CONSUMER EXPENDITURES--2015

For release: 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Tuesday, August 30, 2016 USDL-16-1768

Technical Information:	(202) 691-6900    CEXInfo@bls.gov    www.bls.gov/cex
Media Contact :	        (202) 691-5902    PressOffice@bls.gov

                    CONSUMER EXPENDITURES--2015

Average expenditures per consumer unit(1) for 2015 were $55,978, a 4.6 percent 
increase from 2014 levels, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 
During the same period, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) was virtually 
unchanged, rising 0.1 percent(2). 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.

All major components of household spending increased in 2015, as shown in 
table A. Of these, expenditures on personal insurance and pensions showed the 
greatest percentage increase, 10.9 percent. This was followed by education 
expenditures, rising 6.4 percent, transportation expenditures, rising 4.7 
percent, and entertainment expenditures, rising 4.2 percent.

Expenditures on food, housing, and apparel and services showed smaller, 
positive gains between 3.4 percent and 3.9 percent, while expenditures on cash 
contributions, increased 1.7 percent. Healthcare expenditures rose 1.2 percent 
in 2015. 


Spending patterns, 2014-15

Personal insurance and pensions expenditures rose 10.9 percent to $6,349. This 
was primarily driven by the 11.4 percent increase in pensions and Social 
Security expenditures. In particular, non-payroll deposits to retirement plans, 
such as IRAs and Keoghs, rose 45.2 percent to $795 and payroll deductions for 
private pensions increased 25.2 percent to $645.

Education expenditures increased 6.4 percent. This was largely driven by a 
63.7 percent increase in finance, late, and interest charges for student loans 
to $157.

Transportation expenditures increased 4.7 percent to $9,503. Within 
transportation, expenditures on vehicle purchases increased 21.1 percent, while 
spending on gasoline and motor oil declined 15.3 percent, continuing trends 
highlighted in the 2014-15 midyear report.  

Expenditures on cash contributions reversed their 2013 and 2014 declines, 
increasing by 1.7 percent. 

Expenditures on the discretionary categories of food away from home and 
entertainment continued increasing in 2015, up 7.9 percent and 4.2 percent 
respectively, after increasing 6.2 percent and 9.9 percent in 2014. 


Table A. Average expenditures and income of all consumer units and percent
changes, 2013-2015(1)	
________________________________________________________________________________
                                                               Percent change
          Item                     2013     2014     2015    2013-2014 2014-2015
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average income before taxes     $63,784  $66,877  $69,629          4.8       4.1
                                           
Average annual expenditures      51,100   53,495   55,978          4.7       4.6
  Food                            6,602    6,759    7,023          2.4       3.9
    Food at home                  3,977    3,971    4,015         -0.2       1.1
    Food away from home           2,625    2,787    3,008          6.2       7.9
  Housing                        17,148   17,798   18,409          3.8       3.4
    Shelter                      10,080   10,491   10,742          4.1       2.4
      Utilities                   3,737    3,921    3,885          4.9      -0.9
      Household furnishings
	and equipment             1,542    1,581    1,818          2.5      15.0
  Apparel and services            1,604    1,786    1,846         11.3       3.4
  Transportation                  9,004    9,073    9,503          0.8       4.7
    Vehicle purchases             3,271    3,301    3,997          0.9      21.1
    Gasoline and motor oil        2,611    2,468    2,090         -5.5     -15.3
  Healthcare                      3,631    4,290    4,342          n/a       1.2
    Health insurance              2,229    2,868    2,977          n/a       3.8
  Entertainment                   2,482    2,728    2,842          9.9       4.2
  Education                       1,138    1,236    1,315	   8.6       6.4
  Cash contributions              1,834    1,788    1,819         -2.5       1.7
  Personal insurance              5,528    5,726    6,349          3.6      10.9
   and pensions                                                           
    Life and personal              
	insurance                   319      327      333          2.5       1.8  
    Pensions and Social           
        Security                  5,209    5,399    6,016          3.6      11.4
  All other expenditures          2,129    2,311    2,530          8.5       9.5

(1)Subcategories do no sum to 100%.
n/a - Because of the questionnaire change for health insurance, the 2013-14 
percent change is not strictly comparable to prior years.                                                                          
________________________________________________________________________________

                         

Spending by composition of consumer unit

Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) data measure how consumers allocate their 
spending among the various components of average annual expenditures. Table B 
compares the shares allocated to selected major expenditure categories by 
composition of consumer unit in 2015. One parent households with at least one 
child under 18 allocated just over one-half of their total spending to food and 
housing; they reported the highest shares of spending on food and housing among 
the groups studied. 

Over 10 percent of total spending for married couple only households went to 
healthcare, almost twice as large a share as reported by one parent households 
(5.2 percent). Married couple with children households allocated the highest 
share of all groups to personal insurance and pensions (13.3 percent), while 
other married couple households (those with married couples and persons other 
than children living in the consumer unit) allocated the highest share to 
transportation (19.2 percent). 


Table B. Shares of average annual expenditures on selected major components 
by composition of consumer unit, 2015
_____________________________________________________________________________
             Item                  Married    Married     Other
				   couple     couple     married
				    only       with      couple
				             children   consumer
                                                          units 				             
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Food                                11.8      13.1       12.2
Housing                             31.3      31.2       30.8 
Transportation                      16.6      17.6       19.2
Healthcare                          10.2       6.8        7.9 
Personal insurance and pensions     11.6      13.3       12.8
           
_____________________________________________________________________________ 
Item                                 One       Single
				   parent,     person
				   at least,  and other
				   one child  consumer         
                                   under 18    units
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Food                                13.4      12.5 
Housing                             36.8      35.7
Transportation                      17.5      16.3
Healthcare                           5.2       7.1 
Personal insurance and pensions      8.9       9.3       
           
_____________________________________________________________________________ 



Spending by income quintile

Table C shows the percent change for expenditures by income quintile. 
Overall spending increased in all five quintiles, ranging from 1.1 percent in 
the third quintile to 5.9 percent in the highest quintile. Personal insurance 
and pensions showed the largest overall increases across income quintiles, 
9.0 percent to 18.2 percent. Food away from home expenditures also increased 
across all income quintiles, with increases ranging from 1.4 percent to 10.5 
percent. Spending on apparel and services was mixed across quintiles, with the 
highest two quintiles increasing by 11.0 percent and 6.8 percent respectively, 
the lowest two quintiles changing less than 2.0 percent, and the third quintile 
down 15.1 percent. Cash contributions were also mixed by quintile, with the 
middle three quintiles reporting lower contributions and the lowest and highest 
quintiles showing increases. Transportation expenditures rose for all income 
quintiles, with the magnitude of the rise increasing as the level of income 
increased.


Table C. Dollar change and percent change in average annual expenditures on 
major components by income quintile, 2014-15
______________________________________________________________________________ 
					Lowest		Second		Third	
	
Item					Dollar Percent	Dollar	Percent	Dollar	
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average annual expenditure change:										
Total				        $757	 3.2  $1,517	 4.5     $517	
 Food					 100	 2.7	 268	 5.6	 -193	
  At home				  -7	-0.3	 133	 4.3	 -225	
  Away from home			 106	 9.2	 135	 8.3	   32	
 Housing				 247	 2.6	 324	 2.6	  361	 
 Apparel and services			 -10	-1.2	  17	 1.5	 -231	
 Transportation				   4     0.1     227     4.0      345 	  
 Healthcare                               62     3.3     171     5.2      -61
 Entertainment				 162	14.7	 172    11.0	 -146
 Cash contributions			 206    40.6	 -80	-7.1	  -84
 Personal insurance and pensions	  91	18.2	 146	 9.1      427
 All other expenditures			-105    -5.0	 273    14.2	   99	

______________________________________________________________________________ 
					Third	Fourth		Highest	

Item					Percent	Dollar	Percent	Dollar	Percent	
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average annual expenditure change:										
Total					 1.1    $3,254	  5.4  $6,145	  5.9
 Food					-3.2	   386	  5.0     755	  6.5
  At home			        -6.1        44	  1.0	  271	  4.5 
  Away from home			 1.4	   343	 10.5	  485	  8.7
 Housing				 2.3	   840	  4.3   1,215	  3.8
 Apparel and services		       -15.1	   126	  6.8	  400	 11.0
 Transportation				 4.1	   486	  4.5	1,046	  6.2
 Healthcare                             -1.5       245    4.8    -171    -2.4 
 Entertainment				-6.2	    83	  2.8	  290	  5.1
 Cash contributions			-5.9	   -23	 -1.2     123	  3.1
 Personal insurance and pensions	12.0	   921	 13.7   1,467	  9.0
 All other expenditures			 3.8	   191	  5.2	1,019    13.6
______________________________________________________________________________ 


Other available data

CE data include the expenditures and income of consumers, as well as the 
demographic characteristics of those consumers. Tables with more expenditure 
detail are available at www.bls.gov/cex. Published tables provide 2015 CE data 
by standard classifications that include income quintile, income decile, income 
class, age of reference person, size of consumer unit, number of earners, 
composition of consumer unit, region of residence, housing tenure, type of area 
(urban-rural), race, Hispanic origin, occupation, and highest education level of 
any member. The classes in the income class table have been revamped to provide 
more detail at income levels above $70,000 and less detail at levels below 
$40,000.  These annual tables include means, shares, and standard errors. Other 
tables available on the website include expenditures by age, region, size, or 
gender cross-tabulated by income before taxes and other demographic variables. 
Historical tables back to 1984 and tabulations for selected metropolitan areas 
are also available.

Future articles in the BLS Beyond the Numbers web report series will highlight 
recent trends in prices and spending in the U.S. economy, and will feature 2015 
CE data. Recent CE-specific Beyond the Numbers articles provide analyses of 
topical economic issues and long term spending trends, as well as comparisons 
of CE data to other data series (see www.bls.gov/cex/csxwebarticles.htm). Other 
survey information available on the internet includes answers to frequently 
asked questions, a glossary, order forms for survey products, and analytical 
articles that use CE data. Also available are the Diary Survey questionnaire 
form and a modified version of the computer assisted personal interviewing 
(CAPI) instrument used to collect the Interview Survey data.

The 2015 CE public-use microdata, including Interview Survey data, Diary Survey 
data, and paradata (information about the survey process), are available on the 
CE website for free electronic download. The Interview files contain expenditure 
data in two different formats: MTBI files that present monthly values in an 
item-coding framework based on the CPI pricing scheme, and EXPN files that 
organize expenditures by the section of the Interview questionnaire in which 
they are collected. Expenditure values on EXPN files cover different time 
periods depending on the specific questions asked, and the files also contain 
relevant non-expenditure information not found on the MTBI files. The 
public-use microdata for 2015 also includes the new estimates of state and 
federal tax liabilities. The CE introduced these estimates in 2013 to improve 
the quality of the tax data. The tax data collected directly from consumer units 
during the Interview survey are no longer available. CE public-use microdata 
from 1996 to 2014 are also available on the CE website for free download. For 
releases prior to 1996, users can continue to purchase USB Flash Drives using 
the public-use microdata order form (see www.bls.gov/cex/pumd.htm). 
	
For further information, contact the Division of Consumer Expenditure Surveys, 
Office of Prices and Living Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics at 
cexinfo@bls.gov or (202) 691-6892. Information in this release is available to 
sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal 
Relay Service: 1 (800) 877-8339.


1 Consumer units include families, single persons living alone or sharing a 
  household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more 
  persons living together who share expenses.

2 This is calculated as the percentage change between the annual average CPI-U 
  for all items for 2015 (237.017) and the annual average CPI-U for all items 
  for 2014 (236.736). See CPI Detailed Report, Data for December 2015, Table 1A.



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Last Modified Date: August 30, 2016