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Economic News Release
CE CES Program Links

Consumer Expenditures Survey (Annual) News Release

Internet address:      USDL-08-1746
Technical information:         202-691-6900      FOR RELEASE:  10:00 A.M. EST
Media information:             202-691-5902      Tuesday, November 25, 2008

                             CONSUMER EXPENDITURES IN 2007

       Average annual expenditures per consumer unit, which is similar to a 
household, rose 2.6 percent in 2007 following an increase of 4.3 percent in 2006, 
according to results from the Consumer Expenditure Survey released by the Bureau 
of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Spending kept pace with 
inflation in 2007 as the increase in expenditures from 2006 to 2007 was close to 
the 2.8 percent rise in the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) over 
this period.

       Moderate increases in spending on housing (3.4 percent), transportation 
(2.9 percent), and food (0.4 percent), the three largest components of spending, 
contributed to the small overall increase in 2007. Among the other major 
components, spending increased for personal insurance and pensions (1.3 percent), 
health care (3.1 percent), entertainment (13.6 percent), and apparel and 
services (0.4 percent).

Average annual expenditures and characteristics of all consumer units and 
percent changes, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2005-2007
                                                          Percent change
Item                         2005     2006     2007    2005-2006  2006-2007
Number of consumer
 units (000’s)            117,356  118,843  120,171

Income before taxes       $58,712  $60,533  $63,091

Average age of
 reference person            48.6     48.7     48.8

Average number in
 consumer unit:
  Persons                     2.5      2.5      2.5
  Earners                     1.3      1.3      1.3
  Vehicles                    2.0      1.9      1.9
Percent homeowner              67       67       67

Average annual
 expenditures             $46,409  $48,398  $49,638       4.3        2.6
  Food                      5,931    6,111    6,133       3.0        0.4
    At home                 3,297    3,417    3,465       3.6        1.4
    Away from home          2,634    2,694    2,668       2.3       -1.0
  Housing                  15,167   16,366   16,920       7.9        3.4
  Apparel and services      1,886    1,874    1,881      -0.6        0.4
  Transportation            8,344    8,508    8,758       2.0        2.9
  Health care               2,664    2,766    2,853       3.8        3.1
  Entertainment             2,388    2,376    2,698      -0.5       13.6
  Personal insurance
   and pensions             5,204    5,270    5,336       1.3        1.3
  Other expenditures        4,823    5,129    5,060       6.3       -1.3

        Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) data include the expenditures and income 
of consumers, as well as the demographic characteristics of those consumers. 
Tables with more expenditure detail than is shown in this news release will be 
available November 26, 2008 by accessing the BLS website ( 
Tables show 2007 CE data by standard classifications that include income quintile, 
income class, age of reference person, size of consumer unit, number of earners, 
composition of consumer unit, region of residence, housing tenure, type of area 
(urban-rural), race, Hispanic origin, occupation, and education. Other tables 
available on the website include expenditures by age, region, size, or gender 
cross-tabulated by income before taxes and other demographic variables. 
Historical tables back to 1984 and tabulations for selected metropolitan areas 
are also available.

       In 2007 there were a number of revisions to the survey questionnaires to 
capture new products and services that are available to consumers. This was the 
latest in a series of periodic revisions to keep the surveys current with changes 
in the marketplace. Also for 2007, a number of expenditure items changed survey 
source from the Interview Survey to the Diary Survey or vice versa. Due to the 
overlap in the item coverage between the two surveys, the survey source is 
periodically reviewed and statistical methods are used to select the best source.  

Other available data

       A forthcoming annual report will include a brief discussion of expenditure 
changes in 2007 and tables with data classified by the standard characteristics 
listed above. Detailed reports that include CE data are published at two-year 
intervals and include the standard tabulations and cross-tabulations at the same 
level of expenditure detail as shown on the website. Metropolitan area tables 
are also included. All data published in the reports and posted to the website 
are integrated from the two CE components—-the quarterly Interview Survey and 
weekly Diary Survey.

       Other survey information available on the Internet includes answers to 
frequently asked questions, a glossary, order forms for survey products, and 
analytical articles that use CE data. Beginning with the 2000 data, standard 
error tables for integrated data are available on the BLS site. Also available 
are the Diary Survey questionnaire form and a modified version of the computer 
assisted personal interview (CAPI) instrument used to collect the Interview 
Survey data.

       The 2007 Diary and Interview microdata will soon be available on CD-ROM. 
The Interview files contain expenditure data in two different formats: MTAB 
files that present monthly values in an item-coding framework based on the CPI 
pricing scheme, and EXPN files that organize expenditures by the section of the 
Interview questionnaire in which they are collected. Expenditure values on EXPN 
files cover different time periods depending on the specific questions asked, 
and the files also contain relevant non-expenditure information not found on 
the MTAB files. The CE microdata files are available on CD-ROM back to 1990 and 
for selected earlier years. In addition to the standard ASCII and PC SAS formats 
offered the past several years, three new formats will be offered for 2007—STATA, 
SPSS, and ASCII comma-delimited. CD purchasers will need to specify which format 
they want. (See for details.)

       For further information, contact the Division of Consumer Expenditure 
Surveys, Office of Prices and Living Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 
2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, DC  20212-0001 or call 202-691-6900. 
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired 
individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral 
phone number: 1-800-877-8339.

Last Modified Date: November 25, 2008