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Monday, November 07, 2016

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Consumer Expenditures for the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area: 2014-15

Households in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., metropolitan area spent an average of $60,480 per year in 2014–15, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that this figure was significantly higher than the $54,715 average expenditure level for households in the United States. Although Philadelphia-area households allocated their dollars similarly to the nation among most of the eight selected major categories, three differed significantly from the U.S. average. For example, the share of expenditures for education, which accounted for 3.9 percent of the average household’s budget in the Philadelphia area, was significantly higher than the national average of 2.3 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Highlights of the Philadelphia area’s 2014–15 spending patterns:

  • Housing: This was the largest expenditure category for Philadelphia-area households and averaged $21,195. Housing accounted for 35.0 percent of the area’s household budget, significantly higher than the 33.1-percent U.S. average. (See table 1.) Among 16 metropolitan areas nationwide for which data were available, Philadelphia was 1 of 9 areas to have housing expenditures shares which were significantly higher than the national average; only Detroit (30.3 percent) had a significantly lower-than-average share. Housing expenditures among the 16 published areas ranged from 39.6 percent in New York to 30.3 percent in Detroit. (See table 2.)
  • Transportation: A Philadelphia-area household spent 15.9 percent of its budget on transportation, not significantly different from the national average of 17.0 percent. Of the $9,588 in annual transportation expenditures in Philadelphia, 90.9 percent was spent buying and maintaining private vehicles; this compared to the national average of 93.3 percent.
  • Food: The portion of a Philadelphia household’s budget spent on food, 11.2 percent, was not significantly different from the 12.6-percent U.S. average. Philadelphia-area households spent $4,065, or 59.9 percent, of their food dollars on food at home and $2,722 (40.1 percent) on food away from home. In comparison, the average U.S. household spent 57.9 percent of its food budget on food at home and 42.1 percent on food away from home.

Additional Information

Data in this release are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), which the U.S. Census Bureau conducts for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data in this release were averaged over a 2-year period, 2014 and 2015.

A household in the CE survey is defined as a consumer unit which consists of members 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.

Differences in spending among metropolitan areas may reflect differences in the cost of living, but they also may reflect other causes. Spending differences may result from different consumer preferences or variations in demographic characteristics, such as household size, age, or income levels. However, expenditure shares, or the percentage of a household’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.

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. A large difference between two values may not be statistically significant, while a small difference could be significant; both the sample size and the variation among the values in the sample affect the relative error of the estimates.

For additional technical and related information, see www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch16.pdf. Data for the nation, the four geographic regions of the U.S., and 16 metropolitan areas nationwide are available at www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm. Metropolitan definitions used in the survey are available at http://www.bls.gov/cex/ce_msa_201415.pdf. The metropolitan area discussed in this release is the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. MSA, which includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland. Metropolitan area news releases for the Consumer Expenditure Survey are available at www.bls.gov/regions/consumerspending.htm.

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

Changes to Consumer Expenditures Survey Data

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) underwent a sample change in 2015. Estimates for the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) will no longer be produced, as the population for the MSA was below the threshold necessary to qualify as a publishable MSA. The geographical boundaries of the Boston MSA have changed significantly such that estimates are not comparable to estimates for 2014. Thus, both Cleveland and Boston are not represented in the 2014-2015 tables. Boston will return in the 2015-2016 tables when two years of data based on the new boundaries become available.

Table 1. Average annual expenditures, characteristics and percent distributions, United States and Philadelphia metropolitan area, 2014-15
Category United States Philadelphia

Consumer unit characteristics:

 

Income before taxes

$68,316 $78,350

Age of reference person

50.4 52.2

Average number in consumer unit:

 

People

2.5 2.3

Children under 18

0.6 0.5

Adults 65 and older

0.4 0.4

Earners

1.3 1.3

Vehicles

1.9 1.6

Percent homeowner

63.0 65.0

Average annual expenditures

$54,715 $60,480*

Percent distribution

   

Total

100.0 100.0

Food

12.6 11.2*

Alcoholic beverages

0.9 1.1

Housing

33.1 35.0*

Apparel and services

3.3 3.8

Transportation

17.0 15.9

Healthcare

7.9 8.1

Entertainment

5.1 4.7

Personal care products and services

1.2 1.1

Reading

0.2 0.2

Education

2.3 3.9*

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

0.6 0.7

Miscellaneous

1.5 1.2

Cash contributions

3.3 2.6

Personal insurance and pensions

11.0 10.5

Note: An asterisk (*) represents a statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence interval.

Table 2. Percent share of average annual expenditures for housing, transportation, and food, United States and 16 metropolitan areas, 2014-15
Area Housing Transportation Food

United States

33.1 17.0 12.6

Atlanta

33.2 16.1 11.1*

Baltimore

34.9 15.8 11.4

Chicago

34.5* 15.6 12.4

Dallas

32.8 17.7 12.9

Detroit

30.3* 18.8 12.2

Houston

32.3 20.0* 12.5

Los Angeles

37.4* 15.1* 12.4

Miami

36.2* 18.1 13.8

Minneapolis

32.2 16.7 11.2*

New York

39.6* 12.7* 11.0*

Philadelphia

35.0* 15.9 11.2*

Phoenix

33.3 16.3 13.0

San Diego

35.8* 15.5 10.5*

San Francisco

37.1* 13.9* 12.1

Seattle

34.4 14.2* 12.9

Washington

36.6* 15.7 9.6*

Note: An asterisk (*) represents a statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence interval.

 

Last Modified Date: Monday, November 07, 2016