Household Spending Priorities Change Over 50 Years

Household Spending Priorities Change Over 50 Years

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as analyzed by American Demographics, while household spending has increased over the last 50 years, spending priorities have changed. More than half goes to the house and car at the expense of food and alcohol, almost five times as much for education, and entertainment as popular as ever.

Average U.S. household Spending Allocation (% of total unadjusted for inflation)

1950 1960 1972 1984 1993 2003
Total annual HH spend $3,925 $5,431 $8,601 $21,975 $30,692 $40,817
Housing 25.8% 29.3% 29.4% 30.4% 31.4% 32.9%
Transportation 13.8 15.1 24.0 19.6 17.8 19.1
Food & alcohol 32.5 26.0 22.6 16.2 15.2 14.0
Health care 5.1 6.6 4.7 4.8 5.8 5.9
Entertainment & reading 5.4 4.9 5.2 5.4 5.8 5.4
Apparel 11.5 10.3 8.4 6.0 5.5 4.0
Education 0.4 1.1 1.1 1.4 1.5 1.9
Other 5.5% 6.8% 4.6% 16.3% 17.1% 16.8%

Source: bis.gov and American Demographics Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data

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