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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), Tuesday, April 28, 2020							USDL-20-0716

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


Average expenditures per consumer unit(1) for July 2018 through June 2019 were up 2.7 percent compared with the July 
2017 through June 2018 midyear average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, 
the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) rose 2.1 percent and average pretax incomes increased 6.4 percent.

Data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) measure how consumers allocate their spending among the various 
components of total expenditures. According to the CE, most major components of household spending increased over 
the 12 months ending June 2019. (See table A.) The 6.9-percent rise in transportation spending was the largest 
percentage increase among all major components, followed by a 6.5-percent rise in personal insurance and pensions 
expenditures. However, the largest change over the period was a 7.1-percent drop in education spending.

Selected spending patterns, July 2018 – June 2019 compared with July 2017 – June 2018
      --Education spending decreased 7.1 percent. This was due to decreases in elementary and high school tuition 
      	and expenditures for finance, late, and interest charges on student loans.

      --Transportation expenditures increased 6.9 percent to $10,410. Within transportation, vehicle insurance 
      	spending had a large increase (64.3 percent) due to a change in survey source used for publication, from the 
      	Diary Survey to the Interview Survey(2). Average expenditures for public transportation were up 2.8-percent, 
      	and average household expenditures for gasoline and motor oil increased 2.6 percent over the period. 

      --Personal insurance and pensions spending increased 6.5 percent, compared to a decrease of 0.5 percent in the 
      	previous midyear period. This was due to a 15.7-percent increase in life and other personal insurance 
      	spending and a 5.9-percent increase in contributions to pensions and Social Security.

      --Cash contributions increased 5.8 percent. This category incorporates a wide array of giving and financial 
      	obligations such as 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. 
      	Other cash gifts accounted for much of the increase.

      --Healthcare spending rose 2.5 percent to $5,049 for July 2018 through June 2019. The largest changes in 
      	components of healthcare were a 6.8-percent increase in average medical services spending and a 1.7-percent 
      	increase in health insurance spending.

      --Spending on food increased 1.2 percent. This increase was driven by food at home which increased 2.0 
      	percent; food away from home only increased slightly, by 0.3 percent.
      --Apparel and services spending increased 0.5 percent to $1,859, after increasing 4.5 percent during the 
      	previous midyear period.

Spending by income quintile

Table B shows average expenditures and income before taxes by quintile from July 2018 through June 2019. 
Income quintile is defined based on the pretax income reported by the consumer unit. Consumer units are divided 
into five equal groups. In July 2018 through June 2019, the lower bounds for each quintile were $21,512 for the 
second quintile, $42,254 for the third quintile, $71,403 for the fourth quintile, and $119,553 for the highest 

The second income quintile showed a decrease in total average household expenditures (-1.2 percent) across the 12 
months ending June 2019, despite an increase in income before taxes (3.9 percent). All the other quintiles showed 
an increase in both total average household expenditures and income before taxes.

Overall, pretax income rose 6.4 percent over the 12 months ending June 2019. All income quintiles showed increases 
in pretax income. The first quintile increased the least: 0.2 percent. The highest quintile increased the most: 
8.2 percent. For the middle three quintiles, the increase was similar (3.9 to 4.3 percent).  

Table C compares the shares of total expenditures 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. Transportation allocations show 
little variations among the groups and households in higher income quintiles allocate less to healthcare.

Table A. Average income and expenditures of all consumer units
                                                           Percent change      
                             July 2017-    July 2018-   July 2017 - June 2018
Item                         June 2018     June 2019            to
                              Average       Average     July 2018 - June 2019
---------------------------------------    ----------   ---------------------
Income before taxes            $76,335      $81,220              6.4
Average annual expenditures     60,815       62,438              2.7
  Food                           7,869        7,967              1.2
   Food at home                  4,445        4,533              2.0
   Food away from home           3,424        3,434              0.3
  Housing                       20,001       20,506              2.5
  Apparel and services           1,850        1,859              0.5
  Transportation                 9,735       10,410              6.9
  Healthcare                     4,924        5,049              2.5
  Entertainment                  3,379        3,185             -5.7
  Education			 1,505        1,398	        -7.1
  Cash contributions             1,840        1,946            	 5.8
  Personal insurance and         6,904        7,354              6.5
   Life and other personal         429          497             15.7
   Pensions and Social           6,474        6,857              5.9
  All other expenditures         2,808        2,764             -1.6
Note: Subcategories may not sum to their respective major item category.

Table B. Average annual expenditures and income before taxes by income quintile, 
July 2018–June 2019 compared with July 2017–June 2018 
                    Average annual expenditures            Average income before taxes    
                 July 2017-   July 2018-     Percent    July 2017-  July 2018-    Percent
Income quintile  June 2018    June 2019      change     June 2018   June 2019      change
----------------------------  ----------     --------   ----------  ----------    -------
Lowest 20          $26,012      $27,680        6.4        $11,335     $11,358        0.2
Second 20           40,215       39,731       -1.2         30,544      31,721        3.9
Third 20            51,144       52,708        3.1         53,571      55,870        4.3
Fourth 20           68,506       69,819        1.9         88,394      92,224        4.3
Highest 20         118,277      122,052        3.2        198,045     214,373        8.2

Table C. Shares of average expenditures on selected major components by 
income quintiles, July 2018 through June 2019
                                      Income quintiles
                  Lowest      Second      Third       Fourth      Highest
Item                20          20          20          20          20
                  percent    percent     percent     percent      percent
Housing            40.3        36.6        34.4        32.1        29.7
Transportation     15.6        17.4        17.3        17.5        15.9
Food               15.6        14.5        13.5        12.6        11.3
Personal insurance  2.5         5.0         9.3        12.6        16.7
 and pensions
Healthcare          9.6         9.8         9.0         8.3         6.7
Apparel and 	    2.6         3.3         2.9         3.1         2.9

Additional information

Data Products

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 1980 through 2018 CE public-use microdata, including Interview Survey data, Diary Survey data, and 
paradata (information about the data collection process), are available 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 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. 

Documentation of the CE public-use microdata, its conventions, files, sample code, and methodology can be 
found at

The 2019 annual news release, data tables, LABSTAT database, and public-use microdata are planned for release 
in September 2020.


The Annual Report, at, summarizes major trends found in the annual calendar 
year tables. Each report discusses the trends and provides tables of average expenditures, income, and 
demographics. Other recent CE-specific articles are available in the Beyond the Numbers web report series at and the CE Data Comparisons section of 
The BLS Beyond the Numbers web report series provides analyses of topical economic issues and long term 
spending trends, and the data comparison articles examine CE data benchmarked to other sources. Additional 
methodological and analytical articles using CE data will be published in 2020. 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.

Survey Forms

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


The change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) cited in the text (2.1 percent) was calculated as the 
percentage change between the 12-month average CPI-U for all items from July 2017-June 2018 (248.126) and 
the 12-month average CPI-U for all items from July 2018-June 2019 (253.268).

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

Upcoming Events

The annual CE Survey Methods Symposium and Microdata Users' Workshop is scheduled for July 21-24, 2020, at 
the BLS national office. Registration is free. More information and online registration are available at  

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 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.
(2)For expenditures collected in both surveys, the CE program uses a 
   statistical method to select the source used in publication. For more 
   information, see


Last Modified Date: April 28, 2020