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May 2020 Report

Consumer Expenditures in 2018

Consumer Expenditures in 2018 image

This Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) annual report presents integrated data from the 2018 Diary and Interview portions of the CE, including data tables. (For details about CE, see the technical notes.) The report's tables show average expenditures, income, and characteristics for consumer units classified by income before taxes by quintile, decile, and range; age of the reference person; size of the consumer unit; composition of the consumer unit; number of earners; housing tenure (homeowner or renter) and type of area (urban or rural); region of residence; occupation; highest education level of any consumer unit member; race; Hispanic or Latino origin; and generation of the reference person.1

This report highlights spending patterns for 2018 from the CE, including a brief discussion of expenditure changes for the year. According to annual nominal data from the CE, consumer spending increased 1.9 percent, from $60,060 per consumer unit in 2017 to $61,224 in 2018, compared with a 4.8-percent increase in 2017 from 2016. At the same time, the average consumer unit’s income before taxes increased by 6.9 percent, from $73,573 in 2017 to $78,635 in 2018, in contrast to the decline of 1.5 percent in 2017 from 2016.

In 2018, prices, as measured by the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U, U.S. city average, all items, base period 1982–1984 = 100), rose by 2.4 percent, compared with the 1.9-percent increase in spending.2 In 2017, prices, as measured by the CPI-U, increased by 2.1 percent, compared with the 4.8-percent increase in spending.

Developments in 2018

Compared with the previous year, spending increased in 2018 for 11 of the 14 major aggregated categories of expenditures tracked by the CE: food, alcoholic beverages, housing, apparel and services, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, personal care products and services, tobacco products and smoking supplies, cash contributions, and personal insurance and pensions. (See table A.) Expenditures on personal insurance and pensions experienced the largest increase at 7.8 percent. The largest decline in expenditures was 5.6 percent in education expenditures. Alcoholic beverages, and tobacco products and smoking supplies showed a 4.5-percent increase. Lower increases in expenditures on housing, apparel and services, and transportation ranged from 1 percent to 2 percent. Spending on healthcare, entertainment, personal care products, and cash contributions were each up less than 1 percent. Spending on reading and miscellaneous declined by 1.8 percent and 1.7 percent respectively.

 Table A. Average annual expenditures and characteristics of all consumer units, 2015–18
Item2015201620172018Percent change
2015–162016–172017–18

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

128,437129,549130,001131,439

Consumer unit characteristics:

Income before taxes

$69,627$74,664$73,573$78,6357.2-1.56.9

Age of reference person

50.550.950.951.1

Average number in consumer unit:

People

2.52.52.52.5

Children under 18

.6.6.6.6

Adults 65 and older

.4.4.4.4

Earners

1.31.31.31.3

Vehicles

1.91.91.91.9

Percent home owner

62626363

Average annual expenditures

$55,978$57,311$60,060$61,2242.44.81.9

Food

7,0237,2037,7297,9232.67.32.5

Food at home

4,0154,0494,3634,4640.87.82.3

Cereals and bakery products

5185245645691.27.60.9

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

896890944961-0.76.11.8

Dairy products

413410450449-0.79.8-0.2

Fruits and vegetables

7697838378581.86.92.5

Other food at home

1,4191,4421,5681,6271.68.73.8

Food away from home

3,0083,1543,3653,4594.96.72.8

Alcoholic beverages

515484558583-6.015.34.5

Housing

18,40918,88619,88420,0912.65.31.0

Shelter

10,74211,12811,89511,7473.66.9-1.2

Owned dwellings

6,2106,2956,9476,6781.410.4-3.9

Rented dwellings

3,8024,0354,1674,2496.13.32.0

Other lodging

7307987828219.3-2.05.0

Utilities, fuels, and public services

3,8853,8843,8364,0490.0-1.25.6

Household operations

1,3091,3841,4121,5225.72.07.8

Housekeeping supplies

6556607557470.814.4-1.1

Household furnishings and equipment

1,8181,8291,9872,0250.68.61.9

Apparel and services

1,8461,8031,8331,866-2.31.71.8

Transportation

9,5039,0499,5769,761-4.85.81.9

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,9973,6344,0543,975-9.111.6-1.9

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,0901,9091,9682,109-8.73.17.2

Other vehicle expenses

2,7562,8842,8422,8594.6-1.50.6

Public and other transportation

661623712818-5.714.314.9

Healthcare

4,3424,6124,9284,9686.26.90.8

Entertainment

2,8422,9133,2033,2262.510.00.7

Personal care products and services

6837077627683.57.80.8

Reading

1141181101083.5-6.8-1.8

Education

1,3151,3291,4911,4071.112.2-5.6

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

349337332347-3.4-1.54.5

Miscellaneous

8719591,01099310.15.3-1.7

Cash contributions

1,8192,0811,8731,88814.4-10.00.8

Personal insurance and pensions

6,3496,8316,7717,2967.6-0.97.8

Life and other personal insurance

333322418465-3.329.811.2

Pensions and Social Security

6,0166,5096,3536,8318.2-2.47.5

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys, September, 2019.

Expenditure shares

Expenditure shares are important in the short run to provide a snapshot of the typical allocation of family spending, and in the long run to reflect the changes in the economic standard of living. For example, smaller shares spent on food and other life necessities mean more is available to spend on entertainment, education, cash contributions, or other items that are not strictly necessary. Table B and chart 1 show expenditure shares, or the percent distribution of total annual expenditures by major expenditure categories, for all CUs from 2015–18. As in previous years, housing was the largest component of overall expenditures, accounting for 32.8 percent of total expenditures in 2018. Eight categories—housing, transportation, food, personal insurance and pensions, healthcare, entertainment, cash contributions, and apparel and services expenditures—accounted for 93.1 percent of total CU expenditures in 2018.

Seven out of 14 categories of spending shares were unchanged in 2018 from the past year’s levels: food, alcoholic beverages, entertainment, personal care products and services, reading, tobacco products and smoking supplies, and cash contributions. (See table B.) This is not surprising, because expenditure shares usually do not fluctuate much in the short term. In fact, the largest change was in personal insurance and pensions, with a 0.6-percentage point increase, to 11.9 percent, in 2018. Expenditure shares increased by 0.1 percentage point in both apparel and services and alcoholic beverages in 2018. Housing expenditure shares declined by 0.3 percentage points to 32.8 percent, mostly because of the decline in expenditures in the shelter subcategory. The education expenditure share declined by 0.2 percentage points to 2.3 percent, the same level they were in 2015 and 2016. The share of miscellaneous expenditures declined by 0.1 percentage point to 1.6 percent in 2018, compared with 2017.

Table B. Average annual expenditure shares and characteristics of all consumer units, 2015–18
Item2015201620172018

Average annual expenditures

100100100100

Food

12.512.612.912.9

Food at home

7.27.17.37.3

Food away from home

5.45.55.65.6

Alcoholic beverages

0.90.80.91.0

Housing

32.933.033.132.8

Shelter

19.219.419.819.2

Owned dwellings

11.111.011.610.9

Rented dwellings

6.87.06.96.9

Other lodging

1.31.41.31.3

Utilities, fuels, and public services

6.96.86.46.6

Household operations

2.32.42.42.5

Housekeeping supplies

1.21.21.31.2

Household furnishings and equipment

3.23.23.33.3

Apparel and services

3.33.13.13.0

Transportation

17.015.815.915.9

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

7.16.36.76.5

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

3.73.33.33.4

Other vehicle expenses

4.95.04.74.7

Public and other transportation

1.21.11.21.3

Healthcare

7.88.08.28.1

Entertainment

5.15.15.35.3

Personal care products and services

1.21.21.31.3

Reading

0.20.20.20.2

Education

2.32.32.52.3

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

0.60.60.60.6

Miscellaneous

1.61.71.71.6

Cash contributions

3.23.63.13.1

Personal insurance and pensions

11.311.911.311.9

Life and other personal insurance

0.60.60.70.8

Pensions and Social Security

10.711.410.611.2

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys, September 2019.

Expenditures on housing

Housing expenditures increased by 1.0 percent in 2018, compared with the 5.3-percent growth in 2017 (table A). Housing accounted for 32.8 percent of consumer unit expenditures in 2018, a 0.3-percentage point decline in expenditure share from the past year’s level (table B). The declining expenditures on owned dwellings for shelter was the major driver: after exhibiting a large increase of 10.4 percent in 2017, they declined by 3.9 percent in 2018 (table A). The homeownership rate in 2018 was unchanged from 2017 at 63 percent, which was still a lower ownership rate, compared with the rates for 2000–2013. (See chart 2.)

Expenditures on gasoline

Consumer units spent 7.4 percent more on gasoline of all types in 2018 than in 2017. While the percentage change in average gasoline expenditures and the percentage change in the CPI-U for gasoline have both been moving in the same direction for the last 10 years, the changes have differed in magnitude for certain years. The change in magnitude fluctuated more in 2015, when CPI-U gasoline declined by 27.2 percent and the spending on gasoline declined by 16.1 percent from the year earlier. The year-over-year changes in magnitude narrowed in 2016. After 2016, the changes in CPI-U gasoline surpassed the changes in gasoline expenditures. (See chart 3.) The CPI-U index of gasoline increased by 13.4 percent in 2018.

Expenditures by income quintiles

Average annual spending increased across all five income quintiles in 2018. Spending by consumer units in the lowest income quintile increased by 1.5 percent despite a 1-percent decline in income before taxes. For the other quintiles, both expenditures and incomes increased, with expenditures rising less than incomes. That is, for the middle quintiles (2, 3, and 4), incomes rose at the same rate of just under 5 percent, while for the highest quintile (5), incomes rose 9 percent. In comparison, expenditures for the third and fourth income quintiles increased 2.5 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. Expenditures for the second and highest income quintiles were 1.7 and 1.5 percent higher, respectively. Expenditures for all income quintiles have increased each year from 2013–18. (See chart 4 and table C.)

 

Transportation was the only major expenditure category on which all income quintiles spent more in 2018 than in 2017. The largest percentage declines in expenditures were recorded in the second income quintile’s personal insurance and pensions, followed by apparel and services expenditures in the lowest income quintile. Double-digit growth rates in expenditures occurred in entertainment for the second income quintile (16.6 percent), personal insurance and pensions for the third and highest income quintiles (14.1 percent and 10.2 percent), and apparel and services expenditures for the third income quintile (12.7 percent). Six categories of expenditures were combined into “all other expenditures” in table C: alcoholic beverages, personal care products and services, reading, education, tobacco products and smoking supplies, and miscellaneous expenses. Expenditures in this category declined for the lowest and the highest income quintiles in 2018 from their 2017 levels. (See table C.)

Table C. Dollar change and percentage change in average annual expenditures on major categories by income quintiles, 2017–18 
ItemLowestSecondThirdFourthHighest
DollarPercentDollarPercentDollarPercentDollarPercentDollarPercent
Income before taxes-109-1.014164.724694.741154.8168729.0

Average annual expenditures

3801.56681.712592.515272.317931.5

Food

390.91693.0-103-1.55966.82692.1

Food at home

1274.9-2-0.1431.11883.81502.2

Food away from home

-88-5.91718.4-146-4.840910.61201.9

Housing

1401.31981.43982.3-27-0.12670.8

Apparel and services

-129-14.7282.217112.7512.5471.3

Transportation

2216.31892.91041.21891.71971.1

Healthcare

-17-0.71082.8-5-0.11021.880.1

Entertainment

997.831016.6251.0240.7-357-5.2

Cash contributions

-17-2.6-83-7.0-158-10.7-16-0.83358.0

Personal insurance and pensions

619.4-367-15.261114.14034.9185910.2

All other

-17-0.81165.02167.02055.0-832-8.6

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys, September 2019.

Expenditures on food by income quintile and generation

Food expenditures increased for 4 of the 5 income quintiles in 2018, while spending declined by 1.5 percent for the third income quintile. Percentage increases ranged from 0.9 percent for the lowest income quintile to 6.8 percent for the fourth quintile, without showing any clear patterns across the quintiles. Expenditures on food at home increased for 4 of the 5 quintiles, with a small decline in expenditures for the second quintile. The lowest income quintile had the largest percentage increase in spending on food at home (table C).

Spending on food away from home increased in 3 of the 5 quintiles, while spending declined by 5.9 percent in the lowest income quintile and by 4.8 percent in the third income quintile. For the fourth income quintile, the largest percentage increase in expenditures was on food away from home at 10.6 percent (table C).

Spending patterns on food at home and away from home show notable generational differences. Based on the birth year, the consumer unit’s reference person in the CE data is categorized into a distinct generational group: Greatest generation (before 1928), Silent generation (1928–1945), Baby boomers (1946–1964), Generation X (1965–1980), and Millennial and post-Millennial generation (after 1980).3

Consumer units with younger reference persons showed a higher proportion of total food spending on food away from home, while consumer units with older reference persons had higher proportions on spending for food at home in 2018. (See chart 5.) The Millennials and post-Millennials devoted 47 percent of their total food spending on food away from home, compared with 35 percent for the Greatest generation. Some of the difference may be due directly to life-cycle effects. For example, the Baby Boomers are in the retirement age range and may have more time to prepare meals at home. Someone from the Silent generation may have an age-related health constraint that limits their access to restaurants. Nevertheless, other factors, such as income and family size, differ by generation and undoubtedly influence the allocation of the food budget as well. For further discussion of these differences, see Fun facts about Millennials: comparing expenditure patterns from the latest through the greatest generation and Consumer expenditures vary by age.

Notes

1 A consumer unit consists of either: (1) all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangements; (2) a person living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent; or (3) two or more persons living together who use their income to make joint expenditure decisions.

2 Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, available at: https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CUUR0000SA0

3 Please refer to this BLS link for more details: https://www.bls.gov/bls/exit_BLS.htm?url=http://www.people-press.org/2015/09/03/the-whys-and-hows-of-generations-research/. Further, as the oldest members of the Millennial generation are well into adulthood, a new classification of “post-Millennials,” also known as “Generation Z,” has appeared to describe those who were born after 1996. Details on this cohort are available at https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/.  The CE data in this report do not distinguish Millennials and post-Millennials.

Statistical Tables

Table 1. Quintiles of income before taxes: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Lowest 20 percent Second 20 percent Third 20 percent Fourth 20 percent Highest 20 percent

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 26,333 26,315 26,196 26,221 26,374

Lower limit

$21,293 $41,490 $70,367 $116,625

Consumer unit characteristics:

Income before taxes

$78,635 $11,285 $31,237 $54,900 $90,478 $204,975

Age of reference person

51.10 53.70 55.10 49.90 47.90 48.90

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 1.70 2.10 2.50 2.90 3.20

Children under 18

0.60 0.30 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.80

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.40 0.60 0.40 0.30 0.20

Earners

1.30 0.50 0.80 1.30 1.80 2.10

Vehicles

1.90 1.00 1.60 1.90 2.30 2.70

Percent homeowner

63 41 56 61 72 87

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $26,399 $39,968 $51,729 $69,131 $118,781

Food

7,923 4,109 5,840 6,958 9,353 13,348

Food at home

4,464 2,709 3,620 4,081 5,081 6,827

Cereals and bakery products

569 344 470 511 657 864

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 584 786 878 1,104 1,452

Dairy products

449 272 355 401 515 701

Fruits and vegetables

858 510 683 792 961 1,343

Other food at home

1,627 999 1,326 1,499 1,844 2,467

Food away from home

3,459 1,400 2,220 2,877 4,272 6,522

Alcoholic beverages

583 166 308 487 674 1,279

Housing

20,091 10,553 14,293 17,860 22,217 35,501

Shelter

11,747 6,355 8,212 10,270 13,069 20,814

Owned dwellings

6,678 2,097 3,353 4,750 7,623 15,544

Rented dwellings

4,249 4,070 4,505 4,964 4,632 3,080

Other lodging

821 188 354 555 814 2,190

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 2,415 3,404 3,955 4,633 5,836

Household operations

1,522 587 904 1,075 1,528 3,513

Housekeeping supplies

747 453 579 675 840 1,188

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 744 1,194 1,886 2,147 4,150

Apparel and services

1,866 749 1,280 1,519 2,103 3,680

Transportation

9,761 3,718 6,761 8,636 11,288 18,387

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 1,253 2,665 3,350 4,519 8,079

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 986 1,571 2,072 2,610 3,304

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 1,225 2,086 2,665 3,289 5,028

Public and other transportation

818 254 439 550 870 1,976

Healthcare

4,968 2,475 3,997 4,637 5,866 7,865

Entertainment

3,226 1,369 2,183 2,542 3,494 6,532

Personal care products and services

768 346 512 653 890 1,439

Reading

108 68 95 89 116 171

Education

1,407 766 411 730 1,194 3,926

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 306 354 399 399 275

Miscellaneous

993 424 772 944 1,064 1,759

Cash contributions

1,888 633 1,109 1,327 1,857 4,505

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 716 2,054 4,947 8,618 20,112

Life and other personal insurance

465 172 298 327 498 1,028

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 545 1,757 4,620 8,120 19,084

Note: Dash indicates that data are not applicable.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 2. Deciles of income before taxes: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Lowest 10 percent Second 10 percent Third 10 percent Fourth 10 percent Fifth 10 percent Sixth 10 percent Seventh 10 percent Eighth 10 percent Ninth 10 percent Highest 10 percent

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 13,169 13,164 13,156 13,159 13,117 13,079 13,124 13,097 13,207 13,167

Lower limit

$12,103 $21,293 $31,057 $41,490 $54,407 $70,367 $88,821 $116,626 $166,633

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $5,724 $16,848 $26,306 $36,167 $47,738 $62,083 $79,250 $101,729 $138,383 $271,773

Age of reference person

51.10 48.00 59.40 56.60 53.70 51.00 48.80 48.10 47.70 48.40 49.40

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 1.60 1.70 2.00 2.30 2.40 2.50 2.80 2.90 3.10 3.20

Children under 18

0.60 0.30 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.50 0.60 0.80 0.70 0.80 0.80

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.30 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.50 0.40 0.30 0.30 0.20 0.20

Earners

1.30 0.50 0.50 0.70 0.90 1.20 1.40 1.70 1.90 2.10 2.10

Vehicles

1.90 0.90 1.10 1.50 1.70 1.80 2.00 2.20 2.40 2.70 2.80

Percent homeowner

63 32 50 54 58 60 62 69 75 84 90

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $25,309 $27,488 $37,164 $42,771 $49,241 $54,223 $64,029 $74,236 $95,056 $142,554

Food

7,923 4,175 4,045 5,753 5,927 6,697 7,219 8,677 10,026 11,184 15,508

Food at home

4,464 2,673 2,746 3,656 3,584 3,875 4,287 4,906 5,255 5,992 7,659

Cereals and bakery products

569 334 355 474 467 476 547 640 673 769 958

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 586 581 788 784 849 906 1,035 1,172 1,244 1,659

Dairy products

449 247 297 351 359 374 429 511 520 634 769

Fruits and vegetables

858 484 537 694 671 733 851 937 985 1,181 1,503

Other food at home

1,627 1,022 975 1,348 1,303 1,444 1,554 1,782 1,905 2,164 2,770

Food away from home

3,459 1,502 1,299 2,097 2,343 2,822 2,931 3,770 4,771 5,192 7,849

Alcoholic beverages

583 208 125 296 320 443 531 524 823 840 1,716

Housing

20,091 9,875 11,233 13,807 14,779 17,122 18,600 20,963 23,473 28,381 42,640

Shelter

11,747 5,962 6,748 8,206 8,217 9,725 10,816 12,280 13,860 16,075 25,567

Owned dwellings

6,678 1,748 2,446 3,256 3,450 4,350 5,152 6,762 8,485 11,556 19,543

Rented dwellings

4,249 4,028 4,112 4,691 4,319 4,858 5,071 4,846 4,418 3,150 3,009

Other lodging

821 186 190 259 448 517 594 672 956 1,369 3,014

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 2,130 2,699 3,200 3,609 3,874 4,036 4,452 4,814 5,414 6,259

Household operations

1,522 501 673 804 1,003 1,025 1,125 1,434 1,622 2,377 4,652

Housekeeping supplies

747 489 417 528 631 746 604 802 878 1,026 1,351

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 793 695 1,068 1,320 1,753 2,019 1,994 2,299 3,489 4,812

Apparel and services

1,866 762 736 1,305 1,254 1,308 1,729 1,793 2,411 2,735 4,624

Transportation

9,761 3,483 3,953 6,169 7,352 7,891 9,385 10,324 12,254 16,427 20,352

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 1,195 1,310 2,329 3,001 2,944 3,757 3,981 5,058 7,647 8,513

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 967 1,005 1,396 1,746 1,968 2,177 2,439 2,781 3,240 3,369

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 1,032 1,417 1,997 2,176 2,515 2,814 3,195 3,384 4,338 5,719

Public and other transportation

818 288 220 447 430 464 637 710 1,031 1,203 2,751

Healthcare

4,968 1,919 3,030 3,678 4,316 4,491 4,783 5,465 6,267 6,944 8,789

Entertainment

3,226 1,369 1,368 1,535 2,830 2,679 2,405 3,503 3,485 5,309 7,758

Personal care products and services

768 334 358 459 564 634 673 893 886 1,189 1,690

Reading

108 65 71 106 84 93 85 117 115 144 198

Education

1,407 1,215 317 363 459 632 828 972 1,416 2,524 5,332

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 286 327 327 381 411 388 390 409 324 227

Miscellaneous

993 442 405 710 833 938 951 1,042 1,086 1,414 2,105

Cash contributions

1,888 490 775 1,112 1,107 1,253 1,402 1,762 1,952 3,011 6,004

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 687 746 1,543 2,566 4,650 5,245 7,604 9,634 14,630 25,612

Life and other personal insurance

465 129 214 258 337 328 327 435 560 718 1,339

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 558 531 1,285 2,228 4,322 4,918 7,169 9,074 13,911 24,273

Note: Dash indicates that data are not applicable.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 3. Income before taxes: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Less than $15,000 $15,000 to $29,999 $30,000 to $39,999 $40,000 to $49,999 $50,000 to $69,999 $70,000 to $99,999 $100,000 to $149,999 $150,000 to $199,999 $200,000 and more

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 17,156 20,575 13,022 10,683 17,003 19,074 17,243 8,118 8,566

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $7,604 $22,316 $34,729 $44,763 $59,313 $83,370 $120,778 $171,314 $320,317

Age of reference person

51.10 50.60 58.30 54.00 51.20 49.20 48.00 47.90 48.80 49.70

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 1.60 1.90 2.30 2.40 2.50 2.80 3.10 3.10 3.20

Children under 18

0.60 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.80 0.80 0.80

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.30 0.60 0.60 0.50 0.40 0.30 0.20 0.20 0.20

Earners

1.30 0.50 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.40 1.70 2.00 2.10 2.10

Vehicles

1.90 0.90 1.30 1.70 1.80 1.90 2.20 2.50 2.70 2.90

Percent homeowner

63 35 54 58 59 62 70 80 87 91

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $25,346 $32,386 $42,611 $46,850 $53,104 $65,814 $85,730 $108,909 $158,738

Food

7,923 4,130 4,628 6,077 6,286 7,168 8,753 10,854 13,195 16,392

Food at home

4,464 2,690 3,011 3,744 3,633 4,228 4,900 5,759 6,764 8,002

Cereals and bakery products

569 340 396 486 442 541 629 735 869 988

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 588 642 786 844 892 1,042 1,253 1,453 1,717

Dairy products

449 258 299 386 341 422 505 579 695 816

Fruits and vegetables

858 485 589 700 690 817 933 1,111 1,344 1,567

Other food at home

1,627 1,019 1,085 1,386 1,315 1,554 1,791 2,082 2,403 2,913

Food away from home

3,459 1,440 1,617 2,334 2,653 2,941 3,854 5,095 6,431 8,391

Alcoholic beverages

583 201 190 326 383 512 569 854 1,108 2,052

Housing

20,091 10,083 12,664 14,744 16,552 18,274 21,281 25,957 32,737 47,553

Shelter

11,747 6,089 7,584 8,229 9,485 10,538 12,460 14,959 18,687 29,025

Owned dwellings

6,678 1,891 2,908 3,480 4,137 4,952 7,050 10,097 13,678 22,430

Rented dwellings

4,249 4,010 4,446 4,312 4,846 5,015 4,693 3,783 3,003 3,018

Other lodging

821 187 230 437 502 571 717 1,079 2,006 3,577

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 2,205 3,005 3,599 3,808 4,002 4,539 5,107 5,684 6,553

Household operations

1,522 513 774 940 1,015 1,116 1,415 2,044 3,065 5,398

Housekeeping supplies

747 486 457 629 699 648 799 964 1,181 1,406

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 790 844 1,348 1,544 1,970 2,069 2,883 4,120 5,172

Apparel and services

1,866 753 933 1,265 1,307 1,514 2,009 2,579 3,570 5,169

Transportation

9,761 3,411 5,177 7,301 7,250 9,158 11,303 14,167 16,523 22,698

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 1,110 1,881 3,104 2,489 3,613 4,799 6,158 6,227 10,271

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 952 1,217 1,720 1,922 2,151 2,520 3,036 3,293 3,402

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 1,090 1,717 2,035 2,402 2,805 3,202 3,899 5,136 5,909

Public and other transportation

818 258 363 442 437 590 782 1,074 1,866 3,116

Healthcare

4,968 2,134 3,438 4,293 4,334 4,739 5,519 6,836 7,664 9,031

Entertainment

3,226 1,348 1,431 2,807 2,577 2,392 3,407 4,677 5,913 8,409

Personal care products and services

768 340 393 571 603 668 837 1,077 1,353 1,867

Reading

108 60 86 109 70 93 115 130 148 231

Education

1,407 1,011 343 478 631 731 979 2,087 3,315 6,251

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 306 328 359 408 391 401 350 289 216

Miscellaneous

993 398 584 771 1,069 930 983 1,188 1,867 2,338

Cash contributions

1,888 511 994 1,116 1,231 1,369 1,751 2,433 3,382 7,607

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 659 1,197 2,395 4,150 5,163 7,907 12,542 17,845 28,923

Life and other personal insurance

465 150 243 321 338 317 457 658 868 1,545

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 509 955 2,074 3,812 4,846 7,449 11,884 16,978 27,378

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 4. Age of reference person: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Under 25 years 25–34 years 35–44 years 45–54 years 55–64 years 65 years and older 65–74 years 75 years and older

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 7,588 21,298 22,000 23,050 24,480 33,023 19,315 13,707

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $32,268 $74,082 $96,581 $109,366 $88,342 $51,624 $60,735 $38,786

Age of reference person

51.10 21.30 29.80 39.50 49.60 59.40 74.40 69.20 81.70

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 1.90 2.70 3.40 2.90 2.20 1.80 1.90 1.60

Children under 18

0.60 0.30 0.90 1.40 0.70 0.20 0.10 0.10 (1)

Adults 65 and older

0.40 (1) (1) (1) 0.10 0.10 1.40 1.40 1.40

Earners

1.30 1.30 1.50 1.70 1.80 1.40 0.50 0.70 0.30

Vehicles

1.90 1.10 1.70 1.90 2.20 2.20 1.80 2.00 1.50

Percent homeowner

63 13 41 58 68 76 80 81 79

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $32,039 $56,457 $71,198 $75,387 $66,212 $50,860 $56,268 $43,181

Food

7,923 4,748 7,343 9,820 9,532 8,023 6,607 7,311 5,592

Food at home

4,464 2,412 3,893 5,425 5,135 4,755 4,009 4,265 3,639

Cereals and bakery products

569 307 473 697 668 583 532 553 501

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 495 828 1,205 1,101 1,053 830 880 758

Dairy products

449 245 385 560 514 454 419 447 378

Fruits and vegetables

858 459 769 997 979 918 790 828 735

Other food at home

1,627 906 1,438 1,966 1,873 1,746 1,438 1,556 1,268

Food away from home

3,459 2,336 3,450 4,395 4,397 3,268 2,598 3,046 1,953

Alcoholic beverages

583 271 633 725 656 629 446 573 263

Housing

20,091 11,410 19,627 23,732 23,566 20,907 16,940 18,007 15,427

Shelter

11,747 7,706 12,219 14,086 13,711 11,864 9,357 9,717 8,849

Owned dwellings

6,678 1,006 4,360 7,912 8,778 8,401 5,910 6,524 5,046

Rented dwellings

4,249 6,421 7,412 5,498 3,764 2,400 2,585 2,190 3,142

Other lodging

821 279 447 676 1,169 1,064 861 1,003 661

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 1,896 3,370 4,489 4,836 4,497 3,806 4,062 3,445

Household operations

1,522 490 1,681 2,227 1,545 1,268 1,361 1,342 1,387

Housekeeping supplies

747 324 523 845 927 810 759 820 670

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 994 1,833 2,085 2,547 2,468 1,657 2,065 1,075

Apparel and services

1,866 1,128 2,126 2,421 2,325 1,837 1,207 1,460 842

Transportation

9,761 5,526 10,307 11,840 11,521 10,444 7,270 8,810 5,098

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 2,085 4,852 5,128 4,167 4,344 2,667 3,486 1,513

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 1,416 2,149 2,592 2,651 2,243 1,442 1,741 1,021

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 1,565 2,571 3,286 3,601 2,993 2,450 2,765 2,005

Public and other transportation

818 460 734 835 1,102 865 711 819 559

Healthcare

4,968 1,206 3,072 4,317 5,138 5,743 6,802 6,711 6,930

Entertainment

3,226 1,409 2,547 3,572 3,952 3,755 2,958 3,801 1,763

Personal care products and services

768 475 676 877 951 787 682 759 571

Reading

108 35 66 107 100 101 165 177 148

Education

1,407 2,270 1,095 1,130 2,808 1,732 375 504 194

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 228 337 408 437 454 196 246 126

Miscellaneous

993 308 685 1,065 1,182 1,176 1,032 1,058 994

Cash contributions

1,888 353 828 1,681 2,221 2,164 2,625 2,755 2,440

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 2,671 7,115 9,503 10,998 8,460 3,556 4,097 2,794

Life and other personal insurance

465 41 198 442 605 653 512 552 455

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 2,630 6,917 9,061 10,393 7,807 3,044 3,545 2,339

[1] Value is too small to display

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 5. Size of consumer unit: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units One person Two or more people
Total Two people Three people Four people Five or more people

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 38,730 92,709 44,633 18,886 16,490 12,701

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $37,901 $95,652 $83,500 $97,858 $114,797 $110,218

Age of reference person

51.10 54.00 49.90 55.70 46.90 43.50 42.60

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 1.00 3.10 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.70

Children under 18

0.60 0.80 0.10 0.70 1.60 2.80

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.40 0.40 0.70 0.30 0.10 0.20

Earners

1.30 0.60 1.60 1.20 1.80 2.00 2.30

Vehicles

1.90 1.00 2.30 2.20 2.30 2.40 2.50

Percent homeowner

63 47 70 73 68 70 65

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $36,087 $71,623 $65,535 $72,696 $80,795 $79,693

Food

7,923 4,436 9,323 8,226 8,964 10,899 11,731

Food at home

4,464 2,421 5,282 4,583 5,057 6,128 7,048

Cereals and bakery products

569 295 679 554 639 816 1,013

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 478 1,154 983 1,114 1,363 1,559

Dairy products

449 254 527 461 518 601 684

Fruits and vegetables

858 457 1,018 906 968 1,176 1,287

Other food at home

1,627 937 1,904 1,678 1,818 2,172 2,505

Food away from home

3,459 2,015 4,041 3,643 3,906 4,771 4,683

Alcoholic beverages

583 395 658 804 511 577 463

Housing

20,091 13,797 22,708 20,640 23,217 25,550 25,606

Shelter

11,747 8,968 12,908 11,891 13,156 14,578 13,949

Owned dwellings

6,678 3,566 7,978 7,181 8,042 9,627 8,543

Rented dwellings

4,249 5,004 3,933 3,616 4,216 3,940 4,619

Other lodging

821 398 997 1,094 898 1,011 787

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 2,475 4,706 4,229 4,808 5,146 5,663

Household operations

1,522 799 1,824 1,326 2,169 2,747 1,861

Housekeeping supplies

747 515 840 772 835 818 1,146

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 1,040 2,429 2,422 2,248 2,262 2,986

Apparel and services

1,866 974 2,226 1,817 2,210 2,885 2,810

Transportation

9,761 4,892 11,789 10,175 13,121 13,507 13,271

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 1,669 4,938 4,076 6,223 5,639 5,145

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 1,084 2,537 2,118 2,582 2,979 3,369

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 1,672 3,349 3,028 3,452 3,811 3,738

Public and other transportation

818 467 965 954 863 1,078 1,019

Healthcare

4,968 2,977 5,799 6,162 5,515 5,538 5,286

Entertainment

3,226 1,822 3,805 3,897 3,519 3,793 3,969

Personal care products and services

768 490 882 835 850 1,014 923

Reading

108 94 114 127 92 114 98

Education

1,407 756 1,679 1,134 2,015 2,278 2,319

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 252 386 341 421 389 493

Miscellaneous

993 732 1,101 1,125 868 1,276 1,133

Cash contributions

1,888 1,290 2,137 2,539 1,717 1,651 1,981

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 3,181 9,014 7,713 9,676 11,322 9,609

Life and other personal insurance

465 224 566 552 513 675 548

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 2,957 8,449 7,160 9,163 10,647 9,061

Note: Dash indicates that data are not applicable.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 6. Composition of consumer unit: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Married couple consumer units One parent, at least one child under 18 Single person and other consumer units
Total Married couple only Married couple with children Other married couple consumer units
Total Oldest child under 6 Oldest child 6 to 17 Oldest child 18 or older

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 65,254 30,106 29,906 5,248 14,530 10,128 5,242 6,780 59,405

Consumer unit characteristics:

Income before taxes

$78,635 $109,223 $93,651 $124,937 $114,877 $123,289 $132,513 $109,009 $43,445 $49,052

Age of reference person

51.10 51.70 59.30 44.30 33.40 41.50 54.00 50.70 40.40 51.70

Average number in consumer unit:

People

2.50 3.10 2.00 4.00 3.50 4.20 3.90 4.90 2.90 1.70

Children under 18

0.60 0.80 a/ 1.60 1.50 2.20 0.60 1.40 1.70 0.20

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.50 0.80 0.10 (1) (1) 0.30 0.60 (1) 0.30

Earners

1.30 1.60 1.10 2.00 1.70 1.80 2.40 2.40 1.10 1.00

Vehicles

1.90 2.50 2.40 2.50 2.00 2.30 3.00 2.80 1.20 1.30

Percent homeowner

63 79 84 76 64 74 85 74 37 49

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $79,869 $72,945 $86,966 $80,447 $88,716 $87,780 $79,261 $47,945 $42,298

Food

7,923 10,345 9,064 11,498 9,502 12,013 11,752 11,191 6,733 5,418

Food at home

4,464 5,816 5,000 6,518 5,473 6,622 6,911 6,543 3,901 3,054

Cereals and bakery products

569 753 610 876 669 932 894 890 526 373

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 1,261 1,066 1,397 1,138 1,391 1,545 1,625 843 647

Dairy products

449 593 517 669 587 679 698 595 360 303

Fruits and vegetables

858 1,136 1,004 1,259 1,084 1,266 1,341 1,200 719 570

Other food at home

1,627 2,072 1,803 2,318 1,996 2,353 2,433 2,233 1,453 1,161

Food away from home

3,459 4,529 4,065 4,979 4,028 5,392 4,841 4,648 2,833 2,364

Alcoholic beverages

583 758 927 624 714 646 539 535 312 425

Housing

20,091 24,633 22,060 27,225 28,792 27,665 25,755 24,646 17,149 15,445

Shelter

11,747 13,855 12,463 15,353 15,572 15,998 14,316 13,298 10,141 9,616

Owned dwellings

6,678 9,559 8,543 10,691 9,898 10,892 10,814 8,927 3,600 3,865

Rented dwellings

4,249 3,064 2,498 3,524 5,008 3,961 2,127 3,695 6,152 5,332

Other lodging

821 1,232 1,421 1,138 666 1,145 1,374 675 390 419

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 4,981 4,526 5,321 4,064 5,285 6,023 5,654 3,785 3,055

Household operations

1,522 2,105 1,491 2,792 5,995 2,497 1,556 1,715 1,304 907

Housekeeping supplies

747 963 898 1,008 730 1,048 1,091 1,082 517 541

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 2,730 2,683 2,751 2,431 2,838 2,770 2,896 1,401 1,326

Apparel and services

1,866 2,396 1,950 2,816 2,779 2,877 2,752 2,582 1,892 1,284

Transportation

9,761 13,150 11,345 14,833 14,048 14,704 15,441 13,938 7,731 6,272

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 5,593 4,676 6,498 7,282 6,237 6,467 5,689 2,729 2,340

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 2,735 2,236 3,133 2,543 3,127 3,448 3,329 1,749 1,462

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 3,708 3,303 4,050 3,388 4,001 4,482 4,105 2,563 1,962

Public and other transportation

818 1,115 1,130 1,151 834 1,339 1,044 815 690 508

Healthcare

4,968 6,775 7,434 6,109 5,479 5,732 6,976 6,785 2,729 3,241

Entertainment

3,226 4,365 4,584 4,297 3,411 4,781 4,045 3,500 2,428 2,066

Personal care products and services

768 960 895 1,032 880 1,056 1,079 924 718 564

Reading

108 133 151 126 77 117 169 68 92 82

Education

1,407 1,964 1,251 2,693 651 2,894 3,458 1,903 1,225 816

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 319 274 319 193 325 377 580 286 384

Miscellaneous

993 1,200 1,219 1,195 827 1,223 1,358 1,114 781 790

Cash contributions

1,888 2,590 3,248 2,064 1,336 2,258 2,163 1,814 963 1,222

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 10,281 8,544 12,135 11,759 12,425 11,915 9,681 4,904 4,289

Life and other personal insurance

465 695 693 709 577 656 853 623 234 239

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 9,586 7,851 11,427 11,182 11,769 11,062 9,057 4,670 4,050

(1) Value is too small to display.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 7. Number of earners in consumer unit: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Single consumers Consumer units of two or more people
No earner One earner No earner One earner Two earners Three or more earners

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 16,156 22,573 13,625 25,674 41,662 11,748

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $20,385 $50,437 $36,263 $69,671 $119,476 $136,818

Age of reference person

51.10 68.10 43.90 67.40 50.30 44.40 48.60

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 1.00 1.00 2.30 3.00 3.00 4.40

Children under 18

0.60 0.30 1.00 0.90 1.00

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.70 0.10 1.40 0.40 0.10 0.20

Earners

1.30 1.00 1.00 2.00 3.30

Vehicles

1.90 0.90 1.10 2.00 1.90 2.30 3.00

Percent homeowner

63 56 41 80 63 70 76

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $28,370 $41,581 $52,537 $61,427 $79,340 $89,285

Food

7,923 3,676 4,968 7,513 8,058 10,118 11,730

Food at home

4,464 2,439 2,408 4,621 4,877 5,459 6,453

Cereals and bakery products

569 317 280 595 649 681 850

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 458 492 1,030 1,035 1,199 1,442

Dairy products

449 268 244 465 467 561 629

Fruits and vegetables

858 462 454 876 950 1,050 1,245

Other food at home

1,627 934 939 1,656 1,776 1,968 2,287

Food away from home

3,459 1,236 2,559 2,893 3,181 4,659 5,277

Alcoholic beverages

583 219 518 448 478 854 629

Housing

20,091 11,799 15,224 17,335 20,357 24,963 26,108

Shelter

11,747 7,251 10,197 9,137 11,407 14,478 14,997

Owned dwellings

6,678 3,213 3,818 5,717 6,239 9,166 10,186

Rented dwellings

4,249 3,729 5,917 2,493 4,307 4,241 3,693

Other lodging

821 309 462 927 860 1,071 1,118

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 2,475 2,474 4,027 4,384 4,774 5,957

Household operations

1,522 886 737 1,250 1,422 2,368 1,441

Housekeeping supplies

747 444 565 859 762 826 1,077

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 743 1,251 2,062 2,382 2,516 2,636

Apparel and services

1,866 687 1,175 1,280 1,929 2,465 3,227

Transportation

9,761 3,306 6,024 7,992 9,903 13,001 16,034

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 1,132 2,054 3,119 3,941 5,673 6,620

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 673 1,378 1,648 2,120 2,774 3,639

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 1,191 2,013 2,427 2,996 3,499 4,678

Public and other transportation

818 310 579 799 846 1,056 1,098

Healthcare

4,968 3,633 2,507 7,324 5,290 5,491 6,246

Entertainment

3,226 1,444 2,089 3,013 3,523 4,217 3,901

Personal care products and services

768 395 556 682 758 959 1,133

Reading

108 122 76 160 106 107 103

Education

1,407 320 1,068 637 1,205 1,914 3,089

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 221 274 304 377 373 552

Miscellaneous

993 714 745 1,099 1,013 1,107 1,299

Cash contributions

1,888 1,335 1,258 2,688 2,190 1,903 2,215

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 499 5,101 2,063 6,241 11,868 13,017

Life and other personal insurance

465 226 222 516 476 599 699

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 273 4,878 1,547 5,764 11,269 12,318

Note: Dash indicates that data are not available.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 8. Housing tenure and type of area: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Housing tenure Type of area
Homeowner Renter Urban Rural
Total Homeowner with mortgage Homeowner without mortgage Total Central City Other Urban

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 83,433 48,849 34,584 48,007 120,518 47,626 72,892 10,921

Consumer unit characteristics:

Income before taxes

$78,635 $95,893 $116,373 $66,967 $48,641 $80,778 $72,577 $86,136 $54,989

Age of reference person

51.10 55.70 50.10 63.70 43.10 50.70 47.90 52.50 55.90

Average number in consumer unit:

People

2.50 2.60 2.90 2.20 2.20 2.50 2.30 2.50 2.50

Children under 18

0.60 0.60 0.80 0.30 0.60 0.60 0.50 0.60 0.60

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.50 0.30 0.80 0.20 0.40 0.30 0.40 0.60

Earners

1.30 1.40 1.70 0.90 1.20 1.30 1.30 1.40 1.10

Vehicles

1.90 2.30 2.40 2.10 1.20 1.90 1.50 2.10 2.40

Percent homeowner

63 100 100 100 62 49 70 82

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $71,228 $81,718 $55,779 $43,857 $62,339 $57,525 $65,460 $49,065

Food

7,923 8,956 9,976 7,173 6,137 8,064 7,378 8,501 6,451

Food at home

4,464 5,061 5,522 4,242 3,432 4,502 3,932 4,865 4,066

Cereals and bakery products

569 649 703 552 432 573 493 624 533

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 1,085 1,197 884 746 969 832 1,057 871

Dairy products

449 512 552 442 340 451 395 486 432

Fruits and vegetables

858 974 1,056 827 656 877 793 930 658

Other food at home

1,627 1,841 2,013 1,536 1,257 1,632 1,418 1,769 1,572

Food away from home

3,459 3,894 4,454 2,931 2,706 3,561 3,446 3,636 2,385

Alcoholic beverages

583 687 778 528 403 612 611 612 280

Housing

20,091 21,954 26,144 15,981 16,855 20,780 19,582 21,555 12,512

Shelter

11,747 11,758 15,016 7,156 11,729 12,317 12,194 12,397 5,459

Owned dwellings

6,678 10,466 13,664 5,949 94 6,923 5,578 7,802 3,971

Rented dwellings

4,249 168 156 186 11,340 4,552 5,919 3,658 904

Other lodging

821 1,124 1,196 1,021 295 842 697 938 584

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 4,833 5,162 4,369 2,685 4,052 3,615 4,337 4,014

Household operations

1,522 1,926 2,217 1,514 820 1,574 1,403 1,685 957

Housekeeping supplies

747 910 955 830 466 757 623 843 643

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 2,527 2,794 2,113 1,155 2,080 1,747 2,292 1,439

Apparel and services

1,866 2,035 2,404 1,401 1,575 1,915 1,895 1,928 1,348

Transportation

9,761 11,538 13,448 8,804 6,675 9,751 8,827 10,352 9,871

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 4,806 5,891 3,272 2,531 3,934 3,729 4,069 4,421

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 2,440 2,755 1,995 1,533 2,092 1,741 2,322 2,287

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 3,319 3,748 2,679 2,061 2,873 2,459 3,140 2,709

Public and other transportation

818 973 1,053 858 550 851 898 821 455

Healthcare

4,968 6,305 6,221 6,431 2,645 4,944 4,242 5,403 5,234

Entertainment

3,226 4,023 4,439 3,381 1,842 3,203 2,759 3,491 3,473

Personal care products and services

768 874 956 744 585 787 749 811 563

Reading

108 131 120 152 69 110 112 109 85

Education

1,407 1,597 1,995 1,031 1,078 1,476 1,385 1,536 646

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 333 347 314 370 320 293 338 636

Miscellaneous

993 1,214 1,308 1,085 608 988 867 1,068 1,047

Cash contributions

1,888 2,491 2,188 2,919 840 1,859 1,774 1,914 2,205

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 9,090 11,395 5,835 4,176 7,530 7,051 7,842 4,712

Life and other personal insurance

465 625 690 534 186 467 385 520 445

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 8,465 10,705 5,302 3,990 7,063 6,666 7,322 4,267

Note: Dash indicates that data are not applicable.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 9. Region of residence: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Northeast Midwest South West

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 23,357 28,305 50,576 29,201

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $92,753 $73,695 $71,732 $84,088

Age of reference person

51.10 52.60 51.30 51.10 49.80

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 2.40 2.40 2.40 2.60

Children under 18

0.60 0.50 0.60 0.60 0.70

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40

Earners

1.30 1.30 1.30 1.20 1.40

Vehicles

1.90 1.60 2.10 1.90 2.00

Percent homeowner

63 61 67 66 58

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $66,076 $58,241 $56,667 $68,113

Food

7,923 8,401 7,511 7,351 8,913

Food at home

4,464 4,845 4,255 4,127 4,938

Cereals and bakery products

569 662 534 523 609

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 1,063 892 926 1,004

Dairy products

449 509 450 385 512

Fruits and vegetables

858 987 772 769 988

Other food at home

1,627 1,624 1,607 1,524 1,825

Food away from home

3,459 3,557 3,255 3,224 3,975

Alcoholic beverages

583 647 606 500 653

Housing

20,091 23,646 17,850 18,116 22,840

Shelter

11,747 14,531 9,935 10,058 14,204

Owned dwellings

6,678 8,510 6,206 5,822 7,152

Rented dwellings

4,249 5,020 2,965 3,513 6,151

Other lodging

821 1,001 764 723 901

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 4,258 3,936 4,069 3,955

Household operations

1,522 1,732 1,349 1,403 1,728

Housekeeping supplies

747 762 699 750 777

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 2,364 1,931 1,836 2,175

Apparel and services

1,866 2,137 1,872 1,664 1,998

Transportation

9,761 9,324 9,279 9,789 10,530

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 3,199 3,673 4,376 4,193

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 1,855 2,051 2,115 2,357

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 3,144 2,819 2,670 2,998

Public and other transportation

818 1,125 737 629 981

Healthcare

4,968 4,992 5,247 4,846 4,892

Entertainment

3,226 3,117 3,630 2,778 3,696

Personal care products and services

768 776 739 734 848

Reading

108 139 126 81 114

Education

1,407 2,103 1,189 1,176 1,462

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 345 416 355 267

Miscellaneous

993 1,086 926 926 1,099

Cash contributions

1,888 1,587 1,830 1,693 2,520

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 7,775 7,019 6,660 8,281

Life and other personal insurance

465 526 495 458 399

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 7,248 6,524 6,202 7,882

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 10. Occupation of reference person: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Self- employed workers Wage and salary earners Retired All other, including not reporting
Total wage and salary earners Managers and professionals Technical, sales and clerical workers Service workers Construction workers and mechanics Operators, fabricators and laborers

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 7,856 80,288 33,102 19,838 16,263 3,383 7,702 26,786 16,509

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $146,075 $91,571 $121,879 $75,281 $66,478 $71,352 $65,134 $42,643 $42,029

Age of reference person

51.10 51.10 44.20 44.50 43.10 44.90 43.60 44.70 73.80 47.90

Average number in consumer unit:

People

2.50 2.70 2.60 2.60 2.50 2.60 2.70 2.90 1.80 2.70

Children under 18

0.60 0.70 0.70 0.70 0.70 0.70 0.80 0.90 0.10 0.80

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.30 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.20 0.10 0.10 1.30 0.20

Earners

1.30 1.70 1.70 1.80 1.70 1.70 1.70 1.80 0.30 0.60

Vehicles

1.90 2.20 2.00 2.10 2.00 1.70 2.00 2.10 1.80 1.50

Percent homeowner

63 73 60 68 56 51 52 56 82 47

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $88,884 $65,834 $83,129 $56,671 $51,606 $54,386 $50,732 $49,441 $44,745

Food

7,923 9,877 8,460 10,176 7,618 7,320 7,631 6,270 6,489 6,723

Food at home

4,464 5,235 4,562 5,230 4,259 4,083 4,390 3,654 3,997 4,368

Cereals and bakery products

569 704 576 664 533 514 548 458 522 550

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 1,078 978 1,046 941 946 1,066 796 835 1,023

Dairy products

449 534 457 538 426 396 386 368 409 436

Fruits and vegetables

858 1,044 876 1,055 772 784 770 653 785 796

Other food at home

1,627 1,875 1,676 1,928 1,587 1,442 1,620 1,379 1,446 1,563

Food away from home

3,459 4,642 3,898 4,945 3,359 3,236 3,241 2,616 2,492 2,355

Alcoholic beverages

583 908 650 898 565 426 442 432 428 353

Housing

20,091 27,786 21,339 26,422 18,643 17,560 17,262 16,262 16,681 15,869

Shelter

11,747 16,345 12,712 15,958 11,034 10,449 9,873 9,102 9,097 9,171

Owned dwellings

6,678 10,487 7,106 9,861 5,573 5,030 4,737 4,645 5,775 4,245

Rented dwellings

4,249 4,246 4,809 4,873 4,846 4,952 4,802 4,142 2,446 4,450

Other lodging

821 1,612 796 1,224 616 468 333 316 876 476

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 5,011 4,144 4,492 3,915 3,837 3,815 4,032 3,824 3,490

Household operations

1,522 2,204 1,656 2,340 1,349 1,068 943 1,065 1,321 872

Housekeeping supplies

747 1,301 727 867 682 610 580 584 748 572

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 2,924 2,100 2,766 1,662 1,594 2,051 1,478 1,691 1,764

Apparel and services

1,866 2,615 2,106 2,569 1,804 1,998 1,527 1,438 1,145 1,524

Transportation

9,761 12,142 10,902 13,074 9,419 8,455 11,089 10,504 7,264 7,114

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 3,631 4,648 5,530 3,887 3,302 5,234 5,399 2,755 2,844

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 2,680 2,376 2,573 2,221 2,082 2,619 2,444 1,431 1,636

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 4,093 3,058 3,784 2,703 2,443 2,842 2,272 2,375 2,075

Public and other transportation

818 1,738 820 1,187 609 629 394 389 702 558

Healthcare

4,968 6,462 4,516 5,586 4,075 3,509 3,507 3,627 6,801 3,481

Entertainment

3,226 4,444 3,394 4,598 2,889 2,284 2,064 2,524 2,805 2,510

Personal care products and services

768 991 833 1,044 784 666 570 534 657 530

Reading

108 157 92 121 84 67 56 54 172 59

Education

1,407 2,833 1,653 2,519 1,109 1,073 973 851 473 1,048

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 295 363 269 382 390 625 546 212 508

Miscellaneous

993 1,430 970 1,248 786 826 733 666 1,099 727

Cash contributions

1,888 2,952 1,677 2,406 1,266 994 1,268 1,229 2,572 1,295

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 15,992 8,879 12,199 7,247 6,039 6,639 5,795 2,644 3,003

Life and other personal insurance

465 870 445 623 366 312 179 283 511 293

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 15,122 8,434 11,576 6,881 5,727 6,460 5,512 2,133 2,711

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 11. Highest education level of any member: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Less than college graduate College graduate
Total Less than high school graduate High school graduate High school graduate with some college Associate's degree Total Bachelor's degree Master's, professional, doctoral degree

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 74,123 8,214 24,789 26,769 14,351 57,316 33,374 23,942

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $51,387 $29,131 $41,259 $57,933 $69,407 $113,874 $96,641 $137,896

Age of reference person

51.10 51.70 56.30 53.70 49.10 50.30 50.40 49.50 51.60

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 2.40 2.20 2.20 2.40 2.60 2.60 2.50 2.60

Children under 18

0.60 0.60 0.70 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.60 0.50 0.60

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.40 0.40 0.50 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40

Earners

1.30 1.10 0.80 1.00 1.30 1.40 1.50 1.50 1.50

Vehicles

1.90 1.70 1.20 1.50 1.80 2.30 2.10 2.10 2.20

Percent homeowner

63 56 42 54 56 68 73 70 77

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $45,064 $30,285 $38,173 $48,164 $59,252 $81,923 $72,264 $95,446

Food

7,923 6,314 4,998 5,472 6,630 7,736 9,912 9,145 11,010

Food at home

4,464 3,790 3,282 3,448 3,872 4,427 5,292 4,924 5,822

Cereals and bakery products

569 496 432 462 501 568 660 609 732

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 849 818 789 852 955 1,097 1,061 1,150

Dairy products

449 367 317 325 383 430 550 500 621

Fruits and vegetables

858 676 628 615 666 811 1,081 970 1,240

Other food at home

1,627 1,402 1,086 1,257 1,471 1,664 1,904 1,783 2,079

Food away from home

3,459 2,524 1,716 2,024 2,758 3,308 4,620 4,221 5,188

Alcoholic beverages

583 331 141 253 387 452 894 838 973

Housing

20,091 15,320 11,693 13,808 16,062 18,591 26,234 23,132 30,570

Shelter

11,747 8,696 6,854 7,833 9,090 10,507 15,693 13,853 18,258

Owned dwellings

6,678 4,128 1,976 3,304 4,486 6,114 9,975 8,401 12,169

Rented dwellings

4,249 4,201 4,773 4,268 4,187 3,783 4,311 4,369 4,230

Other lodging

821 368 105 262 416 610 1,407 1,084 1,858

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 3,648 2,788 3,370 3,818 4,306 4,566 4,356 4,860

Household operations

1,522 877 561 705 953 1,214 2,356 1,796 3,137

Housekeeping supplies

747 638 506 542 729 691 882 792 1,011

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 1,461 984 1,358 1,472 1,872 2,737 2,335 3,305

Apparel and services

1,866 1,333 1,150 1,101 1,426 1,630 2,527 2,299 2,851

Transportation

9,761 7,842 4,580 6,716 8,279 10,811 12,232 11,300 13,534

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 3,269 1,573 2,902 3,383 4,660 4,888 4,517 5,404

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 1,899 1,243 1,659 1,981 2,538 2,379 2,341 2,433

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 2,306 1,330 1,901 2,522 3,123 3,565 3,396 3,802

Public and other transportation

818 368 435 254 394 490 1,400 1,045 1,895

Healthcare

4,968 3,869 2,601 3,547 3,935 5,024 6,387 5,919 7,041

Entertainment

3,226 2,395 1,138 1,776 2,492 3,951 4,286 3,912 4,808

Personal care products and services

768 554 390 435 600 751 1,040 957 1,156

Reading

108 69 26 59 82 84 158 121 209

Education

1,407 557 117 217 861 831 2,505 1,857 3,408

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 462 333 473 478 490 197 234 145

Miscellaneous

993 740 375 503 833 1,175 1,319 1,189 1,500

Cash contributions

1,888 1,095 598 823 1,357 1,363 2,912 2,079 4,074

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 4,183 2,143 2,991 4,742 6,363 11,321 9,281 14,165

Life and other personal insurance

465 305 154 267 318 432 672 524 878

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 3,878 1,989 2,724 4,425 5,931 10,649 8,757 13,287

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 12. Race of reference person: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units White and all other races, and Asian Black or African-American
Total White and all other races (1) Asian

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 114,227 108,069 6,159 17,212

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $82,075 $79,979 $118,850 $55,806

Age of reference person

51.10 51.50 51.90 44.00 48.70

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 2.50 2.50 2.70 2.40

Children under 18

0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.40 0.40 0.20 0.30

Earners

1.30 1.30 1.30 1.50 1.30

Vehicles

1.90 2.00 2.00 1.60 1.40

Percent homeowner

63 67 67 57 42

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $63,721 $63,188 $72,971 $44,752

Food

7,923 8,336 8,220 10,257 5,228

Food at home

4,464 4,692 4,635 5,626 2,982

Cereals and bakery products

569 599 593 707 374

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 990 967 1,362 772

Dairy products

449 482 487 407 233

Fruits and vegetables

858 905 872 1,444 549

Other food at home

1,627 1,715 1,716 1,705 1,054

Food away from home

3,459 3,645 3,585 4,631 2,246

Alcoholic beverages

583 635 647 435 243

Housing

20,091 20,647 20,403 24,963 16,413

Shelter

11,747 12,040 11,759 16,978 9,803

Owned dwellings

6,678 7,126 6,978 9,723 3,703

Rented dwellings

4,249 4,026 3,895 6,322 5,730

Other lodging

821 889 886 934 369

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 4,077 4,090 3,857 3,860

Household operations

1,522 1,595 1,581 1,831 1,040

Housekeeping supplies

747 792 803 621 455

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 2,142 2,170 1,677 1,255

Apparel and services

1,866 1,921 1,849 3,123 1,511

Transportation

9,761 10,107 10,116 9,964 7,473

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 4,120 4,154 3,519 3,011

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 2,161 2,164 2,107 1,765

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 2,966 2,982 2,704 2,158

Public and other transportation

818 861 816 1,632 539

Healthcare

4,968 5,247 5,298 4,346 3,123

Entertainment

3,226 3,474 3,531 2,519 1,585

Personal care products and services

768 779 778 783 699

Reading

108 116 119 75 52

Education

1,407 1,460 1,361 3,209 1,054

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 359 373 112 265

Miscellaneous

993 1,005 987 1,309 915

Cash contributions

1,888 1,983 2,009 1,516 1,258

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 7,652 7,497 10,360 4,932

Life and other personal insurance

465 472 468 534 420

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 7,180 7,029 9,826 4,512

(1)All other races includes Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, and approximately 1 percent reporting more than one race.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 13. Hispanic or Latino origin of reference person: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Hispanic or Latino Not Hispanic or Latino
Total White and all other races Black or African- American

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 17,572 113,868 96,916 16,952

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $65,298 $80,693 $85,082 $55,600

Age of reference person

51.10 44.50 52.10 52.70 48.80

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 3.20 2.30 2.30 2.40

Children under 18

0.60 1.00 0.50 0.50 0.60

Adults 65 and older

0.40 0.20 0.40 0.40 0.30

Earners

1.30 1.60 1.30 1.20 1.30

Vehicles

1.90 1.70 1.90 2.00 1.40

Percent homeowner

63 47 66 70 42

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $53,762 $62,380 $65,464 $44,741

Food

7,923 7,906 7,925 8,398 5,217

Food at home

4,464 4,304 4,490 4,750 3,005

Cereals and bakery products

569 526 576 611 377

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 1,003 954 984 782

Dairy products

449 411 455 495 231

Fruits and vegetables

858 885 853 906 554

Other food at home

1,627 1,479 1,651 1,754 1,062

Food away from home

3,459 3,601 3,435 3,648 2,212

Alcoholic beverages

583 374 617 682 244

Housing

20,091 19,409 20,197 20,864 16,380

Shelter

11,747 11,771 11,744 12,090 9,766

Owned dwellings

6,678 4,998 6,937 7,508 3,674

Rented dwellings

4,249 6,348 3,925 3,610 5,722

Other lodging

821 424 882 972 370

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 3,882 4,074 4,111 3,864

Household operations

1,522 1,130 1,583 1,678 1,039

Housekeeping supplies

747 704 754 807 451

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 1,922 2,042 2,178 1,261

Apparel and services

1,866 2,043 1,838 1,895 1,509

Transportation

9,761 9,188 9,850 10,260 7,509

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 3,599 4,033 4,203 3,057

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 2,360 2,070 2,122 1,771

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 2,596 2,900 3,031 2,151

Public and other transportation

818 632 847 903 529

Healthcare

4,968 3,173 5,246 5,618 3,122

Entertainment

3,226 2,282 3,373 3,687 1,574

Personal care products and services

768 656 786 799 709

Reading

108 56 116 128 52

Education

1,407 946 1,478 1,550 1,065

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 155 376 395 269

Miscellaneous

993 671 1,043 1,066 909

Cash contributions

1,888 855 2,047 2,183 1,269

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 6,050 7,488 7,938 4,913

Life and other personal insurance

465 270 495 508 420

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 5,780 6,993 7,430 4,493

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

Table 14. Generation of reference person: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, 2018
Item All consumer units Birth year of 1981 or later Birth year from 1965 to 1980 Birth year from 1946 to 1964 Birth year from 1928 to 1945 Birth year of 1927 or earlier

Number of consumer units (in thousands)

131,439 34,845 35,498 43,763 16,206 1,128

Consumer unit characteristics

Income before taxes

$78,635 $67,076 $106,506 $80,086 $41,710 $32,832

Age of reference person

51.10 29.00 45.20 62.10 79.00 92.30

Average number in consumer unit

People

2.50 2.60 3.10 2.10 1.70 1.30

Children under 18

0.60 0.90 1.10 0.20 (1) (2)

Adults 65 and older

0.40 (1) (1) 0.60 1.40 1.30

Earners

1.30 1.50 1.70 1.20 0.30 0.1(3)

Vehicles

1.90 1.60 2.10 2.10 1.60 1.00

Percent homeowner

63 37 64 77 81 64

Average annual expenditures

$61,224 $52,874 $74,683 $63,325 $45,551 $34,824

Food

7,923 7,061 9,826 7,889 5,887 3,146

Food at home

4,464 3,724 5,377 4,597 3,784 2,045

Cereals and bakery products

569 465 694 573 522 312

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

961 792 1,174 1,002 760 450

Dairy products

449 378 544 452 400 191

Fruits and vegetables

858 717 1,008 890 759 444

Other food at home

1,627 1,372 1,958 1,681 1,344 648

Food away from home

3,459 3,338 4,449 3,292 2,102 1,101

Alcoholic beverages

583 560 693 617 317 68(3)

Housing

20,091 18,329 24,050 20,003 15,511 18,350

Shelter

11,747 11,415 14,193 11,159 8,644 12,439

Owned dwellings

6,678 4,096 8,623 7,722 5,369 3,494

Rented dwellings

4,249 6,895 4,589 2,372 2,577 8,621

Other lodging

821 425 981 1,064 698 324(3)

Utilities, fuels, and public services

4,049 3,183 4,757 4,359 3,621 2,574

Household operations

1,522 1,522 1,892 1,286 1,287 2,425

Housekeeping supplies

747 512 905 819 722 464

Household furnishings and equipment

2,025 1,697 2,302 2,380 1,237 447

Apparel and services

1,866 1,979 2,343 1,741 990 293

Transportation

9,761 9,435 11,775 10,044 5,836 1,677

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

3,975 4,289 4,560 4,128 1,870 148(3)

Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil

2,109 2,053 2,639 2,114 1,172 411

Other vehicle expenses

2,859 2,428 3,537 2,928 2,252 680

Public and other transportation

818 665 1,039 874 542 438

Healthcare

4,968 2,831 4,786 6,025 7,046 5,907

Entertainment

3,226 2,391 3,921 3,801 2,065 987

Personal care products and services

768 668 935 771 623 478

Reading

108 64 104 129 152 154(3)

Education

1,407 1,308 2,156 1,322 304 67(3)

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

347 331 410 394 136 15(3)

Miscellaneous

993 671 1,129 1,128 1,029 811

Cash contributions

1,888 890 1,985 2,252 2,804 2,370

Personal insurance and pensions

7,296 6,355 10,570 7,210 2,850 503

Life and other personal insurance

465 203 527 617 505 138(3)

Pensions and Social Security

6,831 6,153 10,043 6,593 2,345 365(3)

(1) Value is too small to display.

(2) No data reported.

(3) Data are likely to have large sampling errors.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys.

 

Technical Notes

The principal objective of the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) is to collect information on the buying habits of U.S. consumers. Consumer expenditure data are used in a variety of research activities by government, business, labor, and academic analysts. In addition, the data are required for the regular revision of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) market basket.

First collected in 1888, the CE was conducted approximately every 10 years through the 1972–73 survey; annual collection began in late 1979. The CE is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CE consists of two survey instruments with independent samples that were first implemented in the 1972–73 series. There is a Diary Survey completed by participating consumer units for two consecutive 1-week periods and an Interview Survey in which expenditures of consumer units are obtained in four interviews over the course of 12 months, conducted at 3-month intervals. Results in this report are based on integrated data from both surveys. Survey participants record dollar amounts for goods and services purchased during the reporting period, regardless of whether payment is made at the time of purchase. Expenditure amounts include all sales and excise taxes for items purchased by the consumer unit. All business-related expenditures are excluded from both surveys, as are expenditures for which the consumer unit is reimbursed.

For the Diary survey, the CE Program draws a sample of 12,000 addresses per year, with approximately 10,000 of those addresses determined to be occupied housing units. The other 2,000 addresses are generally nonexistent, nonresidential, or vacant. Approximately 6,000 of those occupied housing units respond to the survey, and each of those households completes two weekly diaries for a total of 12,000 weekly diaries per year. Likewise, for the Interview survey, the CE Program visits 12,000 addresses per quarter, with 10,000 of those addresses having occupied housing units. Then approximately 6,000 of those occupied housing units respond to the survey for a total of 6,000 interviews per quarter. With the rotating panel, some consumer units rotate out of the survey each quarter, while others rotate in. Each consumer unit is interviewed once per quarter, for four consecutive quarters. Data are collected on an ongoing basis in 91 geographic areas of the United States.

The Interview Survey is designed to capture expenditure data that respondents can reasonably recall for a period of 3 months or longer. In general, these expenditures are relatively large, such as expenditures for real property, automobiles, and major appliances, or they occur on a regular basis, such as rent, utility payments, and insurance premiums. The Interview Survey also collects data on expenditures incurred on leisure trips. Including broad estimates of food spending, it is estimated that about 95 percent of expenditures are covered in the Interview Survey. Nonprescription drugs, household supplies, and personal care items are excluded.

The Diary Survey is designed to capture expenditures on small, frequently purchased items that are normally more difficult for respondents to recall buying over an extended period. Respondents keep detailed entries of expenses for food and beverages—both for food at home (e.g., purchased from grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets) and food away from home (e.g., purchased from restaurants, carry outs, employer and school cafeterias)—and for tobacco, housekeeping supplies, nonprescription drugs, personal care products and services, most apparel, and any other goods or services purchased within the period. Although this survey was designed to collect information on expenditures that could not be recalled easily over an extended period, respondents are asked to report all expenses, except those spent while traveling overnight or longer, that the consumer unit incurs during the survey week.

Integrated data from the Diary and Interview Surveys provide a complete accounting of consumer expenditures and income that neither survey is designed to do on its own. Data on some expenditure items are collected in only one of the surveys. For example, the Diary Survey does not collect information on reimbursements, whereas the Interview Survey does. Examples of expenditures for which reimbursements are included in the Interview Survey are medical care; automobile repairs; and construction, repairs, alterations, and maintenance of property. For items that are unique to one survey or the other, the choice of which survey to use as the source of data is obvious. However, there is considerable overlap in coverage between the surveys, and integrating the data involves a determination of the appropriate survey from which to select specific expenditure items. When data are available from both surveys, the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey program (BLS CE program) uses statistical methods to determine which survey is more reliable. As a result, some items are selected from the Interview Survey, and others are selected from the Diary Survey. Because of the overlap in the item coverage between the two surveys, the BLS CE program reviews the survey source every 2 years and uses statistical methods to select the best source. See “CE Source Selection for Publication Tables” in the Consumer Expenditure Survey Anthology, 2011 (BLS Report, no. 1030), for source selection details.  

The population and spending coverage of the CE differs from those used by the CPI. The CE data cover the total population including rural areas, whereas the CPI covers only the population in urban and metropolitan areas. With the latest CPI geographic revisions, efforts are being made to align the urban areas sampled by the CPI and the CE. Definitions of components also differ between the CE and CPI. For example, homeownership is treated differently in the two surveys: actual expenditures of homeownership are reported in the CE, whereas the CPI uses a rental equivalence approach that estimates the change in the cost of obtaining, in the rental marketplace, services equivalent to those provided by owner-occupied homes. (For an overview of the CPI methodology, see the Handbook of Methods “Consumer Price Index.” https://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/cpi-20180214.pdf.)

Interpreting the data

Expenditures are averages for consumer units with specified characteristics, regardless of whether a particular unit incurred an expense for a specific item during the recordkeeping period. The average expenditure for an item may be considerably lower than the expenditure by the consumer units that purchased the item. The less frequently an item is purchased, the greater the difference between the average for all consumer units and the average for those purchasing the item. Similarly, an individual consumer unit may spend more or less than the average, depending on its particular characteristics. Factors such as income, age of family members, geographic location, and personal preference also influence expenditures. In addition, even within groups with similar characteristics, the distribution of expenditures varies substantially. These points should be considered when comparing reported averages with individual circumstances. Users of these survey data should also keep in mind that prices for many goods and services have risen since the survey was conducted. For example, all prices, as measured by the CPI-U, increased 2.4 percent from 2017–18 (annual average index). In addition, sample surveys are subject to two types of error: sampling and nonsampling. Sampling errors occur because the data are collected from a sample representing the population, rather than from the entire population. Nonsampling errors result from the inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, differences in interviewers’ abilities, mistakes in recording or coding, and other processing errors. For additional information on these types of errors see https://www.bls.gov/cex/csxfaqs.htm#SamplingNonsamplingError.

Standard tables, 1960–61, 1972–73, 1984–2018

Tables in this report include integrated data from both the Diary and Interview components of the CE, enabling data users to associate the full range of expenditures with consumers’ demographic characteristics. Users can access the CE tables beginning with 1960–61, which have more detail than is given in this report. Also available are tables showing average annual data over a 2-year period for

  • income before taxes, cross-tabulated by age, consumer unit size, or region;

  • single consumers by gender, cross-tabulated by either income or age; and

  • selected metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

Detailed tables, 1984–2018

In addition, the CE also produces detailed prepublication tables, which contain additional subcategories of spending by demographic characteristics, but also have larger variances. They are available by request; email: CEXInfo@bls.gov. Prepublication tables at the All-consumer unit level are available on the research tables CE web page.

Public-use microdata

The 2018 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 Survey files contain expenditure data in two different formats: MTBI files that present monthly values by coding items based on the CPI pricing scheme, and expenditure files that organize expenditures by the section of the Interview Survey questionnaire in which they are collected. Values on the expenditure files cover different periods depending on the specific questions asked, and the files also contain relevant nonexpenditure information not found on the MTBI files.

Beginning with the 2013 public-use microdata, the new estimates of local, state, and federal tax liabilities are included. The CE introduced these estimates to improve the quality of the surveyed tax liabilities, which suffered from low response rates. The respondent-provided tax data were still available in the public-use microdata for 2013, after which they were no longer collected. For more information on the improvements, see Improving Data Quality in the Consumer Expenditure Survey with TAXSIM, and for new applications of the tax estimates, see New estimates of Personal Taxes in the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Free public-use microdata are available online from the years 1980 to 2018.

Other survey information

Other survey information available on the CE web page includes answers to frequently asked questions and a glossary of terms. Beginning with the 2000 data, estimates of standard errors for integrated Diary and Interview Survey data are also available.

The Consumer Expenditure program also publishes Beyond the Numbers articles, which present expenditure data within the context of various topics of interest. As of May 2020, the most recent articles are: How does consumer spending differ among households in California, Texas, and New York? A new BLS data product can tell us  and Are most Americans cutting the cord on landlines? Additional data also are presented in articles in the Monthly Labor Review (MLR). As of December 2019, the most recent MLR article using CE data is entitled, “Not fun for young and old alike: how the youngest and oldest consumers have fared in recession and recovery.”

Information on the methodology used to calculate and collect CE data, including data quality, can be found in the CE Handbook of Methods. Also included are general articles and research papers using CE data, including documents in the CE research library.

For more detailed information on the availability of current and earlier data, contact the Division of Consumer Expenditure Surveys, Office of Prices and Living Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20212-0001; call (202) 691-6900; email: CEXInfo@bls.gov; or visit the Consumer Expenditure Surveys page. Information in this publication is in the public domain and, with appropriate credit, may be reproduced without permission.

Upon request, the information in this report will be made available to individuals who are sensory-impaired individuals. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200. Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.