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For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, September 8, 2022 USDL-22-1804 Technical Information: (202) 691-6900 * CEXInfo@bls.gov * www.bls.gov/cex Media Contact: (202) 691-5902 * PressOffice@bls.gov CONSUMER EXPENDITURES--2021 Average annual expenditures for all consumer units(1) in 2021 were $66,928, a 9.1-percent increase from 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) During the same period, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) rose 4.7 percent, and average income before taxes increased 3.7 percent. The average annual expenditures of 2021 were broken down into fourteen major components, nine of which are shown in table B. The tenth category shown, “other expenditures,” is the aggregate of the five smallest components.(2) Overall, housing accounted for the highest share (33.8 percent), followed by transportation (16.4 percent), food (12.4 percent), and personal insurance and pensions (11.8 percent). Among the fourteen major components of household spending, the largest increase in expenditures was in entertainment (+22.7 percent), followed closely by a 22.3-percent rise in apparel and services spending. In contrast, only education expenditures decreased (-3.5 percent) from 2020 to 2021. Selected spending patterns, 2021 The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 led to major changes in the consumer economy. For example, many states mandated closure of businesses, such as restaurants, bars, and other places providing personal services (e.g., hair salons). As these businesses reopened, the initial effects of the pandemic on spending receded, as evidenced by the rebound in expenditures in 2021. In particular, spending on food away from home, apparel and services, alcoholic beverages, and personal care products and services approached 2019 levels. However, spending on housing, healthcare, and entertainment surpassed pre COVID-19 pandemic levels. Some highlights of expenditure changes include: --Entertainment expenditures increased 22.7 percent in 2021, compared to a decrease of 5.9 percent in 2020. In 2021, entertainment expenditures surpassed their 2019 levels, up 15.5 percent from that year. This was driven by a 60.6-percent increase in other entertainment supplies, equipment, and services expenditures in 2021, which includes the purchase and rental of motored and unmotored recreational vehicles. The second largest increase was in fees and admissions (+53.9 percent), followed by a 17.1-percent increase in toys, hobbies, and playground equipment. --Spending on apparel and services increased 22.3 percent in 2021, compared to a decrease of 23.8 percent in 2020. All apparel and services items exhibited large increases except for apparel spending on children under two, the smallest component, which decreased by 2.9 percent. However, even with a 22.3-percent growth in apparel and services, spending had not yet returned to 2019 levels. --Alcoholic beverage expenditures were up 15.9 percent in 2021, after a 17.4-percent decrease in 2020. The increase was driven by alcohol away from home spending, up 69.4 percent, which was offset by a decrease in alcohol at home spending, down 7.9 percent. Despite this growth, spending on alcohol away from home remained below 2019 levels. --Spending on food increased 13.4 percent in 2021, compared to a decrease of 10.5 percent in 2020. The increase was driven by food away from home spending, up 27.6 percent, accompanied by an increase in food at home spending, up 6.6 percent. While food at home expenditures in 2021 surpassed 2019 levels, food away from home remains below them. --Transportation expenditures increased 11.6 percent in 2021, after an 8.5-percent decrease in 2020. The largest increase within transportation was in public and other transportation spending (+71.9 percent), followed by a 37.0-percent increase in gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil. Average expenditures for vehicle purchases (net outlay) were up 6.7 percent. Vehicle purchases (net outlay) includes the purchase price minus trade-in value on new and used domestic and imported cars and trucks and other vehicles, such as motorcycles. --Personal insurance and pensions spending increased 8.7 percent in 2021, after a 1.1-percent increase in 2020. This was driven by a 9.5-percent increase in contributions to pensions and Social Security. Within this category, there was a 91.2-percent increase in expenditures on non-payroll deposits to retirement plans, largely the result of a change in the question collecting these data. (See methodology section below.) At the same time, spending on life and other personal insurance decreased by 2.7 percent. --Cash contributions were up 5.8 percent in 2021, after a 14.4-percent increase in 2020. The cash contributions category includes cash contributed to persons or organizations outside the consumer unit, including alimony and child support payments; care of students away from home; and contributions to religious, educational, charitable, or political organizations. --Housing expenditures increased 5.6 percent in 2021, after a 3.6-percent increase in 2020. Expenditures on both rented dwellings and owned dwellings(3) increased, by 6.3 and 1.6 percent, respectively. The largest housing-related spending increase is in other lodging, up 36.1 percent, due to the near-complete recovery of lodging on out-of-town trips, which was up 89.9 percent. With this increase, lodging on out-of-town trips was 2.4 percent below 2019 levels. --Healthcare expenditures were up 5.3 percent in 2021, following a 0.3-percent decrease in 2020. The largest component of healthcare, health insurance, was up 1.0 percent, compared to an increase of 3.9 percent in 2020. Expenditures on medical services (+23.8 percent) and medical supplies (+6.5 percent) both increased over this period. Medical services include physician’s and dental services, which have become more accessible as patient care restrictions were lifted in 2021. Food spending by size of consumer unit, 2021 Given the aforementioned closures of restaurants and similar businesses at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not surprising that expenditures on food at home increased. Reopening of these businesses, and adaptations such as curbside pickup and increased delivery of food, undoubtedly helped the recovery of food away from home, in 2021. Although the recovery was not complete (as measured by comparison to 2019 levels), food expenditures remained elevated at the all-consumer unit level. That stated, the relationship of food expenditures to family size is self-evident—the more mouths to feed, the more the expected expenditure regardless of type of food. Food at home spending increased for all sizes of consumer units except for five or more people, and food away from home spending increased for all consumer units regardless of size. Consumer units with three people had the largest increase in both food at home expenditures (+12.1 percent) and in food away from home expenditures (+39.1 percent). As noted, only consumer units with five or more people had a decrease in food at home expenditures (-3.0 percent), though they had the second biggest increase in food away from home expenditures (+31.3 percent). Spending by composition of consumer unit, 2021 Table C compares the shares allocated to selected expenditures by composition of consumer units. Single-parent consumer units allocated the highest shares to housing (38.1 percent) and food (14.2 percent), and the lowest shares to personal insurance and pensions (8.4 percent), healthcare (5.3 percent), and entertainment (4.4 percent). In contrast, married couples with children allocated the lowest shares in housing (30.9 percent) and the highest shares in personal insurance and pensions (13.9 percent). Married-couple-only consumer units had the highest shares in healthcare (10.4 percent) and entertainment (6.2 percent), while having the lowest shares in transportation (14.6 percent) and food (11.6 percent). Spending and income before taxes by income quintile, 2021 Table D shows the annual percent change in expenditures and income before taxes by income quintile(4). Overall spending increased in all five quintiles, with the largest increase in the highest quintile (+11.6 percent) and the smallest increase in the fourth quintile (+4.6 percent). Among the components of spending, food, alcoholic beverages, housing, apparel and services, entertainment, and personal care products and services increased for all five quintiles. In each quintile, the increase in total spending outpaced the increase in income. Overall average annual income before taxes rose 3.7 percent in 2021, while expenditures increased 9.1 percent. While the largest increase in both expenditures (+11.6 percent) and income (+3.8 percent) occurred for the highest quintile, the largest gap between expenditures (+10.1-percent increase) and income (+0.6 percent increase) was for the second quintile. The modest increase in income in 2021 (+3.7 percent) follows an even smaller increase in 2020 (+1.8 percent). The overall increase is attributable to increases in the middle through highest quintiles, for which incomes rose at least 3.0 but less than 4.0 percent. The first two quintiles exhibited negligible changes, with the second income quintile rising 0.6 percent, and the first income quintile exhibiting a decline of 0.4 percent, the only decrease by quintile in 2021. Table A. Average income and expenditures of all consumer units, 2019-21 __________________________________________________________________________________________ Percent change Item 2019 2020 2021 2019-20 2020-21 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Number of consumer units (000's) 132,242 131,234 133,595 0.0 0.0 Average income before taxes $82,852 $84,352 $87,432 1.8 3.7 Average annual expenditures $63,036 $61,332* $66,928 -2.7 9.1 Food 8,169 7,310* 8,289 -10.5 13.4 Food at home 4,643 4,935* 5,259 6.3 6.6 Food away from home 3,526 2,375 3,030 -32.6 27.6 Alcoholic beverages 579 478 554 -17.4 15.9 Housing 20,679 21,417* 22,624 3.6 5.6 Owned dwellings 6,797 7,473 7,591 9.9 1.6 Rented dwellings 4,432 4,408 4,684 -0.5 6.3 Other lodging 961 722 983 -24.9 36.1 Lodging on out-of-town trips 619 318 604 -48.6 89.9 Apparel and services 1,883 1,434 1,754 -23.8 22.3 Transportation 10,742 9,826 10,961 -8.5 11.6 Vehicle purchases (net outlays) 4,394 4,523 4,828 2.9 6.7 Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil 2,094 1,568 2,148 -25.1 37.0 Public and other transportation 781 263 452 -66.3 71.9 Healthcare 5,193 5,177 5,452 -0.3 5.3 Health insurance 3,529 3,667 3,704 3.9 1.0 Medical services 984 864 1,070 -12.2 23.8 Entertainment 3,090 2,909* 3,568 -5.9 22.7 Fees and admissions 880 425 654 -51.7 53.9 Pets toys, hobbies, and playground equipment 821 859 969 4.6 12.8 Other entertainment supplies, equipment, and services 389 576* 925 48.1 60.6 Personal care products and services 786 646 771 -17.8 19.3 Reading 92 114 114 23.9 0.0 Education 1,443 1,271 1,226 -11.9 -3.5 Tobacco products and smoking supplies 320 315 341 -1.6 8.3 Miscellaneous 899 907 986 0.9 8.7 Cash contributions 1,995 2,283 2,415 14.4 5.8 Personal insurance and pensions 7,165 7,246 7,873 1.1 8.7 Pensions and Social Security 6,645 6,760 7,400 1.7 9.5 *Due to corrections that occurred post-publication, 2020 numbers are different than those published in the 2020 annual release. These corrections did not meet CE’s threshold for republication. Note: Only selected subcategories are shown; as a result, the subcategories do not sum to their respective major item category. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Table B. Percent distribution of total annual expenditures by major category for all consumer units, 2018-21 ___________________________________________________________________________ Spending Category 2018 2019 2020 2021 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Average annual expenditures 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 Food 12.9 13.0 11.9 12.4 Alcoholic beverages 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.8 Housing 32.8 32.8 34.9 33.8 Apparel and services 3.0 3.0 2.3 2.6 Transportation 15.9 17.0 16.0 16.4 Healthcare 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.1 Entertainment 5.3 4.9 4.7 5.3 Personal care products and services 1.3 1.2 1.1 1.2 Reading 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2 Education 2.3 2.3 2.1 1.8 Tobacco products and smoking supplies 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.5 Miscellaneous 1.6 1.4 1.5 1.5 Cash contributions 3.1 3.2 3.7 3.6 Personal insurance and pensions 11.9 11.4 11.8 11.8 ___________________________________________________________________________ Table C. Shares of average expenditures on selected major components by composition of consumer unit, 2021 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Item All Married Married Other One Single Consumer couple couple married parent, person Units only with couple at least and other children consumer one child consumer under 18 units units ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Housing 33.8 32.6 30.9 31.9 38.1 37.2 Transportation 16.4 14.6 17.5 17.7 17.1 16.4 Food 12.4 11.6 12.4 13.4 14.2 12.3 Personal insurance and pensions 11.8 11.8 13.9 12.9 8.4 10.0 Healthcare 8.1 10.4 7.2 8.8 5.3 7.6 Entertainment 5.3 6.2 5.8 4.4 4.4 4.5 Other expenditures* 12.2 12.6 12.3 10.8 12.4 11.9 Other expenditures* include alcoholic beverages, apparel and services, personal care products and services, reading, education, tobacco products and smoking supplies, cash contributions, and miscellaneous. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Table D. Change in average annual expenditures of major components by income quintile, 2020-21 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Item Lowest Quintile Second Quintile Third Quintile Fourth Quintile Highest Quintile Over-the- Over-the- Over-the- Over-the- Over-the- year year year year year change change change change change Dollar Percent Dollar Percent Dollar Percent Dollar Percent Dollar Percent ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total 2,145 7.5 4,028 10.1 4,371 8.5 3,342 4.6 13,373 11.6 Food 776 18.9 409 7.6 1,067 16.9 875 10.3 1,728 14.1 At home 425 13.7 195 5.1 524 12.4 132 2.3 310 4.0 Away from home 351 35.1 213 13.5 543 26.2 744 26.6 1,419 32.0 Alcoholic beverages 58 38.7 65 27.7 39 10.5 113 22.3 103 9.1 Housing 537 4.4 902 5.7 1,438 7.8 1,108 4.6 1,881 5.1 Apparel and services 181 23.8 343 9.8 277 21.9 311 21.3 485 17.2 Transportation -90 -2.1 1,770 28.5 1,096 11.9 374 3.0 2,408 14.3 Healthcare 303 10.9 106 2.6 -162 -3.3 272 4.5 807 10.2 Entertainment 201 16.9 169 8.9 511 25.1 410 11.7 1,946 32.8 Personal care products and services 81 27.1 106 23.3 53 9.2 168 22.8 208 17.8 Reading -9 -13.7 -8 -9.3 -22 -22.2 25 21.9 16 7.6 Education -127 -20.0 63 17.4 -148 -21.7 -90 -7.9 47 1.3 Tobacco products and smoking supplies 54 19.1 16 4.4 20 5.6 48 14.6 -4 -1.5 Miscellaneous 59 14.0 -4 -0.7 1 0.1 27 2.4 303 19.3 Cash contributions 195 26.0 42 3.1 -205 -11.4 -716 -25.0 1,303 28.0 Personal insurance and pensions -71 -11.7 48 2.3 0 8.8 416 4.6 2,144 10.7 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Additional Information Data Products In addition to expenditures, the BLS Consumer Expenditures Surveys (CE) program also collects data on income and demographic characteristics. Tables with more expenditure detail than is presented here are available at www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm. Published tables provide 2021 CE data by standard classifications that include income quintile, income decile, income range, age of reference person(5), generation of reference person, size of consumer unit, number of earners, composition of consumer unit, region of residence, Census division of residence, housing tenure, race, Hispanic origin, occupation, highest education level of any member, and type of area (urban or rural). These tables include expenditure means, aggregates, shares, and standard errors. Expenditure tables by age, region, size, or gender cross-tabulated by income before taxes and other demographic variables can also be found on the CE website. Furthermore, a table showing results for all consumer units including the most detailed breakdown of expenditures is available at www.bls.gov/cex/tables/top-line-means.htm. Historical published tables for data dating back to 1984 and for selected metropolitan area tabulations are also available. Unpublished, but releasable, tables of detailed expenditures by demographic can be obtained by sending a request to email@example.com. The CE database provides tools to access historical CE data (1984 onward) to produce trends in expenditures by demographic groups of interest and can be found at www.bls.gov/cex/data.htm. Documentation on how to use the CE database is available at www.bls.gov/cex/ce-labstat-getting-started-guide.pdf. Additionally, 1980 through 2021 CE public use microdata (PUMD) are available at www.bls.gov/cex/pumd_data.htm. The PUMD include Interview Survey files, Diary Survey files, and paradata (information about the data collection process). The Interview Survey files contain expenditure data in three different formats: MTBI files that present monthly values in an item-coding framework based on the CPI-U pricing scheme, FMLI files that present user-friendly summary expenditure variables (e.g., total expenditures; total expenditures on food; etc.), and detailed data files that organize expenditures by the section of the Interview questionnaire in which they are collected. Expenditure values on detailed data files cover different time periods depending on the specific questions asked, and the files also contain relevant non-expenditure information not found on the MTBI files, such as policy type and number of persons covered by health insurance. The Diary Survey files contain expenditure data in two different formats: EXPD files that present weekly values in the same item-coding framework based on the CPI-U pricing scheme, and FMLD files that present user-friendly summary expenditure variables (e.g., food at home, cereal and bakery products, beef, etc.). Documentation of the CE PUMD, its conventions, files, sample code, and methodology can be found at www.bls.gov/cex/pumd-getting-started-guide.htm. For those interested in learning more about the PUMD, the BLS will host a free workshop in the summer of 2023 providing “hands on” training in the use of these data. The event is open to all, but registration is required. See the “Upcoming Events” section below for more information about the workshop. Publications Recent CE-specific articles are available in the Beyond the Numbers publication series at www.bls.gov/cex/csxwebarticles.htm, and the CE Data Comparisons section of www.bls.gov/cex/cecomparison.htm. The BLS Beyond the Numbers publication series provides analyses of topical economic issues and long-term spending trends, and the data comparison articles examine CE data benchmarked to other sources. At the time of publication of this release, the most recent Beyond the Numbers article that features CE data (November 2020) is “How have healthcare expenditures changed? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys” (www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-9/how-have-healthcare-expenditures-changed-evidence-from-the-consumer-expenditure-surveys.htm). Additional methodological and analytical articles using CE data will be published in these series as they become available. The BLS CE program also produces occasional articles for publication in the Monthly Labor Review (MLR) and Spotlight on Statistics series. The flagship publication of the BLS, the MLR publishes scholarly articles on many topics in labor economics. Items in the Spotlight series are meant to be shorter pieces accessible to the general public. A Spotlight generally includes a series of charts or graphs accompanied by a brief explanation of their relevance to the analysis. At the time of publication of this release, the most recent analytical MLR article that features CE data (January 2022) is “SNAP participation and food-at-home expenditures through the Great Recession: United States and the New York Area” (www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2022/article/snap-participation-and-food-at-home-expenditures-through-the-great-recession-united-states-and-the-new-york-area.htm); the most recent Spotlight (April 2020) is “Meal Appeal: Patterns of Expenditures on Food away from Home” (www.bls.gov/spotlight/2020/food-away-from-home/home.htm). In addition, articles in The Economics Daily (TED) series occasionally feature findings using CE data. Members of the BLS CE program authored the most recent articles, while BLS staff in the publication’s office authored earlier TED articles. The recent TED articles have described how expenditures changed during the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic for travel (www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/consumer-expenditures-on-travel-declined-sharply-from-2019-to-2020.htm), entertainment by single men and single women (www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/single-men-outspent-single-women-on-entertainment-in-2019-20-but-single-women-spent-more-on-pets.htm),and total expenditures (www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/changes-to-consumer-expenditures-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.htm). The 2021 Data Quality Profile, which reports quality metrics and indicators for the Interview and Diary Surveys regarding measurement, nonresponse, and processing error, will be available shortly after this release at www.bls.gov/cex/cecomparison.htm. The 2021 Annual Report, which includes more detailed information on spending patterns, will be published in late 2022. (See www.bls.gov/cex/csxreport.htm#annual.) In 2021, the BLS CE program revised the Type of Area table to align with the U.S. Census Bureau's urban and rural definition. An upcoming Beyond the Numbers article explaining this change will be published in the near future. For a listing of links to other published reports featuring CE data, see the CE publications page at www.bls.gov/cex/csxreport.htm. Survey Materials Also available at www.bls.gov/cex/csxsurveyforms.htm are the Diary Survey questionnaire and a modified version of the Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) instrument used to collect the Interview Survey data. Methodology The change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) cited in the text was calculated as the percentage change between the 2020 12-month (January to December) average CPI-U for all items (258.811) and the 2021 12-month (January to December) average CPI-U for all items (270.970). Size of the consumer unit is the number of persons whose usual place of residence at the time of participation [in either the Interview or Diary Survey] in the sample unit. Definitions of CE terms are in the CE glossary at www.bls.gov/cex/csxgloss.htm. Composition of the consumer unit is the classification of families according to: (1) relationship of other family members to the reference person; (2) age of the children of the reference person; and (3) combination of relationship to the reference person and age of the children. Stepchildren and adopted children are included with the reference person's own children. Other married couple consumer units are those with at least one member who is not a child of the couple Income before taxes in the CE includes the following components: Wages and salaries; self-employment income; Social Security; private and government retirement; interest and dividends; rental and other property income; unemployment, workers' compensation, and veterans' benefits; public assistance, supplemental security income, and food stamps; regular contributions for support; and other income. The CE before-tax income estimates include government transfer payments of these three types: Supplement Security Income; Public Assistance; and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments. Not included in these estimates are government subsidies for businesses as these are out of scope for the CE survey. Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments that occurred in 2021 are included in the tax liability data and are reflected in after-tax income estimates. While CTC estimates are not specifically available in the published tables, CU level microdata indicating these amounts are available in the PUMD on the NTAXI files. For more information on the PUMD, please see the data products section above. Income quintiles are constructed by sorting consumer units in the sample from lowest to highest income before taxes. The population weight (i.e., the number of consumer units within the population that each sampled unit represents) associated with each consumer is summed with those of the consumer units preceding it in the sorted set, resulting in a cumulative frequency count. The first quintile includes all consumer units for which the cumulative frequency count is less than or equal to 20 percent of the number of consumer units in the population. The second quintile includes all those consumer units for which the cumulative frequency count is greater than 20 percent, but less than or equal to 40 percent of the population, and so forth. Because there were approximately 134 million consumer units in the population in 2021, each quintile includes over 26 million consumer units. In 2021, the BLS CE program changed the wording in the CAPI questionnaire for expenditures on non-payroll deposits to retirement plans. Before then, the question was “During the last 12 months, did you place any money in a retirement plan such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Keogh? Do not include rollovers.” In 2021, the wording in the questionnaire was revised to “During the last 12 months, did you contribute any money to retirement plans such as 401(k)s or Individual Retirement Accounts, also known as IRAs? Do not include rollovers.” This change in wording resulted in more reports for this expenditure throughout 2021, and therefore an increase in average expenditures of 91.2 percent compared to 2020. The percentage of consumer units reporting an expenditure on non-payroll deposits to retirement plans increased from 10.57 percent in 2020 to 18.06 percent in 2021. (See www.bls.gov/cex/tables/calendar-year/mean/cu-all-detail-2021.pdf) Some expenditures are collected only in one survey. For example, detailed food expenditures (e.g., rice, round roast, and lettuce) are collected only in the Diary Survey. Travel expenditures (goods or services purchased on out-of-town trips) are collected only in the Interview Survey. This makes the source of these data in published tables obvious. However, some expenditures (e.g., apparel and services) are collected in both surveys. For these expenditures, the BLS CE program uses a statistical method to select the source used in publication. Information on the methodology used to calculate and collect CE data is available at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cex/home.htm. General articles and research papers using CE data are in the CE research library at www.bls.gov/cex/research_papers/research-paper-catalog.htm. Upcoming Events The next CE Microdata Users’ Workshop will be held in the summer of 2023. More information about these events is available on the CE website (www.bls.gov/cex/csxannualworkshop.htm). Reports on these events (2009 through 2020) are also published in the Monthly Labor Review (MLR). Contact Information For further information, contact the Division of Consumer Expenditure Surveys, Office of Prices and Living Conditions at (202) 691-6900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. (1)Consumer units consist of families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share major expenses. (2)Other expenditures include miscellaneous (1.5 percent), personal care products and services (1.2 percent), alcoholic beverages (0.8 percent), tobacco products and smoking supplies (0.5 percent), and reading (0.2 percent). (3)Owned dwellings include interest on mortgages, interest on home equity loans and lines of credit, property taxes and insurance, refinancing and prepayment charges, ground rent, expenses for property management and security, homeowners' insurance, fire insurance and extended coverage, expenses for repairs and maintenance contracted out, and expenses of materials for owner-performed repairs and maintenance for dwellings used or maintained by the consumer unit. Mortgage principal payments and home purchases are excluded from this category. (4)Income before taxes by income quintile are based on the weighted distribution of income before taxes among consumer units. In 2021, the lower income bounds for each quintile were: $24,128 for the second quintile; $46,506 for the third quintile; $78,259 for the fourth quintile; and $129,534 for the highest quintile. For more information on how income before taxes is defined, see the methodology section below. (5)Reference person is defined as the first member mentioned by the respondent when asked to "Start with the name of the person or one of the persons who owns or rents the home." It is with respect to this person that the relationship of the other consumer unit members is determined.