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Economic News Release
CE CES Program Links

Consumer Expenditures Survey Midyear Update News Release

For release: 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Wednesday, April 19, 2017     USDL-17-0443

Technical Information:  (202) 691-6900 • •
Media Contact:          (202) 691-5902 •

                  THROUGH JUNE 2016 AVERAGE

Average expenditures per consumer unit(1) for July 2015 through June 2016 
were up 2.3 percent compared with the July 2014 through June 2015 midyear 
average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Average 
incomes also increased, up 6.3 percent.

Most major components of household spending increased over the 12 months 
ending June 2016. (See table A.) The 8.3-percent rise in personal insurance 
and pensions spending was the largest percentage increase among all major 
components, followed by a 4.5-percent rise in both food and entertainment. 

Table A. Average expenditures and income of all consumer units
                                                           Percent change      
                             July 2014-    July 2015-   July 2014 - June 2015
Item                         June 2015-    June 2016-            to
                              Average       Average     July 2015 - June 2016
---------------------------------------    ----------   ---------------------
Income before taxes           $68,662       $72,990              6.3
Average annual expenditures    54,992        56,258              2.3
  Food                          6,887         7,196              4.5
   Food at home                 3,983         4,101              3.0
   Food away from home          2,904         3,095              6.6
  Housing                      18,128        18,495              2.0
  Apparel and services          1,885         1,794             -4.8
  Transportation                9,315         9,225             -1.0
   Gasoline                     2,094         1,932             -7.7 
   Vehicle insurance            1,041         1,180             13.4
  Healthcare                    4,379         4,470              2.1
  Entertainment                 2,782         2,908              4.5
  Cash contributions            1,761         1,813              3.0
  Personal insurance and        6,048         6,553              8.3
   Pensions and Social          5,733         6,221              8.5
  All other expenditures        3,807         3,804             -0.1
Note: Subcategories do not sum to 100%.

Spending patterns, July 2015 – June 2016 compared with July 2014 – June 2015

•       Spending for food increased 4.5 percent. The increase was driven by 
        food away from home which increased 6.6 percent while food at home 
        increased 3.0 percent.   

•       Healthcare spending rose 2.1 percent to $4,470 for July 2015 through 
        June 2016. The level of spending for healthcare has increased every year 
        annually from 1996 through 2015. The most recent increase was driven by 
        a 3.8-percent increase in average household health insurance 
•       Apparel and services spending decreased 4.8 percent to $1,794, after 
        rising 12.6 percent during the previous midyear period. Decreases were 
        seen across all components of this category with the exception of boys, 
        2 to 15, and other apparel products and services. 

•	Transportation expenditures edged down 1.0 percent to $9,225. Within 
        transportation, two underlying components moved in opposite directions:  
        vehicle insurance up 13.4 percent and gasoline down 7.7 percent.

•	Entertainment spending increased 4.5 percent after rising 8.7 percent 
        the previous midyear period.

•	Personal insurance and pensions expenditures continued an upward trend 
        and increased 8.3 percent following a 9.0 percent increase during the 
        previous midyear period. The 8.5 percent increase in pensions and Social 
        Security continued to fuel the overall growth in the category.


Spending by selected demographics

Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) data measure how consumers allocate their 
spending among the various components of total expenditures. Table B compares 
the share allocated to selected expenditures by income quintiles. The lowest 
income quintile allocated larger shares to food and housing than all other 
quintiles. The highest income quintile allocated a larger share to personal 
insurance and pensions (including payments for life insurance, other nonhealth 
insurance, pensions, and Social Security) than any other group. No clear 
pattern existed for the shares allocated to transportation and healthcare 
among the income quintile groups. 

Table B. Shares of average expenditures on selected major components by
income quintiles, July 2015 through June 2016
                                      Income quintiles
                  Lowest      Second      Third       Fourth      Highest
Item               20th        20th        20th        20th        20th
                  percent    percent     percent     percent      percent
Food               15.2        14.4        13.0        13.4        11.3
Housing            40.7        37.3        34.2        32.2        29.6
Transportation     14.6        16.0        18.8        16.7        15.7
Healthcare          8.4         9.7         8.8         8.4         6.6
Personal insurance  2.5         4.9         8.7        12.2        16.6
 & pensions

Table C shows average expenditures and income before taxes by quintile from 
July 2014 through June 2016. All quintiles showed increases in income before 
taxes across the 12 months ending June 2016. Only the lowest quintile showed 
a decrease in expenditures. 

Table C. Percent change in average annual expenditures and income before
taxes by income quintile   
                    Average annual expenditures            Income before taxes    
                 July 2014-   July 2015-     Percent    July 2014-  July 2015-    Percent
Income quintile  June 2015    June 2016      change     June 2015   June 2016      change
----------------------------  ----------     --------   ----------  ----------    -------
Lowest 20th       $24,455      $24,020        -1.8       $10,666     $11,056         3.7
Second 20th        34,645       35,240         1.7        27,711      28,660         3.4
Third 20th         45,546       46,864         2.9        48,661      50,105         3.0
Fourth 20th        62,912       63,424         0.8        79,773      82,561         3.5
Highest 20th      107,424      111,526         3.8       176,583     192,051         8.8

Other available data

Standard CE midyear tables can be found at 
Data tables with the most detailed subcategories of expenditures can be 
obtained by sending a request to

The 1996 through 2015 CE public-use microdata, including Interview Survey 
data, Diary Survey data, and paradata (information about the data 
collection process), are available on the CE website for free electronic 
download at The Interview Survey files 
contain expenditure data in two different formats: MTBI files that present 
monthly values in an item-coding framework based on the Consumer Price 
Index (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 MTBI files. For releases prior 
to 1996, users can continue to purchase USB flash drives using the 
public-use microdata order form at 

The 2015 Annual Report, “Consumer Expenditures in 2015,” includes a brief 
discussion of expenditure changes in 2015 and tables with data classified 
by the standard characteristics that are included on the website. Recent 
CE-specific articles in the BLS Beyond the Numbers web report series 
provide analyses of topical economic issues and long term spending trends, 
as well as comparisons of CE data to other data series at and 
Additional methodological and analytical articles using CE data will be 
published in 2017. All data published in the Annual Report and posted to 
the website are integrated from the two CE components—the quarterly 
Interview Survey and weekly Diary Survey.

The 2016 annual news release, data tables, and public-use microdata are 
planned for release at the end of August 2017. Public-use microdata are 
released on an annual basis.

Also available are the Diary Survey questionnaire and a modified version 
of the computer assisted personal interview (CAPI) instrument used to 
collect the Interview Survey data at

Information on the methodology used to calculate and collect CE data is 
available at General articles and 
research papers using CE data are in the CE research library at

The annual CE Microdata Users' Workshop and Survey Methods Symposium 
will be held July 18-21, 2017, at the BLS national office. Registration 
is free. More information and the registration form are available at

For further information, contact the Division of Consumer Expenditure 
Surveys, Office of Prices and Living Conditions at (202) 691-6900 or by 
email at Information in this release will be made 
available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 
(202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1 (800) 877-8339.

1 Consumer units include 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 expenses.

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Last Modified Date: April 19, 2017

Last Modified Date: April 19, 2017