CE Experimental Research Tables

This page provides an introduction to special tabulation tables being developed by the Consumer Expenditure Survey Division.  New research will be added and updated periodically. 

Information on this page includes the All Consumer Unit Prepublication Table (All CU Prepublication MVP), the 2014 Higher Income Table which expanded the top income range to $200,000 and over, a Generational Table that sorts expenditures by generation/cohorts, documentation on measurement error in the CE, and information on how to get the most from the CE published and prepublication tables.

Note that the Generational Table is ongoing research work, and has not been produced using BLS production methods and standards.  As such it is experimental and subject to refinement.

All CU Prepublication MVP Tables (R-1)

All consumer units: Annual detailed expenditure means, standard errors, coefficients of variation, and weekly (D) or quarterly (I) percents reporting, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2013-15


Guidance to the user: Care should be taken when analyzing detailed expenditure subcategories in the prepublication tables, as the small number of households reporting an expenditure can cause the mean dollar estimate to be imprecise. Users should consider the coefficient of variation (CV). Expenditures with CVs of 25% and over are generally considered unreliable. For further information on standard error and variance in the CE, see: http://www.bls.gov/cex/ce_se_2015.pdf

This table was developed to show the large amount of additional detailed expenditure data calculated by the CE. The table contains Means, Variances, and Percent reporting (MVP). The CE standard published tables are an aggregate of the integrated data, and contain only higher level summary rows. This Prepublication table contains data pulled from three different tables. The three underlying tables summarized in this table can be obtained by contacting us.

Available Prepublication tables in this disaggregated format are based on the same set of fifteen published annual tables on our home page. Displaying the disaggregated rows at the lowest level allows for the addition of either weekly or quarterly percent reporting statistics. Furthermore, one can calculate the weekly or quarterly means expenditure for only those who pay for particular items. The three types of tables are available for the same demographics as our published annual calendar tables and contain the following information.

  • Integrated tables which contain selected data from both the Interview and Diary surveys. These integrated tables present the weekly and quarterly reported expenditures in an annual mean format that matches published tables, but in a detailed disaggregated form. The tables also include standard errors, and coefficients of variation. (Variance). These contain the most detailed set of expenditures calculated by the CE.

  • Interview Survey tables containing only Interview data on quarterly expenditures. The table includes annual expenditure means, quarterly percent reporting and variances. For example, one can use this table to find out what percentage of consumer units reported paying Mortgage interest in a quarter and how much they spent on average.

  • Diary Survey tables contain weekly expenditure mean and percent reporting. As an example, one can use this table to find out what percentage of consumer units bought Bacon or Eggs in a week and how much they spent on average.
  • The sample tables displaying these data were produced for 2013 and 2014 and can be viewed in pdf or xlsx formats:

  • ALL CU MVP table (R-1) 2015 (PDF) (XLSX)
  • ALL CU MVP table (R-1) 2014 (PDF) (XLSX)
  • ALL CU MVP table (R-1) 2013 (PDF) (XLSX)

  • How to get the most from CE tables

    This document provides information to help one delve deeper into the published as well as the very detailed non-published (PREPUBLICATION) tables. This short description describes how one can use consumer unit characteristics to uncover useful underlying information about the data.

    Generational Tables

    The midyear generational table for July 2015 through June 2016 with an All consumer units column and five additional columns using the birth year of the reference person grouped into generations has been added to this section. The source for the years used in the generational groupings comes from the following report: http://www.people-press.org/2015/09/03/the-whys-and-hows-of-generations-research/.

    The five generational columns are:

    Birth year of 1981 or later - sometimes referred to as the Millennial Generation

    Birth year from 1965 to 1980 - also known as Generation X

    Birth year from 1946 to 1964 - Baby boomers

    Birth year from 1929 to 1945 - Silent generation

    Birth year of 1928 or earlier - Greatest generation (G.I. Generation)

    The birth year of the reference person was approximated based on the collected age of the reference person variable in the CE data.

    • 2016 Midyear Generational Table — (XLSX)
    • 2015 Generational Table — (XLSX)
    • 2015 Midyear Generational Table — (XLSX)
    • 2014 Generational Table — (XLSX)

    Higher Income Table

    CE evaluated the income ranges on the published standard table, and found that over time the number of consumer units in the lowest income columns had decreased. This research table divided the existing $150,000 and over income column into two new columns: $150,000 to $199,999, and $200,000 and over. In 2015, these columns were integrated into the annual “Income before taxes” table.

    • 2014 Higher Income table — (XLSX)


    Last Modified Date: April 19, 2017