The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program consists of two surveys, the Quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey, that provide information on the buying habits of America's consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. The survey data are collected for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The CE is important because it is the only Federal survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers. It is used by economic policymakers examining the impact of policy changes on economic groups, by the Census Bureau as the source of thresholds for the Supplemental Poverty Measure, by businesses and academic researchers studying consumers' spending habits and trends, by other Federal agencies, and, perhaps most importantly, to regularly revise the Consumer Price Index market basket of goods and services and their relative importance.

The most recent data tables are for 2015, and were made available on August 30, 2016. See Featured CE Tables and Economic News Releases sections on the CE home page for current data tables and news release.

The 2015 public-use microdata is the most recent and was released on August 30, 2016.

Special Announcement

  • On December 5, 2016, Geoffrey Paulin, a senior economist with the Consumer Expenditure Surveys program, will present results of his ongoing research into the relationship of student loan debt to income, expenditures, and accumulation of assets and other liabilities for young, single adults. The event is part of the Realtor University Speaker Series held in Washington, DC. For more information, see http://www.bls.gov/cex/ceconferences.htm ("Northeast").

Announcements

  • NEW Household Health Care Spending: Comparing the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the National Health Expenditure Accounts (PDF) (years compared: 2011-2014)
  • NEW Consumer Expenditures in 2014 is now available (HTML)
  • NEW What the Consumer Expenditure Survey tells us about mortgage instruments before and after the housing collapse (HTML) (PDF)
  • NEW CE-CPS Comparison Tables covering comparable income from 2002 through 2014 are now available. (HTML)
  • NEW CE-PCE Comparison Table covering comparable expenditures from 2008 through 2015 is now available. (XLSX)

Latest CE News Releases

Average expenditures in 2015 are $55,978, a 4.6% increase from 2014 levels

08/30/2016

Average expenditures in 2015 were $55,978, a 4.6 percent increase from 2014 levels. In 2014, spending increased 4.7 percent. Average pre-tax income per consumer unit increased at a slightly slower pace than expenditures, up 4.1 percent from 2014 to $69,629.
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Expenditures for July 2014-June 2015 are 5.9% higher than the July 2013-June 2014 average

04/15/2016

Average expenditures per consumer unit for July 2014 through June 2015 were up 5.9 percent compared with the July 2013 through June 2014 midyear average. Average incomes also increased, up 6.6 percent.
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CE is Coming to Your Town!

As part of ongoing outreach efforts, CE staff attend conferences outside the Washington, DC area when circumstances permit. You may be interested in attending their presentations, or in arranging for a CE staff member to visit your organization. To see a list of upcoming or past events, click on the links below.

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Other BLS Programs

  • Consumer Price Indexes --monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.
  • Price and Index Number Research experimental poverty measures -- CE data are used to estimate National Academy of Sciences (NAS) based poverty measures and a Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM)

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Contact Us

Methods of Contact

The economists and administrative personnel of the Consumer Expenditure Survey staff are available Monday through Friday to respond to inquiries. Please use any of the methods below to contact the CE National Office. Inquiries should include your name, and phone number, fax number, mailing address, or e-mail address, along with a brief message.

Telephone
    (202) 691-6900

Incoming calls are connected to the office's voice mail and answered promptly.  

FAX
    (202) 691-7006
 

Mail
    Bureau of Labor Statistics
   Consumer Expenditure Surveys — Branch of Information and Analysis
    Postal Square Building, Room 3985
    2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.
    Washington, DC 20212-0001
 

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