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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, May 23, 2014     USDL-14-0874

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

                  THROUGH JUNE 2013 AVERAGE

Average expenditures per consumer unit (1)  for July 2012 through June
2013 were 1.5 percent higher than the July 2011 through June 2012 midyear
average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 

Most major components of household spending increased over the 12 months
ending June 2013. The 6.6-percent rise in cash contributions (including
payments for support of college students, alimony and child support, and
giving to charities and religious organizations) was the largest
percentage increase among all major components. This was followed by a
5.8-percent increase in transportation spending.  Average incomes were
essentially unchanged, showing a slight drop of 0.2 percent.

Table A. Average expenditures and characteristics of all consumer units
and percent changes, Consumer Expenditure Survey
                                                        Percent change
                        July 2011-      July 2012-   July 2011- June 2012
Item                    June 2012       June 2013-            to
                         Average         Average     July 2012- June 2013
Income before taxes     $65,132         $65,029                 -0.2
Average annual           50,631          51,408                  1.5
  Food                    6,532           6,598                  1.0
    Food at home          3,905           3,899                 -0.2
    Food away from home   2,628           2,698                  2.7
  Housing                16,940          17,041                  0.6
  Apparel and services    1,730           1,706                 -1.4
  Transportation          8,505           8,999                  5.8
  Health care             3,466           3,520                  1.6
  Entertainment           2,573           2,586                  0.5
  Cash contributions      1,829           1,949                  6.6
  Personal insurance and  5,565           5,573                  0.1
  All other expenditures  3,489           3,437                 -1.5

Spending by selected demographics

Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) data measure how consumers allocate their
spending among the various components of total expenditures. For example,
table B compares the share allocated to selected expenditures by income
quintiles. The lowest income quintile allocated larger shares to food and
housing than the other quintiles. The highest income group 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 health care among the income quintile groups.

Table B. Shares of average expenditures on selected major components by
income quintiles, July 2012 through June 2013
                                      Income Quintiles
                  Lowest      Second      Third       Fourth      Highest
Item               20th        20th        20th        20th        20th
                percentile  percentile  percentile  percentile  percentile
Food               16.0        14.2        13.7        12.7        11.4
Housing            39.6        36.7        34.3        32.2        30.6
Transportation     16.1        17.2        18.8        18.7        16.7
Health care         7.5         8.7         7.7         7.0         5.6
Personal insurance  2.1         5.0         8.5        11.4        15.4
 & pensions

Spending patterns, July 2012 – June 2013 compared to July 2011 – June 2012

Table C shows amounts spent for selected expenditure components from the
middle of 2011 through June 2013. Spending results included:

•       Cash contributions, which include payments for support of college
        students, alimony and child support, and giving to charities and
        religious organizations, continued to increase. 
•       The 5.8 percent increase in transportation expenditures was driven
        by vehicle purchases.  Spending on used cars and trucks increased
        19.7 percent and new cars and trucks increased 6.4 percent. 
•       Expenditures on gasoline and motor oil were unchanged during the
        same period.
•       Health care spending rose to $3,520 for July 2012 through June
        2013. This was caused by a 4.0 percent increase in health
        insurance expenditures. The level of spending for health care has
        increased every year beginning in 1996.
•       Mortgage interest and charges for owned homes, a subcomponent of
        housing, fell to $3,075 for July 2012 through June 2013.

Table C. Average consumer expenditures for selected components
                                                        Percent change
                        July 2011-      July 2012-   July 2011- June 2012
Item                    June 2012       June 2013-            to
                         Average         Average     July 2012- June 2013
Cash contributions        $1,829          $1,949             6.6
Transportation             8,505           8,999             5.8
  New cars and trucks      1,448           1,540             6.4
  Used cars and trucks     1,327           1,588            19.7
  Gasoline and motor oil   2,706           2,706             0.0
Health care                3,466           3,520             1.6
Mortgage interest          3,153           3,075            -2.5

Table D shows expenditures and income before taxes by quintile from the
middle of 2011 through June 2013.  All quintiles showed small increases in
spending across the 12 months ending June 2013.  There was no obvious trend
in income changes by quintile.

Table D. Percent change in average annual expenditures and income before
taxes by income quintile
                 Average annual expenditures       Income before taxes
                July 2011- July 2012- Percent July 2011- July 2012- Percent
Income quintile June 2012  June 2013  change  June 2012  June 2013  change
Lowest 20th       22,067     22,336     1.2      9,455     10,174     7.6
Second 20th       32,299     33,075     2.4     27,518     27,094    -1.5
Third 20th        42,666     42,728     0.1     46,823     47,017     0.4
Fourth 20th       58,688     59,155     0.8     74,781     75,990     1.6
Highest 20th      97,382     99,651     2.3    167,012    164,647    -1.4

Consumer Expenditure Survey data include the expenditures and income of
consumers, as well as the demographic characteristics of those consumers.
Tables with more expenditure detail than provided in this release are
available at Newly published tables provide July 2012
through June 2013 average 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 highest education level of any member. The midyear tables
add spending information from January through June 2013 while dropping the
January through June 2012 expenditures.

Other available data

Data tables with more detailed subcategories of expenditures are available
by sending a request to 

The 2012 Annual Report includes a brief discussion of expenditure changes
in 2012 and tables with data classified by the standard characteristics
that are included on the website (see Future
articles in the BLS Beyond the Numbers web report series will highlight
recent trends in prices and spending in the U.S. economy, and will feature
CE data. Recent CE-specific articles provide analyses of topical economic
issues and long term spending trends, as well as comparisons of CE data to
other data series (see and Additional methodological and analytical
articles using CE data will be published in 2014. 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. 

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. 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
The 2004 through 2012 CE public-use microdata, including Interview Survey
data, Diary Survey data, and paradata (information about the survey
process), are available on the CE website for free electronic download. The
Interview files contain expenditure data in two different formats: MTBI
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 MTBI files. Prior releases will be posted
incrementally online in reverse chronological order through the 1996 release.
For releases prior to 1996 and those not yet available online for download,
users can continue to purchase USB flash drives using the public-use
microdata order form (see All future releases
of public-use microdata will solely be available online for free electronic

Annual public-use microdata covering an entire calendar year will continue
to be released in September, and will not be released on a rolling half-year

The annual CE Microdata Users' Workshop and Survey Methods Symposium will be
held July 15-18, 2014 at the Bureau of Labor Statistics national office.
Registration is free. More information and the registration form are
available at

For further information, contact the Division of Consumer Expenditure Survey,
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.

Last Modified Date: May 23, 2014