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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), Thursday, April 26, 2018     USDL-18-0636

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

                  THROUGH JUNE 2017 AVERAGE

Average expenditures per consumer unit1 for July 2016 through June 2017 were 
up 3.9 percent compared with the July 2015 through June 2016 midyear average, 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, 
the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) rose 1.9 percent and average pretax incomes 
increased 0.3 percent.

Table A. Average expenditures and income of all consumer units
                                                           Percent change      
                             July 2015-    July 2016-   July 2015 - June 2016
Item                         June 2016     June 2017            to
                              Average       Average     July 2016 - June 2017
---------------------------------------    ----------   ---------------------
Income before taxes           $72,990       $73,207              0.3
Average annual expenditures    56,258        58,460              3.9
  Food                          7,196         7,407              2.9
   Food at home                 4,101         4,121              0.5
   Food away from home          3,095         3,286              6.2
  Housing                      18,495        19,325              4.5
  Apparel and services          1,794         1,771             -1.3
  Transportation                9,225         9,252              0.3
  Healthcare                    4,470         4,710              5.4
  Entertainment                 2,908         2,941              1.1
  Education			1,241	      1,372	    	10.6
  Cash contributions            1,813         2,088             15.2
  Personal insurance and        6,553         6,938              5.9
   Pensions and Social          6,221         6,554              5.4
  All other expenditures        2,563         2,655              3.6
Note: Subcategories may not sum to their respective major item category.

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 major expenses/ who make joint expenditure 

Most major components of household spending increased over the 12 months ending 
June 2017. (See table A.) The 15.2-percent rise in cash contributions spending 
was the largest percentage increase among all major components, followed by a 
10.6-percent rise in education expenditures. 

Spending patterns, July 2016 – June 2017 compared with July 2015 – June 2016

•	Cash contributions increased 15.2 percent. The category incorporates a 
	wide array of giving and financial obligations including charitable 
	contributions, support for college students, child support, alimony, 
	and other gifts of cash and financial instruments to individuals and 
	organizations not part of the household. Contributions to charities 
	and other nonprofit organizations, excluding religious and educational, 
	accounted for much of this increase, rising significantly over this 

•	Education spending increased 10.6 percent. College tuition outlays 
	increased 15.8 percent, while expenditures for finance, late, and 
	interest charges on student loans decreased 8.0 percent.

•	Spending on food increased 2.9 percent. The increase was driven by food 
	away from home which increased 6.2 percent, while food at home rose 0.5 

•	Healthcare spending rose 5.4 percent to $4,710 for July 2016 through 
	June 2017. Annual (calendar year) spending for healthcare has increased 
	every year from 1996 through 2016. The most recent midyear increase was 
	driven by an 11.7-percent increase in average drug expenditures, a 
	10.8-percent increase in average medical services expenditures, and a 
	3.5-percent increase in average health insurance expenditures. 

•	Apparel and services spending decreased 1.3 percent to $1,771, after 
	decreasing 4.6 percent during the previous midyear period. A decline in 
	expenditures for watches and jewelry spurred the drop in apparel 

•	Transportation expenditures edged up 0.3 percent to $9,252. Within 
	transportation, the average expenditures for vehicle repairs and 
	maintenance was up 11.5 percent, an increase largely offset by a decline 
	in spending for new cars and trucks. Average household expenditures for 
	gasoline and motor oil were essentially unchanged over the period.

•	Personal insurance and pensions expenditures increased 5.9 percent, 
	following an 8.3-percent increase during the previous midyear period. The 
	5.4-percent increase in pensions and Social Security and the 15.7-percent 
	increase in life and other personal insurance accounted for the growth in 
	the category.


Spending by selected demographics

Data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) measure how consumers allocate 
their spending among the various components of total expenditures. Table B 
compares the shares 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 2016 through June 2017
                                      Income quintiles
                  Lowest      Second      Third       Fourth      Highest
Item               20th        20th        20th        20th        20th
                  percent    percent     percent     percent      percent
Food               15.7        13.5        13.6        12.7        11.3
Housing            40.6        36.3        34.2        32.1        30.3
Transportation     14.7        17.1        16.8        17.1        14.5
Healthcare          8.9         9.3         9.3         8.3         6.8
Personal insurance  2.7         5.8         9.0        12.9        16.7
 & pensions

Table C shows average expenditures and income before taxes by quintile from 
July 2016 through June 2017. Only the highest 20 percent showed a decrease in 
average household income before taxes across the 12 months ending June 2017. 
All the quintiles showed an increase in total average household expenditures.

Table C. Average annual expenditures and income before taxes by income quintile, 
July 2016 – June 2017 compared with July 2015 – June 2016   
                    Average annual expenditures            Income before taxes    
                 July 2015-   July 2016-     Percent    July 2015-  July 2016-    Percent
Income quintile  June 2016    June 2017      change     June 2016   June 2017      change
----------------------------  ----------     --------   ----------  ----------    -------
Lowest 20th       $24,020      $26,144         8.8       $11,056     $11,587         4.8
Second 20th        35,240       38,187         8.4        28,660      29,414         2.6
Third 20th         46,864       48,543         3.6        50,105      51,379         2.5
Fourth 20th        63,424       66,532         4.9        82,561      84,924         2.9
Highest 20th      111,526      112,845         1.2       192,051     188,676        -1.8

Additional information

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 2016 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 change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) cited in the text was 
calculated as the percentage change between the 12-month average CPI-U for 
all items from July 2015-June 2016 (238.251) and the 12-month average CPI-U 
for all items from July 2016-June 2017 (242.671).

The 2016 Annual Report, Consumer Expenditures in 2016, includes a brief 
discussion of expenditure changes in 2016 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 2018. 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 2017 annual news release, data tables, and public-use microdata are 
planned for release in September 2018. 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 17-20, 2018, 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.

Last Modified Date: April 26, 2018