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High income households allocate smaller expenditure shares to necessities

December 17, 1998

In 1994-95, households with annual incomes of more than $90,000 allocated smaller shares of their money to necessities, such as food at home, shelter and utilities, transportation, and health care. Instead, higher-income households spent larger shares on such items as food away from home, personal insurance and pensions, cash contributions, and entertainment.

Selected shares of consumer expenditures by income, 1994-95
[Chart data—TXT]

Higher-income households spent 15.5 percent of their incomes on transportation expenditures, compared with almost 19 percent for other households. Expenditures on public transportation—mostly airline fares- were a larger share of higher-income budgets, while expenditures on vehicle purchases and costs related to vehicle ownership took a larger chunk in other households.

Food expenditures accounted for about 11 percent of spending for high-income households, compared with more than 14 percent for other households. This difference occurred despite the fact that higher-income households spent a larger share on food away from home.

Higher-income households allocated 3.4 percent of expenditures on health care, some 2.2 percentage points less than the health care share for lower-income households.

Data on spending by income are produced by the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey. For additional information, see Summary 98-10, "Issues in Labor Statistics: Spending Patterns of High-income Households".


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, High income households allocate smaller expenditure shares to necessities on the Internet at (visited September 30, 2014).


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