October 07, 2010
Spending on housing and transportation (the largest components of consumers' budgets) fell 1.3 percent and 11.0 percent, respectively, contributing to an overall drop in spending in 2009. Healthcare expenditures rose 5.0 percent, the only increase among the major components of spending.
Among the other major components, food expenditures dropped 1.1 percent (food at home increased by 0.2, while food away from home decreased 2.9 percent), apparel fell 4.2 percent, entertainment dropped 5.0 percent, and personal insurance and pensions fell 2.4 percent.
Overall, average annual expenditures per consumer unit—which were $50,486 in 2008 and $49,067 in 2009—fell 2.8 percent in 2009. This was the first time there has been a drop in spending from the previous year since the Consumer Expenditure Survey began publishing integrated data in 1984 from the Diary and Interview components of the survey.
These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. See "Consumer Expenditures — 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-1390, to learn more. Consumer units, which are similar to households, 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. These Consumer Expenditures data are nominal values not adjusted for inflation.