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CB10-R.73

Contact:  PHILADELPHIA REGIONAL OFFICE
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
Mr. Fernando Armstrong, Director
833 Chestnut St., Ste 504
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4405
Telephone: 215-717-1800

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  FRIDAY, OCT. 1, 2010

Census Bureau to Survey Nation's Spending Habits

     PHILADELPHIA — In October 2010, U.S. Census Bureau field representatives will begin collecting information about how much Americans spend for groceries, clothing, transportation, housing, health care and other items from a sample of households across the country.

     The Consumer Expenditure Survey consists of two parts:

  • The Interview Survey — During the year, about 15,000 households will be visited each quarter to obtain data on relatively large expenditures and also those expenditures that occur on a regular basis (such as rent and utilities).
  • The Diary Survey — During the year, another 12,500 households will be asked to keep two consecutive one-week diaries of smaller, more frequent purchases that may be difficult for respondents to recall later (such as a fast-food purchase at a drive-through window, a soda or candy bar from a vending machine, or a carton of eggs from the supermarket).

     The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics then calculates and publishes integrated data from the two surveys — providing a snapshot of our nation's economy and spending habits. Government economists use the survey results to update a “market basket” of goods and services for the Consumer Price Index, our nation's most widely used measure of inflation.

     “The findings are invaluable to businesses and policymakers in our communities,” said Fernando Armstrong, director of the Census Bureau's Philadelphia Regional Office. “They use the data to evaluate consumer needs and track changes in consumer spending.”

     The following data on the amount spent on health care are an example of CE results.

Household Expenditures for Health Care: 2007-2008

Area
Average annual
amount spent
for health care
Percentage of total
expenditures
     
United States
$2,914
5.8
     
Northeast
$2,840
5.3
Boston
 2,936
5.2
New York
 2,829
4.8
Philadelphia
 2,682
4.8
     
South
$2,825
6.1
Houston
 3,002
5.4
Washington, D.C.
 2,996
4.2
Dallas-Fort Worth
 2,787
5.3
Baltimore
 2,571
4.9
Atlanta
 2,383
5.1
Miami
 1,933
4.1
     
Midwest
$3,073
6.4
Cleveland
 3,651
7.5
Minneapolis-St. Paul
 3,365
5.8
Chicago
 3,324
5.7
Detroit
 2,432
5.1
     
West
$2,958
5.3
Seattle
 3,373
5.3
San Francisco
 3,321
4.8
Phoenix
 3,195
5.6
Los Angeles
 2,512
4.2
San Diego
 1,840
3.6

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014