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Consumer spending increased 3.0 percent from 2018 to 2019

September 30, 2020

Average consumer expenditures for 2019 were $63,036, a 3.0-percent increase from 2018. During the same period, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) rose 1.8 percent, and average pretax incomes increased by 5.4 percent. From 2018 to 2019, a 10.1-percent increase in transportation spending was the largest percentage increase among all major components. This increase largely resulted from a 58.3-percent increase in vehicle insurance spending, but that was in part due to a change in the data source for vehicle insurance. Average expenditures for vehicle purchases were up 10.5 percent, and average household expenditures for gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil decreased 0.7 percent over the year.

12-month percent change in average annual consumer expenditures, selected items, 2017-2019
Item Percent change from 2017 to 2018 Percent change from 2018 to 2019

Total

1.9% 3.0%

Food at home

2.3 4.0

Food away from home

2.8 1.9

Owned housing

-3.9 1.8

Rented housing

2.0 4.3

Apparel and services

1.8 0.9

Transportation

1.9 10.1

Healthcare

0.8 4.5

Entertainment

0.7 -4.2

Personal care products and services

0.8 2.3

Education

-5.6 2.6

Cash contributions

0.8 5.7

Personal insurance and pensions

7.8 -1.8

All other expenditures

1.0 -6.8

From 2018 to 2019, the only percentage decreases among the largest spending components were a 4.2-percent decrease in entertainment spending and a 1.8-percent decrease in spending on personal insurance and pensions. This compared with increases of 0.7 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, from 2017 to 2018. Spending on food at home (4.0 percent) and food away from home (1.9 percent) increased from 2018 to 2019. Healthcare spending increased 4.5 percent in 2019, following a modest 0.8-percent increase in 2018. Spending on rented dwellings was up 4.3 percent, while spending on owned dwellings increased 1.8 percent. Education spending was up 2.6 percent in 2019 after a decrease of 5.6 percent in 2018.

Household spending increased for all five income groups, ranging from 1.3 percent for households in the second 20 percent of income to 8.6 percent for households in the lowest 20 percent of income.

Percent change in average annual household spending for major components by income group, 2018–19
Item Lowest 20 percent Second 20 percent Middle 20 percent Fourth 20 percent Highest 20 percent

Total

8.6% 1.3% 2.5% 3.0% 2.3%

Food at home

3.0 1.4 8.4 2.3 4.4

Food away from home

15.0 -1.5 7.2 -9.1 5.2

Housing

9.3 3.6 1.2 1.8 2.3

Apparel and services

9.2 -2.7 0.7 6.8 -3.0

Transportation

23.2 5.9 14.1 14.4 4.2

Healthcare

15.4 -1.2 1.2 2.9 7.0

Entertainment

-19.0 -15.5 -10.8 -3.0 4.5

Cash contributions

2.5 4.3 0.1 17.1 3.4

Personal insurance and pensions

-13.5 -2.3 -6.3 0.3 -1.2

All other expenditures

1.6 -0.3 -4.3 -5.9 -0.8

From 2018 to 2019, consumer spending on food at home, housing, transportation, and cash contributions increased for all five income groups. Healthcare spending rose in all income groups except for the second 20 percent. Spending on entertainment, personal insurance and pensions, and all other expenditures decreased in four of five income groups.

These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys. To learn more, see “Consumer Expenditures — 2019.” Consumer units 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.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Consumer spending increased 3.0 percent from 2018 to 2019 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/consumer-spending-increased-3-point-0-percent-from-2018-to-2019.htm (visited September 19, 2021).

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