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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), Friday, April 26, 2019							USDL-19-0698

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


Average expenditures per consumer unit(1) for July 2017 through June 2018 were up 4.0 percent compared with the July 
2016 through June 2017 midyear average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, 
the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) rose 2.3 percent, and average pretax incomes increased 4.3 percent.

Table A. Average expenditures and income of all consumer units
                                                           Percent change      
                             July 2016-    July 2017-   July 2016 - June 2017
Item                         June 2017     June 2018            to
                              Average       Average     July 2017 - June 2018
---------------------------------------    ----------   ---------------------
Income before taxes            $73,207      $76,335              4.3
Average annual expenditures     58,460       60,815              4.0
  Food                           7,407        7,869              6.2
   Food at home                  4,121        4,445              7.9
   Food away from home           3,286        3,424              4.2
  Housing                       19,325       20,001              3.5
  Apparel and services           1,771        1,850              4.5
  Transportation                 9,252        9,735              5.2
  Healthcare                     4,710        4,924              4.5
  Entertainment                  2,941        3,379             14.9
  Education			 1,372        1,505	    	 9.7
  Cash contributions             2,088        1,840            -11.9
  Personal insurance and         6,938        6,904             -0.5
   Pensions and Social           6,554        6,474             -1.2
  All other expenditures         2,655        2,808              5.8
Note: Subcategories may not sum to their respective major item category.

Most major components of household spending increased over the 12 months ending June 2018. The 14.9-percent rise in 
entertainment spending was the largest percentage increase among all major components, followed by a 9.7-percent 
rise in education expenditures. (See table A.)

Spending patterns, July 2017-June 2018 compared with July 2016-June 2017
      --Entertainment spending increased 14.9 percent. This was primarily due to an increase in other entertainment 
        supplies, equipment, and services.

      --Cash contributions decreased 11.9 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 decrease.

      --Education spending increased 9.7 percent. This was due to expenditure increases for elementary and high 
	school tuition and for finance, late, and interest charges on student loans.

      --Spending on food increased 6.2 percent. The increase was driven by food at home which increased 7.9 percent, 
	while food away from home rose 4.2 percent.

      --Healthcare spending rose 4.5 percent to $4,924 for July 2017 through June 2018. Annual (calendar year) 
	spending for healthcare has increased every year from 1996 through 2017. The most recent midyear increase was 
	driven by a 6.3-percent increase in health insurance expenditures.

      --Apparel and services spending increased 4.5 percent to $1,850, after decreasing 1.3 percent during the 
	previous midyear period.
      --Transportation expenditures increased 5.2 percent to $9,735. Within transportation, public transportation 
	spending was up 18.5 percent and vehicle purchases (net outlay) was up 10.7 percent. Expenditures for 
	gasoline and motor oil increased by 6.3 percent over the period.

Spending by selected demographics

Data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) measure how consumers allocate their spending among the various 
components of total expenditures. 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. (See table B.)

Table B. Shares of average expenditures on selected major components by
income quintiles, July 2017 through June 2018
                                      Income quintiles
                  Lowest      Second      Third       Fourth      Highest
Item               20th        20th        20th        20th        20th
                  percent    percent     percent     percent      percent
Food               15.2        14.7        13.7        13.6        11.1
Housing            39.9        35.1        34.8        32.6        29.9
Transportation     13.5        16.8        17.3        16.1        15.7
Healthcare          9.3        10.0         8.9         8.6         6.6
Personal insurance  2.5         5.3         8.7        11.9        16.1
 & pensions

Table C shows average expenditures and income before taxes by quintile from July 2017 through June 2018. The 
lowest 20 percent showed a decrease in both total average household expenditures and average household income 
before taxes across the 12 months ending June 2018. All the other quintiles showed an increase in both total 
average household expenditures and average household income before taxes.

Table C. Average annual expenditures and income before taxes by income quintile, 
July 2017-June 2018 compared with July 2016-June 2017   
                    Average annual expenditures            Income before taxes    
                 July 2016-   July 2017-     Percent    July 2016-  July 2017-    Percent
Income quintile  June 2017    June 2018      change     June 2017   June 2018      change
----------------------------  ----------     --------   ----------  ----------    -------
Lowest 20th        $26,144      $26,012       -0.5        $11,587     $11,335       -2.2
Second 20th         38,187       40,215        5.3         29,414      30,544        3.8
Third 20th          48,543       51,144        5.4         51,379      53,571        4.3
Fourth 20th         66,532       68,506        3.0         84,924      88,394        4.1
Highest 20th       112,845      118,277        4.8        188,676     198,045        5.0

Additional information

Standard CE midyear tables can be found at Data tables with the most detailed 
subcategories of expenditures sorted by demographics can be obtained by sending a request to The 
all consumer unit detailed annual tables are available at

The 1996 through 2017 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 2016-June 2017 (242.656) and the 12-month average CPI-U for all items 
from July 2017-June 2018 (248.126).

The 2017 Annual Report, Consumer Expenditures in 2017, includes a brief discussion of expenditure changes in 2017 and 
tables with data classified by the standard characteristics that are included on the website at 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 2019. All data tables 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 2018 annual news release, data tables, LABSTAT database, and public-use microdata are planned for release in 
September 2019. 

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 Survey Methods Symposium and Microdata Users' Workshop will be held July 16-19, 2019, at the BLS 
national office. Registration is free. More information and online registration 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 unrelated persons living together who pool their income to make 
   joint expenditure decisions.

Last Modified Date: April 26, 2019