High-income households spent half of their food budget on food away from home in 2015

October 05, 2016

In 2015, U.S. households spent an average of $7,023 (12.5 percent of income) on food. Spending data on food is broken into two main categories: food at home, which includes unprepared foods like those bought at grocery stores; and food away from home, such as food at a restaurant. For the average household, spending on food at home accounted for about 57 percent ($4,015) of all food spending, while food away from home accounted for the other 43 percent ($3,008). Compared to lower income households, higher income households spent more money on food; higher income households also spent a greater share of their food budget on food away from home.

Average household spending for food by household income group, 2015
Income group Food, total Food at home Food away from home Share of food spending
spent on food at home
Share of food spending
spent on food away from home

All households

$7,023 $4,015 $3,008 57% 43%

Lowest 20%

3,767 2,499 1,268 66 34

Second 20%

5,022 3,271 1,751 65 35

Middle 20%

5,799 3,445 2,354 59 41

Fourth 20%

8,165 4,545 3,620 56 44

Highest 20%

12,350 6,310 6,040 51 49

Households in the top 20 percent of income spent an average of $12,350 on food in 2015, 49 percent of which went toward food away from home. In contrast, households in the lowest 20 percent of income spent $3,767 on food, and 34 percent of that was for food away from home.

In general, the share of total income spent on food was higher for lower income households than it was for higher income households. Those with earnings in the lowest 20 percent of income spent an average of 15.4 percent of their income on food. Households with incomes in the middle 20 percent spent 12.6 percent of income on food. Households in the highest 20 percent of income spent 11.2 percent of their income on food.

These data are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. To learn more, see "Consumer Expenditures — 2015" (HTML) (PDF) and the Consumer Expenditure Survey tables.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, High-income households spent half of their food budget on food away from home in 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/high-income-households-spent-half-of-their-food-budget-on-food-away-from-home-in-2015.htm (visited September 24, 2017).

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