U.S. inflation rate in 2019: 2.00%

Inflation Calculator


Inflation in 2019 and Its Effect on Dollar Value

Purchasing power decreased by 2.00% in 2019 compared to 2018. On average, you would have to spend 2.00% more money in 2019 than in 2018 for the same item.

In other words, $1 in 2018 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.02 in 2019.

The 2018 inflation rate was 2.44%. The current inflation rate (2018 to 2019) is now 2.00%1. If this number holds, $1 today will be equivalent in buying power 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 2019 is 255.55. It was 251.11 in the previous year, 2018. The difference in CPI between the years is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially determine inflation.

Inflation from 2018 to 2019
Average inflation rate 2.00%
Converted amount ($1 base) $1.02
Price difference ($1 base) $0.02
CPI in 2018 251.107
CPI in 2019 255.548
Inflation in 2018 2.44%
Inflation in 2019 2.00%

USD 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 2018 to 2019 (figures shown are purchasing power equivalents of $1):

San Francisco, California experienced the highest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2018 and 2019 (2.27%).

San Diego, California experienced the lowest rate of inflation during the 1 years between 2018 and 2019 (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 2018 would be equivalent to £1.02 in 2019, an absolute change of £0.02 and a cumulative change of 1.80%.

In Canada, CA$1.00 in 2018 would be equivalent to CA$1.02 in 2019, an absolute change of CA$0.02 and a cumulative change of 1.99%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $0.02 and total percent change of 1.77%.

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 2018 and 2019.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.00% per year:

Category Avg Inflation (%) Total Inflation (%) $1 in 2018 → 2019
Food 1.46 1.46 1.01
Shelter 2.22 2.22 1.02
Energy -3.26 -3.26 0.97
Apparel -0.64 -0.64 0.99
New vehicles 0.00 0.00 0.00
Used cars and trucks 0.00 0.00 0.00
Transportation services 0.59 0.59 1.01
Medical care services 1.94 1.94 1.02
Medical care commodities -0.47 -0.47 1.00

It's important to note that not all categories may be tracked since 2018. This table and visualization use the earliest available data for each category.

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for $1 since 2018

This inflation calculator uses the following inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2019CPI in 2018
2018 USD value
2019 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 251.10683333333 in the year 2018 and 255.548 in 2019:


$1 in 2018 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $1.02 in 2019.

To get the total inflation rate for the 1 years between 2018 and 2019, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2019 - CPI in 2018CPI in 2018
Cumulative inflation rate (1 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

255.548 - 251.10683333333251.10683333333

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 1.47% per year between 2018 and 2019 (vs all-CPI inflation of 2.00%), for an inflation total of 1.47%.

When using the core inflation measurement, $1 in 2018 is equivalent in buying power to $1.01 in 2019, a difference of $0.01. Recall that for All Items, the converted amount is $1.02 with a difference of $0.02.

In 2018, core inflation was 2.14%.

Chained CPI is an alternative measurement that takes into account how consumers adjust spending for similar items. Chained inflation averaged 0.90% per year between 2018 and 2019, a total inflation amount of 1.47%.

According to the Chained CPI measurement, $1 in 2018 is equal in buying power to $1.01 in 2019, a difference of $0.01 (versus a converted amount of $1.02/change of $0.02 for All Items).

In 2018, chained inflation was 2.05%.

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 2018, our investment would be nominally worth approximately $1.08 in 2019. This is a return on investment of 7.63%, with an absolute return of $0.08.

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 1.74% of returns ($0.00) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted real return of our $1 investment is $0.07.

Investment in S&P 500 Index, 2018-2019
Original Amount Final Amount Change
Nominal $1 $1.08 7.63%
Inflation Adjusted
$1 $0.07 7.50%

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 2019 | Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 19 May. 2019, https://www.officialdata.org/inflation-rate-in-2019.

Special thanks to QuickChart for providing downloadable chart images.

» Read more about inflation and investment.