A Look at Consumer Expenditures by Category

Mar 6, 2023 | Finconomics 101, No Bull Economics

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The 133.6MM “consumer units” (consisting of an average 2.4 people) generate an average income before taxes of $87,432 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Housing represents the largest component of consumer expenditures at 33% of the total. Notably, 65% of the population are homeowners (38% with a mortgage & 27% without) while 35% are renters. Utilities represent 19% of total housing costs with furnishings accounting for another 12%.

Taxes take the next biggest bite, representing another 23% of total consumer expenditures, even after accounting for an average of $2,500 in stimulus payments.   Interestingly, transportation expenditures are approximately double food-at-home spending as Americans apparently are more interested in nice rides than spending up for a healthy diet of relatively expensive whole foods. This could explain how the country ends up paying 8% on healthcare costs.

2021 Consumer Expenditures Graph
2021 Consumer Expenditures Graph
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