Economic News Release

Consumer Expenditures Survey Midyear Update News Release

For release: 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Thursday, April 2, 2015     USDL-15-0529

Technical Information:  (202) 691-6900 • •
Media Contact:          (202) 691-5902 •

                  THROUGH JUNE 2014 AVERAGE

Average expenditures per consumer unit (1)  for July 2013 through June
2014 were up a modest 1.0 percent compared with the July 2012 through June 2013 
midyear average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. 
Average incomes fell for a second year, showing a decrease of 0.9 percent.  

About half of the major components of household spending increased over the 12 
months ending June 2014. (See table A.) The 11.3-percent rise in healthcare was 
the largest percentage increase among all major components. The subcomponent
for health insurance expenditures increased by 20.1 percent primarily due to an
improvement in the survey questionnaire. (See "Note on health insurance.")

Table A. Average expenditures and income of all consumer units
and percent changes
                                                           Percent change      
                             July 2012-    July 2013-   July 2012 - June 2013
Item                         June 2013-    June 2014-            to
                              Average       Average     July 2013 - June 2014
---------------------------------------    ----------   ---------------------
Income before taxes           $65,029       $64,432             -0.9
Average annual expenditures    51,408        51,933              1.0
  Food                          6,598         6,665              1.0
  Housing                      17,041        17,377              2.0
    Shelter                     9,950        10,275              3.3
    Utilities, fuels, and       3,695         3,861              4.5
     public services  
    Household furnishings and   1,595         1,484             -7.0
  Apparel and services          1,706         1,674             -1.9
  Transportation                8,999         9,104              1.2
  Healthcare                    3,520         3,919             11.3
    Health insurance            2,085         2,505             20.1
  Entertainment                 2,586         2,560             -1.0
  Cash contributions            1,949         1,790             -8.2
  Personal insurance and        5,573         5,551             -0.4
  All other expenditures        3,437         3,294             -4.2

Note on health insurance

More consumer units reported expenditures for health insurance, and because 
of an improvement in interview collection methods, higher expenditures were
reported. The percent of households reporting quarterly expenditures on 
health insurance increased by about 10 percent from the previous midyear 
period. The insurance questions were revised from 3-month recall questions
to questions about the amount of the last payment and the payment period.
The new estimates are more accurate as the respondent does not have to 
calcuate a quarterly estimate--instead the estimate is calcuated by BLS, 
using the amount of the last payment which respondents are more likely to 
know. On the basis of cognitive testing of these questions, BLS concluded
they would produce better estimates. The mean expenditure for those 
reporting insurance premiums increased by about 25 percent. Because of this
questionnaire change, healthcare expenditure data for the midyear tables 
are not strictly comparable to those of prior years, especially for the 
health insurance subcomponent.  

Spending patterns, July 2013 – June 2014 compared with July 2012 – June 2013

Spending results for selected expenditure components from July 2012 through
June 2014 included:

•       Healthcare spending rose to $3,919 for July 2013 through June
        2014. The level for spending for healthcare has increased every year
        since 1996. The most recent increase was driven by a 20.1 percent
        increase in health insurance expenditures.  

•       Cash contributions, which include payments for support of college 
	students, alimony and child support, and giving to charities and 
	religious organizations, decreaed 8.2 percent. Most of the subcategories
	had similar declines.     
•       Housing expenditures increased 2.0 percent to $17,377. Increases of 
	3.3 percent in shelter expenditures and 4.5 percent in utilities, fuels
	and public services expenditures were offset by a 7.0 percent drop in 
	expenditures for household furnishings and equipment. 

Spending by selected demographics

Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) data measure how consumers allocate their
spending among the various components of total expenditures. For example,
table B compares the share allocated to selected expenditures by income
quintiles. The lowest income quintile allocated larger shares to food and
housing than all other quintiles. The highest income quintile allocated a
larger share to personal insurance and pensions (including payments for
life insurance, other nonhealth insurance, pensions, and Social Security)
than any other group. No clear pattern existed for the shares allocated to
transportation and healthcare among the income quintile groups.

Table B. Shares of average expenditures on selected major components by
income quintiles, July 2013 through June 2014
                                      Income Quintiles
                  Lowest      Second      Third       Fourth      Highest
Item               20th        20th        20th        20th        20th
                percentile  percentile  percentile  percentile  percentile
Food               16.0        14.3        13.4        13.2        11.2
Housing            40.6        37.6        34.6        32.2        30.7
Transportation     14.6        17.4        19.4        18.5        16.9
Healthcare          8.3         9.0         8.2         8.0         6.3
Personal insurance  2.1         4.9         7.9        11.0        15.6
 & pensions

Table C shows expenditures and income before taxes by quintile from July
2012 through June 2014. All but the second quintile showed small increases
in spending across the 12 months ending June 2014, while all but the 
highest quintile showed declines in income before taxes.

Table C. Percent change in average annual expenditures and income before
taxes by income quintile
                    Average annual expenditures            Income before taxes    
                 July 2012-   July 2013-     Percent    July 2012-  July 2013-    Percent
Income quintile  June 2013    June 2014      change     June 2013   June 2014      change
----------------------------  ----------     --------   ----------  ----------    -------
Lowest 20th       $22,336      $22,981         2.9       $10,174      $9,818        -3.5
Second 20th        33,075       32,778        -0.9        27,094      26,369        -2.7
Third 20th         42,728       43,739         2.4        47,017      45,724        -2.8
Fourth 20th        59,155       59,250         0.2        75,990      74,410        -2.1
Highest 20th       99,651      100,979         1.3       164,647     166,048         0.9

|                 Deciles of Income Table Now Available                       |
|                                                                             |
|New with this midyear release is the Deciles of Income table, dividing the   |
|sample into ten equal sections by income range. Along with this new table,   |
|other published tables provide average CE data with more expendiuture detail |
|than shown in this release by standard classifications that include income   |
|quintile, income class, age of reference person, size of consumer unit,      | 
|number of earners, composition of consumer unit, housing tenure/type of area | 
|(urban-rural), region of residence, race, Hispanic origin, occupation, and   | 
|highest education level of any member. These midyear tables are available at |
| The midyear tables add spending information from January    |
|through June 2014 while dropping the January through June 2013 expenditures. |                                              |
|                                                                             |

Other available data

Data tables with the most detailed subcategories of expenditures can be
obtained by sending a request to 

The 2013 Annual Report includes a brief discussion of expenditure changes
in 2013 and tables with data classified by the standard characteristics
that are included on the website (see Future
articles in the BLS Beyond the Numbers web report series will highlight
recent trends in prices and spending in the U.S. economy, and will feature
CE data. Recent CE-specific articles provide analyses of topical economic
issues and long term spending trends, as well as comparisons of CE data to
other data series (see and Additional methodological and analytical
articles using CE data will be published in 2015. All data published in the
Annual Report and posted to the website are integrated from the two CE
components—the quarterly Interview Survey and weekly Diary Survey. 

Other survey information available on the Internet includes answers to
frequently asked questions, a glossary, order forms for survey products,
and analytical articles that use CE data. Also available are the Diary
Survey questionnaire form and a modified version of the computer assisted
personal interview (CAPI) instrument used to collect the Interview Survey
The 1997 through 2013 CE public-use microdata, including Interview Survey
data, Diary Survey data, and paradata (information about the survey
process), are available on the CE website for free electronic download. The
Interview files contain expenditure data in two different formats: MTBI
files that present monthly values in an item-coding framework based on the
CPI pricing scheme, and EXPN files that organize expenditures by the section
of the Interview questionnaire in which they are collected. Expenditure
values on EXPN files cover different time periods depending on the specific
questions asked, and the files also contain relevant non-expenditure
information not found on the MTBI files. The 1996 data will be released online
in the near future. For releases prior to 1996, users can continue to 
purchase USB flash drives using the public-use microdata order form 
(see All future releases of public-use 
microdata will solely be available online for free electronic download. 

The 2014 Annual News Release, data tables, and public-use microdata are 
planned for release in September, 2015. Public-use microdata will not be 
released on a rolling half-year basis.  

The annual CE Microdata Users' Workshop and Survey Methods Symposium will be
held July 14-17, 2015 at the BLS national office. Registration is free. More 
information and the registration form are available at

For further information, contact the Division of Consumer Expenditure Survey,
Office of Prices and Living Conditions at (202) 691-6900 or by email at Information in this release will be made available to
sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200;
Federal Relay Service: 1 (800) 877-8339.

1 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.

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Last Modified Date: April 2, 2015

Last Modified Date: April 02, 2015
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