U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Consumer Expenditure Survey
Consumer Expenditure Survey Anthology, 2008
Table of Contents
Part I. Survey Research and Methodology
Evaluation of the 2005 redesigned Consumer Expenditure Survey diary
A redesigned diary questionnaire, designed to simplify the recording task without sacrificing data quality,
was evaluated using data quality measures to see how well it compared to the old questionnaire.
Selecting a sample of households for the Consumer Expenditure Survey
The sample design and the method for selecting households for participation in the survey are described.
Susan King and Sylvia Johnson-Herring
Response rates in the Consumer Expenditure Survey (PDF 78K)
How the outcome of visits to survey households is categorized in terms of response and nonresponse is described,
as well as how response rates are calculated.
Sylvia Johnson-Herring and Sharon Krieger
The effect of refusal conversion on data quality in the Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey
Achieving and maintaining high response rates are important goals of the survey program, and guidelines
have been established to persuade reluctant respondents to participate in the survey. The quality of data
obtained from such respondents is compared to that of other respondents.
Nathan McDermott and Lucilla Tan
Part II. Processing Improvements
Outlier detection by forecasting (PDF 163K)
Three methods for improving the selection of data outliers for review were evaluated, and one was selected
Nathan McDermott and Brendan Livingston
Reclassifying low-expenditure consumer units in the Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey
The survey program implemented an improved method for screening consumer units with unusually low
expenditure totals to determine if their interviews should be reclassified as non-interviews.
Part III. Analyses Using Survey Data
Out-of-pocket health care spending patterns of older Americans, as measured by the
Consumer Expenditure Survey (PDF 138K)
Comparing health care spending by consumer units headed by 55-to-64 year olds with those headed by
65-to-74 year olds in 1985, 1995, and 2005 shows that they allocated their spending differently among
healthcare components in each year, whereas the changes in shares allocated over the periods trended
in the same direction for both groups, although the magnitude of the percent changes differed.
Examining expenditure patterns of young, single adults in a historical context:
two recent generations compared
An examination of expenditures and incomes of young adults in 2004-2005, compared to those of
young adults 20 years earlier, does not reveal conclusively that they are either better off or worse
off than in the earlier period, although the results indicate that their well-being may be improving
after a period of decline.
Spending on telephone service
The share of telephone services spent on cellular phone service increased rapidly over the past several years and
by 2006 was nearly equal to the share allocated to residential phone service.
Housing expenditures by race and Hispanic or Latino origin
Housing is the largest component of average annual expenditures, accounting for about a third of the total. The
amount consumer units spent on housing varied by race and Hispanic origin, and minorities spent a larger
share of total spending on housing than did Whites.
Appendix: Description of the Consumer Expenditure Survey
The full PDF version of the Consumer Expenditure Survey
Anthology, 2008 (1.8 MB)
Last Modified Date: December 23, 2008