Related BLS programs | Related articles
March 1990, Vol. 113, No. 3
How family spending has changed in the U.S.
Eva Jacobs and Stephanie Shipp
Over the decades since the Monthly Labor Review was first published in 1915, significant changes have taken place in the economy and in the demography composition of the U.S. population. Wars, the Great Depression, recessions, booms, and energy crises have in turn affected the economic status of the American family. Over the same period, the population shifted both by age composition and geographically. By the 1980's, the babyboomers of the post-World War II period were themselves entering the family formation years at the same time that a larger proportion of the population was entering retirement years. These changes were accompanied by increases in the numbers of women-including mothers of small children-in the labor force; increased frequency of single parenthood and one-person households; and a decline in family size.
This article examines the changing consumption and income patterns of the American family that resulted from these movements as well as from change in tastes and preferences and technological and cultural developments. Two earlier studies, How American Buying Habits Change,1 and Study of Consumer Expenditures, Incomes and Savings,2 which provide excellent documentation of consumer expenditure data through 1950 greatly aided in the development of our analysis.
This excerpt is from an article published in the March 1990 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full text in PDF (694K)
1 U.S. Department of Labor, How American Buying Habits Change (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1985).
2 Helen Humes Lamale, Study of Consumer Expenditures, Income and Savings; Methodology of the Survey of Consumer Expediters in 1950 (University of Pennsylvania, 1959).
Related BLS programs
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Consumer Expenditure Survey
Employee Benefits Survey
Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Earnings of husbands and wives in dual-earner families.Apr. 1998.
Effect of working wives on the incidence of poverty, The.Mar. 1998.
Health insurance coverage for families with children.Aug. 1995.
American families: 75 years of change.March 1990.
Family members in the workforce.March 1990.
Family-related benefits in the workplace.March 1990.
Work and family: the impact of legislation.March 1990.
The changing family in international perspective.March 1990.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers