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May, 2000, Vol. 123, No. 5
Expenditure patterns of older Americans, 1984-97Geoffrey D. Paulin
One of the major demographic changes affecting the United States today is the increasing average age of the population. This trend is expected to continue for the next several years, especially as the large segment of the population known as the baby-boomers continues to mature. The oldest members of this group (born in 1945) will reach the nominal retirement age (65 years) in 2010. As this happens, consumer spending patterns are likely to change in a number of ways.
But what kinds of changes are in the offing, and how large might they be? Have there already been changes that might help us prepare for the future? Although previous studies offer some insight by recognizing and examining the importance of expenditures by older consumers, many of those studies concentrate on spending patterns at just one or two points in time. This article includes elements from earlier studies, but takes the analysis further: first, expenditure trends are analyzed for different age groups within the older population; second, experiments are designed to test whether tastes and preferences differ over time for older consumers. Data for the analysis are provided by Consumer Expenditure Surveys from 1984 to 1997.
This excerpt is from an article published in the May 2000 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.
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Related BLS programs
Consumer Expenditure Surveys
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Spending by older consumers: 1980 and 1990 compared.—May 1993.
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