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13-2010-DAL

Friday, November 15, 2013

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Consumer Expenditures for the Houston Area: 2011 – 2012


Consumer units 1 (households) in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria metropolitan area spent an average of $58,231 per year in 2011-2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that this figure was 15 percent higher than the $50,581 average annual expenditure level for a typical household in the United States. Although households in the Houston area spent more than the U.S. average, they allocated their dollars similarly among most of the largest expenditure categories, though differing significantly in transportation and health care. For example, expenditures for health care accounted for 5.5 percent of a typical household budget in the Houston area, significantly below the nationwide average of 6.8 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)


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

Housing in the Houston metropolitan area averaged $18,547 annually and was the largest expenditure category, accounting for 31.9 percent of the average Houston area household’s total budget. This share was not significantly different from the 33.3-percent national average. (See tables 1 and 2.) Overall, 8 of the 18 published metropolitan areas had expenditure shares for housing measurably above the U.S. average, while 3 had significantly lower-than-average shares. (See chart 2.) Among the 18 areas, housing shares ranged from 39.7 percent in New York to 31.7 percent in Detroit. (See table 3.)

The majority of total housing expenditures in Houston went toward shelter, 55.2 percent, which includes mortgage interest, property taxes, repairs, and rent, among other items; this was significantly below the 58.5-percent share allocated toward shelter nationwide. (See table A.) Utilities, fuels, and public services expenses accounted for 23.3 percent of the local housing budget; nationally, it made up 21.9 percent. The rate of homeownership in Houston, at 65 percent, matched the U.S. average.


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

Total Housing

100.0% 100.0%

Shelter

58.5 55.2

Utilities, fuels, and public services

21.9 23.3

Household operation

6.8 7.2

Housekeeping supplies

3.6 3.2

Household furnishings and equipment

9.2 11.1

Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


At 20.3 percent of the total budget, transportation was the second-largest expenditure category in the Houston area, significantly higher than the national average of 17.1 percent. Among the 18 published areas, only Houston registered a significantly above-average transportation share. Eight of the remaining areas had significantly lower shares than the U.S. average. (See chart 3.)

Of the $11,811 in annual expenditures for transportation in Houston, 94.9 percent was spent buying and maintaining private vehicles compared to the national average of 93.9 percent. The remaining 5.1 percent of a Houston household’s transportation budget was spent on public transit, which includes fares for taxis, buses, trains, and planes; this allocation was not significantly different from the 6.1-percent national average. (See table B.) With 1.9 vehicles per household, Houston matched the national average.


Table B. Percent distibution of housing expenditures, United States and Houston metropolitan area, 2011-2012
Category United States Houston

Total Transportation

100.0% 100.0%

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

34.0 36.9

Gasoline and motor oil

31.3 30.0

Other vehicle expenses

28.6 28.1

Public transportation

6.1 5.1

Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The portion of a Houston consumer unit’s budget spent on food, 12.5 percent, was not significantly different from the 12.9-percent U.S. average. Among the 18 metropolitan areas, 14 had food expenditure shares that were not measurably different from the nationwide average. In the four remaining areas, three had food shares significantly below the national average, while one, Los Angeles, was significantly above average.

Houston households spent 54.2 percent ($3,939) of their food dollars on food prepared at home, significantly below the 59.4-percent national share. Locally, the remaining food expenditure dollars ($3,333) went to food prepared away from home, such as restaurant meals, carry-out, board at school, and catered affairs. These expenditures accounted for 45.8 percent of total household food expenditures in Houston compared to the national average of 40.6 percent.

As noted, Houston 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 and the United States are available on our website at www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm. Metropolitan area CE news releases are available at www.bls.gov/regions/consumerspending.htm.

Additional information

Data contained in this report are from the CE survey, which is collected on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Census Bureau for 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 Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas, which consists of Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Waller Counties.

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 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: 800-877-8339.

Footnote

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



Table 1. Percent distibution of average annual expenditures, United States and Houston metropolitan area, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011-2012
Category United States Houston

Average annual expenditures

$50,581
$58,231

Percent distribution:

100.0
100.0

Food

12.9
12.5

Alcoholic beverages

0.9
0.8

Housing

33.3
31.9

Apparel and services

3.4
3.9

Transportation

17.1 20.3*

Health care

6.8 5.5*

Entertainment

5.1
5.0

Personal care products and services

1.2 1.4*

Reading

0.2
0.2

Education

2.2 1.4*

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

0.7
0.6

Miscellaneous

1.6
1.7

Cash contributions

3.6
3.6

Personal insurance and pensions

10.9
11.2

* Statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level.
Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.



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

Income before taxes

$64,649 $73,523

Age of reference person

49.9 45.2
Average number in consumer unit:

Persons

2.5 2.9

Children under 18

0.6 0.9

Persons 65 and over

0.3 0.2

Earners

1.3 1.5

Vehicles

1.9 1.9

Percent homeowner

65 65
Average annual expenditures:

Average annual expenditures

$50,581 $58,231

Food

6,529 7,272

Food at home

3,880 3,939

Cereals and bakery products

534 530

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

843 864

Dairy products

413 371

Fruits and vegetables

723 744

Other food at home

1,367 1,431

Food away from home

2,649 3,333

Alcoholic beverages

454 474

Housing

16,846 18,547

Shelter

9,858 10,244

Owned dwellings

6,101 6,787

Rented dwellings

3,109 2,816

Other lodging

648 641

Utilities, fuels, and public services

3,687 4,318

Household operations

1,141 1,328

Housekeeping supplies

612 594

Household furnishings and equipment

1,547 2,063

Apparel and services

1,738 2,279

Transportation

8,649 11,811

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

2,942 4,356

Gasoline and motor oil

2,706 3,542

Other vehicle expenses

2,472 3,314

Public transportation

529 600

Health care

3,436 3,187

Entertainment

2,589 2,892

Personal care products and services

631 838

Reading

112 113

Education

1,130 819

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

341 377

Miscellaneous

802 989

Cash contributions

1,818 2,120

Personal insurance and pensions

5,508 6,514

Life and other personal insurance

335 582

Pensions and Social Security

5,173 5,931

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.



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.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Chart 2. Expenditure shares spent on housing in 18 metropolitan statistical areas compared to the U.S. average, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011-2012




Chart3. Expenditure shares spent on transportation in 18 metropolitan statistical areas compared to the U.S. average, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2011-2012

 

 

Last Modified Date: November 15, 2013