Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Households in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua metropolitan area spent an average of $66,203 per year in 2013-14, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that this figure was significantly higher than the $52,284 average expenditure level for a typical household in the United States. Not only did households in the Boston area spend more than the U.S. average, they also allocated their dollars differently in 4 of the 8 major expenditure categories. For example, the expenditure share personal insurance and pensions accounted for 12.9 percent of the household budget in Boston, significantly higher than the 10.8 percent national average. (See chart 1 and table 1.)
Highlights of the Boston area’s 2013–14 spending patterns:
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, 2013 and 2014.
A household in the CE survey is defined as a consumer unit which consists of members related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangement; a single person living alone or sharing a household with others but who is financially independent; or two or more persons living together who share responsibility for at least 2 out of 3 major types of expenses – food, housing, and other 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/pdf/homch16.pdf. Data for the nation, the four geographic regions of the U.S., and 18 metropolitan areas nationwide are available at www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm. Metropolitan definitions used in the survey are available at www.bls.gov/regions/ce_areadef.pdf . The metropolitan area discussed in this release is Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Mass.-N.H.-Maine-Conn., which includes Windham County in Connecticut; Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; York County in Maine; Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire. 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.
Consumer unit characteristics:
Income before taxes
Age of reference person
Average number in consumer unit:
Children under 18
Adults 65 and older
Average annual expenditures
Apparel and services
Personal care products and services
Tobacco products and smoking supplies
Personal insurance and pensions
Note: An asterisk (*) represents a statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level
* Note: An asterisk (*) represents a statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2015