.

In other words, $1 in 2017 is equivalent in purchasing power to $1.03 in 2018.

The 2017 inflation rate was 2.13%. The current inflation rate (2017 to 2018) is now 2.18%1. If this number holds, $1 today will be equivalent to $1.02 next year. The current inflation rate page gives more detail on the latest official inflation rates.

Inflation rate is calculated by change in the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI in 2018 is 252.038. It was 245.12 in the previous year, 2017. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 2017 to 2018
Average inflation rate 2.18%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.03
Price difference ($1 base) $0.03
CPI in 2017 245.120
CPI in 2018 252.038
Inflation in 2017 2.13%
Inflation in 2018 2.18%

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

Inflation by City

Inflation can vary widely by city, even within the United States. Here's how some cities fared in 2017 to 2018 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2017 and 2018 (3.52%).

San Diego, California experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2017 and 2018 (0.00%).

Note that some locations showing 0% inflation may have not yet reported latest data.

Inflation by Country

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 2017 would be equivalent to £1.02 in 2018, an absolute change of £0.02 and a cumulative change of 2.20%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 2017 would be equivalent to CA$1.02 in 2018, an absolute change of CA$0.02 and a cumulative change of 2.22%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.03 and total percent change of 2.82%.

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 2017 and 2018.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.18% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 2017 → 2018
Food 1.34 1.34 1.01
Shelter 3.19 3.19 1.03
Energy 7.67 7.67 1.08
Apparel 0.40 0.40 1.00
New vehicles -0.28 -0.28 1.00
Used cars and trucks 0.20 0.20 1.00
Transportation services 3.51 3.51 1.04
Medical care services 2.09 2.09 1.02
Medical care commodities 1.19 1.19 1.01

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 2017. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1 since 2017

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018CPI in 2017
2017 USD value
2018 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 245.12 in the year 2017 and 252.038 in 2018:


$1 in 2017 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.03 in 2018.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 2017 and 2018, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2018 - CPI in 2017CPI in 2017
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

252.038 - 245.12245.12

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 2.05% per year between 2017 and 2018 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.18%), for an inflation total of 2.05%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 2017 is equivalent in buying power to $1.02 in 2018, a difference of $0.02. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $1.03 with a difference of $0.03.

In 2017, core inflation was 1.84%.

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged 2.14% per year between 2017 and 2018, a total inflation amount of 2.05%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, $1 in 2017 is equal in buying power to $1.02 in 2018, a difference of $0.02 (versus a converted amount of $1.03/change of $0.03 for All Items).

In 2017, chained inflation was 1.76%.

Comparison to S&P 500 Index

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $1 in the S&P 500 index in 2017, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.20 in 2018. This is a return on investment of 19.59%, with an absolute return of $0.20.

These numbers are not inflation adjusted, so they are considered nominal. In order to evaluate the real return on our investment, we must calculate the return with inflation taken into account.

The compounding effect of inflation would account for 2.74% of returns ($0.01) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.19.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2017-2018
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.20 19.59%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.19 19.06%

News headlines from 2017

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

  • Donald Trump sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
  • Hurricanes Harvey and Irma strike southeast Texas and Florida, causing extensive flooding and damage.
  • Gunman kills 58 people at a Las Vegas concert, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
  • North Korea tests a hydrogen bomb and over a dozen ballistic missiles amidst soaring tensions with the U.S.

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 Rate in 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 12 Dec. 2018, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-2018.

» Read more about inflation and investment.