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September 1999

Tracking changes in consumers’ spending habits

Walter Vanderheide

Since the mid-1930s, the U.S. economy has been affected by wars, depressions, booms, technology advances, changes in the labor force, and changes in population demographics. These factors, as well as changes in consumer tastes and preferences, influence spending. For the last 60 years, the Consumer Expenditure Survey has tracked changes in consumption patterns of American consumer units.

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