Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content

Newsroom

Skip top of page navigation
Bookmark and Share

Release Information

CB11-R.01

Contact:  ATLANTA REGIONAL OFFICE
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
Mr. George Grandy Jr., Director
101 Marietta St., NW, Ste 3200
Atlanta, GA 30303-2700
Telephone: 404-730-3832

Subscribe for Updates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  THURSDAY, DEC. 30, 2010

Census Bureau to Survey Nation's Spending Habits

ATLANTA — In January 2011, 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.

“Data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey enable policymakers to evaluate consumer needs, make informed decisions about the impact of policies on families and track changes in consumer spending,” said George Grandy Jr., director of the Census Bureau's Atlanta Regional Office.

The following data are an example of Consumer Expenditure Survey results.

Household Expenditures for Food: 2008-2009

Area
Average annual
amount spent
for food
Percentage of total
expenditures
     
United States
$6,407
12.9
     
Northeast
$6,967
12.8
Boston
 8,167
13.8
New York
 7,420
12.3
Philadelphia
 6,460
11.4
     
South
$6,026
13.0
Washington, D.C.
 7,835
11.3
Houston
 7,009
11.9
Dallas-Fort Worth
 6,734
12.5
Baltimore
 5,931
11.3
Miami
 5,803
12.2
Atlanta
 5,375
11.7
     
Midwest
$5,998
12.7
Chicago
 7,037
12.4
Minneapolis-St. Paul
 6,887
12.2
Detroit
 6,412
13.0
Cleveland
 5,737
12.5
     
West
$6,970
12.9
Seattle
 8,082
12.2
San Francisco
 7,952
11.7
Los Angeles
 7,531
13.3
San Diego
 6,541
12.2
Phoenix
 6,402
11.9

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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