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17-1203-CHI
Monday, November 27, 2017

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Consumer Expenditures for the Chicago Metropolitan Area: 2015-16

Households in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis., metropolitan area spent an average of $61,545 per year in 2015–16, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Charlene Peiffer noted that this figure was significantly higher than the $56,648 average expenditure level for households in the United States. Chicago-area households allocated their dollars similarly to the nation in most of the eight major categories, with only two differing significantly from the U.S. average. For example, the share of expenditures for personal insurance and pensions, which accounted for 11.4 percent of the average household’s budget in the Chicago area, was similar to the national average of 11.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Highlights of the Chicago-area’s 2015–16 spending patterns:

  • Housing: This was the largest expenditure category for Chicago-area households and averaged $21,645. Housing accounted for 35.2 percent of the area’s household budget, significantly higher than the 32.9-percent U.S. average. (See table 1.) Among the 22 metropolitan areas for which data were available, Chicago was 1 of 9 areas to have a housing expenditure share that was higher than the national average. Housing expenditure shares among the 22 areas nationwide ranged from 40.3 percent in San Francisco to 30.3 percent in Detroit. (See table 2.)
  • Transportation: Chicago-area households spent 14.5 percent of their budgets on transportation, significantly lower than the national average of 16.4 percent. Of the $8,925 in annual transportation expenditures in Chicago, 90.0 percent was spent buying and maintaining private vehicles; this compared to the national average of 93.1 percent.
  • Food: The portion of a Chicago household’s budget spent on food, 13.2 percent, was not significantly different from the 12.6-percent U.S. average. Chicago-area households spent $4,491, or 55.4 percent, of their food dollars on food at home and $3,618 (44.6 percent) on food away from home. In comparison, the average U.S. household spent 56.7 percent of its food budget on food at home and 43.3 percent on food away from home.

Additional Information

Data in this release are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), which the U.S. Census Bureau conducts for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data in this release were averaged over a 2-year period, 2015 and 2016.

A household in the CE survey is defined as a consumer unit which includes 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. The terms household or consumer unit are used interchangeably for convenience.

Differences in spending among metropolitan areas may reflect differences in the cost of living, but they also may reflect other causes. Spending differences may result from different consumer preferences or variations in demographic characteristics, such as household size, age, or income levels. However, expenditure shares, or the percentage of a household’s budget spent on a particular category, can be used to compare spending patterns across areas. Sample sizes for the metropolitan areas are much smaller than for the nation, so the U.S. estimates and year-to-year changes are more reliable than those for the metropolitan areas. Users should also keep in mind that prices for many goods and services have changed since the survey was conducted.

A value that is statistically different from another does not necessarily mean that the difference has economic or practical significance. Statistical significance is concerned with our ability to make confident statements about a universe based on a sample. A large difference between two values may not be statistically significant, while a small difference could be significant; both the sample size and the variation among the values in the sample affect the relative error of the estimates.

For additional technical and related information, see www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch16.htm. Data for the nation, the four geographic regions of the U.S., and 22 metropolitan areas nationwide are available at www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm. Metropolitan definitions used in the survey are available at www.bls.gov/cex/ce_msa_201516.htm. The metropolitan area discussed in this release is Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. Metropolitan Statistical Area, which comprises Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties in Illinois; Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter Counties in Indiana; and Kenosha County in Wisconsin. Metropolitan area news releases for the Consumer Expenditure Survey are available at www.bls.gov/regions/subjects/consumer-spending.htm.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 800-877-8339.

Table 1. Average annual expenditures, characteristics, and percent distributions, United States and Chicago metropolitan area, 2015–16
Category United
States
Chicago

Consumer unit characteristics:

 

Income before taxes

$72,156 $79,738

Age of reference person

50.7 49.0

Average number in consumer unit:

 

People

2.5 2.5

Children under 18

0.6 0.6

Adults 65 and over

0.4 0.3

Earners

1.3 1.4

Vehicles

1.9 1.7

Percent homeowner

62 61

Average annual expenditures

$56,648 $61,545*

Percent distribution

 

Total

100.0 100.0

Food

12.6 13.2

Alcoholic beverages

0.9 0.8

Housing

32.9 35.2*

Apparel and services

3.2 3.5

Transportation

16.4 14.5*

Healthcare

7.9 7.7

Entertainment

5.1 5.6

Personal care products and services

1.2 1.2

Reading

0.2 0.2

Education

2.3 2.6

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

0.6 0.5*

Miscellaneous

1.6 1.3*

Cash contributions

3.4 2.4*

Personal insurance and pensions

11.6 11.4

Note: An asterisk (*) represents a statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level.
 

Table 2. Percent share of average annual expenditures for housing, transportation, and food, United States and 22 metropolitan areas, 2015–16
Area Housing Transportation Food

United States

32.9 16.4 12.6

Anchorage

31.7 19.1 11.8

Atlanta

34.1 18.3 10.2*

Baltimore

34.5 16.6 12.1

Boston

39.2* 12.4* 11.2*

Chicago

35.2* 14.5* 13.2

Dallas-Fort Worth

34.2 16.0 11.9

Denver

32.9 16.5 11.3*

Detroit

30.3* 16.4 12.9

Honolulu

36.3* 14.2 15.4*

Houston

31.8 21.0* 14.2*

Los Angeles

36.2* 15.6 12.4

Miami

36.4* 14.8 12.3

Minneapolis-St. Paul

30.9 15.4 11.0*

New York

38.8* 11.4* 10.7*

Philadelphia

33.8 14.4* 11.7

Phoenix

32.2 15.1 12.1

San Diego

35.1* 13.7* 11.4

San Francisco

40.3* 11.9* 11.5

Seattle

33.4 13.4* 13.6

St. Louis

31.7 16.1 13.2

Tampa

33.7 17.7 12.6

Washington, D.C.

35.7* 12.8* 10.8*

Note: An asterisk (*) represents a statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level.
 

 

Last Modified Date: Monday, November 27, 2017