Value of 1981 US Dollars today

$18,300 in 1981

$55,288.12 in 2021

The inflation rate in the United States between 1981 and today has been 202.12%, which translates into a total increase of $36,988.12. This means that 18,300 dollars in 1981 are equivalent to 55,288.12 dollars in 2021. In other words, the purchasing power of $18,300 in 1981 equals $55,288.12 today. The average annual inflation rate has been 2.73%.

Inflation timeline in the United States (1981-2021)

The following chart depicts the equivalence of $18,300 throughout the years due to inflation and CPI changes. All values are equivalent in terms of purchasing power, which means that for each year the same goods or services could be bought with the indicated amount of money.

All calculations are performed in the local currency (USD) and using 6 decimal digits. Results show only up to 2 decimal digits to favour readability. Inflation data is provided by governments and international institutions on a monthly basis. Today's values were obtained by estimating figures from recent trends.

The following table contains relevant indicators:

Indicator Value
Total Inflation (1981-2021) 201.82%
Total Inflation* 202.12%
Annual inflation avg. (1981-2021) 2.8%
Annual inflation avg.* 2.73%
CPI 1981 36.41
CPI 2021 109.9
CPI today* 110
$1 in 1981 $3.02 in 2021

* Values extrapolated from the last official data to obtain today's values.

How to calculate today's value of money after inflation?

There are several ways to calculate the time value of money. Depending on the data available, results can be obtained by using the compound interest formula or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) formula.

Using the compound interest formula

Given that money changes with time as a result of an inflation rate that acts as a compound interest, the following formula can be used: FV = PV (1 + i)n, where:

  • FV: Future Value
  • PV: Present Value
  • i: Interest rate (inflation)
  • n: Number of times the interest is compounded (i.e. # of years)

In this case, the future value represents the final amount obtained after applying the inflation rate to our initial value. In other words, it indicates how much are $18,300 worth today. There are 40 years between 1981 and 2021 and the average inflation rate has been 2.7334%. Therefore, we can resolve the formula like this:

FV = PV (1 + i)n = $18300 * (1 + 0.03)40 = $55,233.79

Using the CPI formula

When the CPI for both start and end years is known, the following formula can be used:

Final value = Initial value *
CPI final/CPI initial

In this case, the CPI in 1981 was 36.41 and the CPI today is 110. Therefore,

Final value = Initial value *
CPI final/CPI initial
= $18,300 *
109.9/36.41
= $55,233.79

USA inflation - Conversion table

Initial Value Equivalent value
$1 dollar in 1981 $3.02 dollars today
$5 dollars in 1981 $15.11 dollars today
$10 dollars in 1981 $30.21 dollars today
$50 dollars in 1981 $151.06 dollars today
$100 dollars in 1981 $302.12 dollars today
$500 dollars in 1981 $1,510.6 dollars today
$1,000 dollars in 1981 $3,021.21 dollars today
$5,000 dollars in 1981 $15,106.04 dollars today
$10,000 dollars in 1981 $30,212.09 dollars today
$50,000 dollars in 1981 $151,060.44 dollars today
$100,000 dollars in 1981 $302,120.89 dollars today
$500,000 dollars in 1981 $1,510,604.43 dollars today
$1,000,000 dollars in 1981 $3,021,208.85 dollars today

Value of Dollar over time (by year)

Period Value
1981 18,300
1982 19,932.79
1983 20,696.18
1984 21,480.76
1985 22,328.97
1986 23,177.17
1987 23,431.63
1988 24,470.68
1989 25,552.15
1990 26,739.63
1991 28,372.42
1992 29,241.83
1993 30,090.03
1994 30,917.04
1995 31,744.03
1996 32,549.83
1997 33,631.29
1998 34,203.82
1999 34,755.16
2000 35,688.18
2001 36,896.87
2002 37,469.41
2003 38,360.02
2004 39,080.99
2005 40,353.3
2006 41,731.63
2007 42,791.89
2008 44,538.34
2009 44,579.05
2010 45,792.2
2011 46,477.12
2012 47,853.97
2013 48,687.12
2014 49,418.27
2015 49,792.12
2016 50,155.36
2017 51,195.88
2018 52,275.66
2019 53,274.21
2020 54,491.6
2021 55,233.79
Today 55,288.12