From Social Security to school lunches, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics produces information that affects you and your family every day.

The Value of Your Money

ConsumerThe Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures price changes for major groups of goods and services. The CPI report presents price changes for food, energy, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, and education. Average price data for the most popular items are available.

More than just a compilation of indexes, the CPI has many uses that affect American consumers. For example:

  • Over 80 million people are affected by cost-of-living adjustments determined by the CPI, including military and federal retirees and survivors, union workers, recipients of food stamps, and Social Security beneficiaries.
  • The costs of school lunches for millions of students are affected by changes in the CPI.
  • Firms track changes in the CPI to adjust rents, royalties, and insurance policies.
  • People can use the Consumer Price Index Escalation Guide to adjust payments, such as alimony and child-support, for changes in prices.
  • The CPI is used to adjust the federal income tax structure for inflation.

If you would like to see how inflation has affected your income over time, the CPI also provides an inflation calculator to illustrate buying power.

How You Spend Your Money

Consumer Expenditures show you how much Americans spend on things like gasoline and dining out.

You may be curious how people your age spend their money. In this table, you can compare your spending habits with the national averages for your age group. Check out these tables by income and higher levels of income.

You may be interested in how much households like yours spend on items like housing or entertainment. The tables on households with three people, four people, and five or more people will help you compare your family's spending to households with similar income.


Other Department of Labor links help you get the most out of your money: