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March 1990

How family spending has changed in the U.S.

Eva Jacobs, Stephanie Shipp

Since the Monthly Labor Review began, the proportion of family expenditures allocated for food has dropped by half, the incidence of homeownership has doubled, and spending for transportation, medical care, and recreation has increased significantly. This article examines the changing consumption and income patterns of the American family that resulted from these movements as well as from changes in tastes and preferences and technological and cultural developments.

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