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13-2491-PHI
January 07, 2014

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Consumer Expenditures for the Philadelphia Area: 2011-2012

Consumer units1 in the the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., metropolitan area spent an average of $53,546 per year in 2011-2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that this figure was over 5 percent greater than the $50,581 average expenditure level for a typical household in the United States. Not only did households in the Philadelphia area spend more than the U.S. average, they allocated their dollars differently among the major categories, differing significantly in 3 of the 8. For example, the share of expenditures for personal insurance and pensions, which accounted for 10.0 percent of a typical household’s budget in the Philadelphia area, was significantly less than the nationwide average of 10.9 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

 Chart 1. Percent distribution of average annual expenditures for the eight major categories in the United States and Philadelphia metropolitan area, 2011-2012

Housing in the Philadelphia area averaged $20,302 annually and was the largest expenditure category, accounting for 37.9 percent of a Philadelphia area household’s total budget. (See table 1 and table 2.) This share was significantly above the 33.3-percent national average. Overall, 8 of the 18 published metropolitan areas had expenditure shares for housing significantly above the U.S. average, while 3 had significantly lower-than-average shares. (See chart 2.) Housing expenditures among the 18 areas ranged from 39.7 percent in New York to 31.7 percent in Detroit. (See table 3.)

The majority of housing expenditures in Philadelphia went toward shelter, 60.1 percent, which includes mortgage interest, property taxes, repairs, and rent, among other items; nationwide, 58.5 percent of the housing budget was allocated for shelter. (See table A.) Utilities, fuels, and public services expenses accounted for 22.0 percent of the housing budget locally; nationally, they made up 21.9 percent. The rate of homeownership in Philadelphia was 67 percent, compared to the U.S. average of 65 percent.

Table A. Percent distribution of housing expenditures, United States and Philadelphia metropolitan area, 2011-2012
Category United States Philadelphia

Housing

100.0 100.0

Shelter

58.5 60.1

Utilities, fuels and public services

21.9 22.0

Household operations

6.8 7.1

Housekeeping supplies

3.6 3.5

Household furnishings and equipment

9.2 7.3

Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.
 

At 14.4 percent of the total budget, transportation was the second-largest expenditure category in the Philadelphia area and was significantly below the national average of 17.1 percent. Among the 18 published metropolitan areas nationwide, 8 (including Philadelphia) had below-average transportation shares; only Houston’s transportation share was significantly higher than the U.S. share. (See chart 3.)

Of the $7,688 in annual expenditures for transportation in Philadelphia, 93.8 percent was spent buying and maintaining private vehicles; this compared to the national average of 93.9 percent. The remaining 6.2 percent of a Philadelphia household’s transportation budget was spent on public transit, which includes fares for taxis, buses, trains, and planes; this allocation was similar to the 6.1-percent average for the nation. (See table B.) The average number of vehicles per household in Philadelphia (1.4) was lower than the national average (1.9).

Table B. Percent distribution of transportation expenditures, United States and Philadelphia metropolitan area, 2011-2012
Category United States Philadelphia

Transportation

100.0 100.0

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

34.0 29.5

Gasoline and motor oil

31.3 31.5

Other vehicle expenses

28.6 32.8

Public transportation

6.1 6.2

Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.
 

The portion of a Philadelphia consumer unit’s budget spent on food, 12.7 percent, was similar to the 12.9-percent U.S. average. Among the 18 published metropolitan areas, 3 had food expenditure shares that were significantly below the nationwide average; only Los Angeles reported an expenditure share for food significantly above that for the nation. (See table 3.)

Households in Philadelphia spent $3,909, or 57.6 percent, of their food dollars on food prepared at home and the remaining 42.4 percent on food prepared away from home, such as restaurant meals, carry-out, board at school, and catered affairs. In comparison, the typical U.S. household spent 59.4 percent of its food budget on food prepared at home and 40.6 percent on food prepared away from home.

As noted, Philadelphia is 1 of 18 metropolitan areas nationwide for which Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) data are available.

Metropolitan area CE data and that for the four geographic regions of the United States are available on our Web site at http://www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm. Metropolitan area CE news releases are available at http://www.bls.gov/regions/subjects/consumer-spending.htm.

Footnotes

1 See the Additional Information for the definition of a consumer unit. The terms consumer unit and household are used interchangeably throughout the text for convenience.

Additional information

Data contained in this report are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, which is collected on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The CE data were averaged over a two-year period, 2011 and 2012 and are available for the nation, the 4 geographic regions of the country, and 18 metropolitan areas. The metropolitan area discussed in this release is Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., which includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.

The survey consists of two components, a diary or recordkeeping survey, and an interview survey. The integrated data from the BLS Diary and Interview Surveys provide a complete accounting of consumer expenditures and income, which neither survey component alone is designed to do. Due to changes in the survey sample frame, metropolitan area data in this release are not directly comparable to those prior to 1996.

A consumer unit is defined as members of a household related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangement; a single person living alone or sharing a household with others but who is financially independent; or two or more persons living together who share responsibility for at least 2 out of 3 major types of expenses – food, housing, and other expenses. The terms household or consumer unit are used interchangeably for convenience.

CE metropolitan area estimates are not comparative cost of living surveys, as neither the quantity nor the quality of goods and services has been held constant among areas. Differences may result from variations in demographic characteristics such as consumer unit size, age, preferences, income levels, etc. However, expenditure shares, or the percentage of a consumer unit’s budget spent on a particular category, can be used to compare spending patterns across areas. Sample sizes for the metropolitan areas are much smaller than for the nation, so the U.S. estimates and year-to-year changes are more reliable than those for the metropolitan areas. Users should also keep in mind that prices for many goods and services have changed since the survey was conducted.

Expenditure shares for housing and transportation that are above or below that for the nation after testing for significance at the 95-percent confidence interval are also identified in charts 2 and 3 for the 18 metropolitan areas surveyed.

A value that is statistically different from another does not necessarily mean that the difference has economic or practical significance. Statistical significance is concerned with our ability to make confident statements about a universe based on a sample. It is entirely possible that a large difference between two values is not significantly different statistically, while a small difference is, since both the size and heterogeneity of the sample affect the relative error of the data being tested

For additional technical documentation and related information, see www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch16.htm

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Percent distribution of average annual expenditures, United States and Philadelphia metropolitan area, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011-2012
Item United States Philadelphia

Average annual expenditures

$50,581
$53,546

Percent distribution:

100.0
100.0

Food

12.9
12.7

Alcoholic beverages

0.9
1.0

Housing

33.3
37.9*

Apparel and services

3.4
3.5

Transportation

17.1
14.4*

Healthcare

6.8
6.4

Entertainment

5.1
5.1

Personal care products and services

1.2
1.2

Reading

0.2
0.3*

Education

2.2
2.5

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

0.7
0.5*

Miscellaneous

1.6
1.3

Cash contributions

3.6
3.2

Personal insurance and pensions

10.9
10.0*

* Statistically significant difference from U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level.

Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.
 

Table 2. Consumer unit characteristics and average annual expenditures, United States and Philadelphia metropolitan area, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011–2012
Category United States Philadelphia
Consumer unit characteristics:    

Income before taxes

$64,649 $71,691

Age of reference person

49.9 51.2
Average number in consumer unit:    

Persons

2.5 2.3

Children under 18

0.6 0.5

Persons 65 and over

0.3 0.3

Earners

1.3 1.2

Vehicles

1.9 1.4

Percent homeowners

65 67
Average annual expenditures:    

Average annual expenditures

$50,581 $53,546

Food

6,529 6,788

Food at home

3,880 3,909

Cereals and bakery products

534 605

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

843 817

Dairy products

413 446

Fruits and vegetables

723 697

Other food at home

1,367 1,344

Food away from home

2,649 2,879

Alcoholic beverages

454 548

Housing

16,846 20,302

Shelter

9,858 12,204

Owned dwellings

6,101 8,221

Rented dwellings

3,109 3,317

Other lodging

648 666

Utilities, fuels, and public services

3,687 4,465

Household operations

1,141 1,432

Housekeeping supplies

612 720

Household furnishings and equipment

1,547 1,481

Apparel and services

1,738 1,889

Transportation

8,649 7,688

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

2,942 2,266

Gasoline and motor oil

2,706 2,424

Other vehicle expenses

2,472 2,518

Public and other transportation

529 480

Healthcare

3,436 3,408

Entertainment

2,589 2,739

Personal care products and services

631 652

Reading

112 159

Education

1,130 1,346

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

341 282

Miscellaneous

802 701

Cash contributions

1,818 1,693

Personal insurance and pensions

5,508 5,352

Life and other personal insurance

335 210

Pensions and Social Security

5,173 5,142
Table 3. Percent share of average annual expenditures for housing, transportation, and food, United States and 18 metropolitan areas, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011–2012
Area Housing Transportation Food

United States

33.3
17.1
12.9

Atlanta

34.7
16.9
11.7*

Baltimore

33.8
13.7*
12.7

Boston

31.8*
14.8*
13.2

Chicago

34.9*
15.0*
12.3

Cleveland

31.9
17.8
12.3

Dallas

32.9
18.6
12.5

Detroit

31.7*
18.8
13.3

Houston

31.9
20.3*
12.5

Los Angeles

37.7*
16.0*
13.6*

Miami

38.4*
17.0
13.7

Minneapolis

31.8*
17.5
12.6

New York

39.7*
13.7*
12.4

Philadelphia

37.9*
14.4*
12.7

Phoenix

34.8
15.9
13.0

San Diego

38.5*
15.6
12.0

San Francisco

35.2*
14.2*
11.5*

Seattle

34.1
15.7
12.8

Washington

35.3*
15.0*
11.6*
*Statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level.
 Chart 2. Expenditure shares spent on housing in 18 metropolitan statistical areas compared to the U.S. average, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011-2012
 Chart 3. Expenditure shares spent on transportation in 18 metropolitan statistical areas compared to the U.S. average, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011-2012

 


 

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, January 07, 2014