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News Release Information

Friday, December 21, 2012

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (404) 893-4220

Consumer Expenditures for the Miami Area: 2010-2011

Consumer units in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Florida metropolitan area spent an average of $38,354 per year in 2010-11, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that this figure was about 22 percent lower than the $48,926 average expenditure level for a typical household in the United States. Whereas households in the Miami area spent less than the U.S. average, they also allocated their dollars differently among the major categories, differing significantly in five of the eight. For example, expenditures for healthcare, which comprised 4.9 percent of a typical Miami household budget, were significantly smaller than the national average of 6.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Housing in the Miami metropolitan area averaged $15,911 annually and was the largest expenditure category, accounting for 41.5 percent of a Miami area household’s total budget, significantly higher than the national average of 34.1 percent. (See tables 1 and 2.) Overall, 9 of the 18 published metropolitan areas had expenditure shares for housing significantly above the U.S. average. Four areas had shares for housing that were measurably below the U.S. average. (See chart 2.)  At 41.5 percent, Miami had the highest expenditure share for housing among the 18 areas; Cleveland had the lowest share at 32.0 percent. (See table 3.)

The majority of housing expenditures in Miami went toward shelter, 65.3 percent, which includes mortgage interest, property taxes, repairs, and rent, among other items; nationwide, 58.8 percent of the housing budget was allocated for shelter. (See table A.) Utilities, fuels, and public services expenses accounted for 22.0 percent of the housing budget locally; nationally, it made up 22.1 percent. The rate of home ownership in Miami, at 57 percent, was below the U.S. average of 65 percent.

Table A. Percent distribution of housing expenditures, United States and Miami, 2010-2011
Category United States Miami

Total housing

100.0 100.0


58.8 65.3

Utilities, fuels, and public services

22.1 22.0

Household operations

6.4 4.4

Housekeeping supplies

3.7 2.9

Household furnishings and equipment

8.9 5.4

Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.

At 15.7 percent of the total budget, transportation was the second largest expenditure category in the Miami area, not significantly different than the national average of 16.3 percent. Among the 18 metropolitan areas nationwide, 6 had below average transportation expenditure shares. (See chart 3.)

Of the $6,039 in annual expenditures for transportation in Miami, 93.1 percent was spent buying and maintaining private vehicles; this compared to the national average of 93.7 percent. The remaining 6.9 percent of a Miami household’s transportation budget was spent on public transit, which includes fares for taxis, buses, trains, and planes; this allocation was on par with the 6.3-percent average for the nation. (See table B.) The average number of vehicles per household in Miami (1.4) was below the national average (1.9).

Table B. Percent distribution of transportation expenditures, United States and Miami, 2010-2011
Category United States Miami


100.0 100.0

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

32.9 19.0

Gasoline and motor oil

30.0 37.6

Other vehicle expenses

30.8 36.5

Public transportation

6.3 6.9

Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding.

The portion of a Miami consumer unit’s budget spent on food, 12.9 percent, matched the U.S. average.  Among the 18 metropolitan areas, 12 had food expenditure shares that were not measurably different from the nationwide average. (See table 2.)

Households in Miami spent a greater percentage of their food dollars on food at home (68.1 percent) than they did for food away from home (31.9 percent). Food away from home includes restaurant meals, carry-out, board at school, and catered affairs. In comparison, the typical U.S. household spent 59.3 percent of its food budget on food at home and 40.7 percent on food away from home.

As noted, Miami is 1 of 18 metropolitan areas nationwide for which Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) data are available. We encourage users interested in learning more about the CE to contact the South Information Office at (404) 893-4222. 

Metropolitan area CE data and that for the four geographic regions of the United States are available on our Web site at  Metropolitan area CE news releases are available at

Additional Information

Data contained in this report are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, which is collected on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The CE data were averaged over a two-year period, 2010 and 2011. CE data are available for the nation, the 4 geographic regions of the country, and 18 metropolitan areas. The metropolitan area discussed in this release is Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla., which is comprised of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties in Florida.

The survey consists of two components, a diary or recordkeeping survey, and an interview survey. The integrated data from the BLS Diary and Interview Surveys provide a complete accounting of consumer expenditures and income, which neither survey component alone is designed to do. Due to changes in the survey sample frame, metropolitan area data in this release are not directly comparable to those prior to 1996.

A consumer unit is defined as members of a household 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.

CE metropolitan area estimates are not comparative cost of living surveys, as neither the quantity nor the quality of goods and services has been held constant among areas. Differences may result from variations in demographic characteristics such as consumer unit size, age, preferences, income levels, etc. However, expenditure shares, or the percentage of a consumer unit’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.

Expenditure shares for housing and transportation that are above or below that for the nation after testing for significance at the 95-percent confidence interval are also identified in charts 2 and 3 for the 18 metropolitan areas surveyed.

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. It is entirely possible that a large difference between two values is not significantly different statistically, while a small difference is, since both the size and heterogeneity of the sample affect the relative error of the data being tested.

For additional technical documentation and related information, see

Table 1. Percent distribution of average annual expenditures, United States and Miami, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2010-2011
Category United States Miami

Average annual expenditures

$48,926 $38,354

Percent distribution:

100.0 100.0


12.9 12.9

Alcoholic beverages

0.9 0.6*


34.1 41.5*

Apparel and services

3.5 2.3*


16.3 15.7


6.6 4.9*


5.2 3.7*

Personal care products and services

1.2 1.4


0.2 0.1*


2.2 1.4

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

0.7 0.5*


1.7 1.1*

Cash contributions

3.4 2.0*

Personal insurance and pensions

11.0 12.0

* Statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level.
Note: Columns may not add to 100 due to rounding


Table 2. Consumer unit characteristics and average annual expenditures, United States and Miami, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2010-2011
Category United States Miami
Consumer unit characteristics:    

Income before taxes

$63,086 $52,934

Age of reference person

49.6 51.3
Average number in consumer unit:    


2.5 2.6

Children under 18

0.6 0.5

Persons 65 and over

0.3 0.3


1.3 1.3


1.9 1.4

Percent homeowners

65 57
Average annual expenditures:    

Average annual expenditures

$48,926 $38,354


6,294 4,933

Food at home

3,731 3,358

Cereals and bakery products

516 470

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

808 848

Dairy products

394 383

Fruits and vegetables

697 740

Other food at home

1,316 917

Food away from home

2,562 1,575

Alcoholic beverages

434 228


16,687 15,911


9,819 10,391

Owned dwellings

6,212 5,245

Rented dwellings

2,965 4,813

Other lodging

642 334

Utilities, fuels, and public services

3,693 3,496

Household operations

1,074 701

Housekeeping supplies

613 458

Household furnishings and equipment

1,487 865

Apparel and services

1,720 897


7,987 6,039

Vehicle purchases (net outlay)

2,629 1,149

Gasoline and motor oil

2,395 2,268

Other vehicle expenses

2,459 2,205

Public transportation

504 418


3,235 1,872


2,547 1,404

Personal care products and services

608 542


108 23


1,063 526

Tobacco products and smoking supplies

356 197


812 430

Cash contributions

1,677 765

Personal insurance and pensions

5,398 4,585

Life and other personal insurance

318 138

Pensions and Social Security

5,081 4,447

Table 3. Percent share of average annual expenditures for housing, transportation, and food, United States and 18 metropolitan areas, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2010-2011
Area Housing Transportation Food

United States

34.1 16.3 12.9


37.1* 16.1 11.7*


37.4* 11.9* 12.5


32.5* 14.1* 12.5


35.6* 14.5* 12.4


32.0* 17.1 12.4


33.4 17.1 12.8


32.2* 17.4 12.5


33.5 16.7 12.5

Los Angeles

37.6* 16.2 13.2


41.5* 15.7 12.9


32.3* 16.2 12.4

New York

39.8* 13.5* 12.7


38.9* 14.4* 11.8*


33.5 16.9 13.0

San Diego

40.8* 14.9 11.1*

San Francisco

37.7* 13.1* 11.5*


34.9 15.4 11.3*


35.3 15.0 11.5*

* Statistically significant difference from the U.S. average at the 95-percent confidence level.


Last Modified Date: Friday, December 21, 2012