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Consumption and
Municipal Waste - Part 2
 
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How We Spend

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  Average Annual Expenditures in 2001 were $39,518 per household* according to results from the Consumer Expenditure Survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. This represented a 3.9 percent increase from 2000, against a 6.4 percent increase in income (before taxes). Expenditures on Personal Insurance and Health Care, and Entertainment all rose more than the overall average, ranging from 4.8 to 5.6 percent. Spending on Food and Transportation also rose (3.2 and 2.9 % respectively), whereas spending on Apparel and Services decreased by 6.1 percent. While changes like these occur within categories from year to year, the distribution across expenditures tends to be relatively stable. For instance, in 1991, Cash Contributions were 3.2 percent of expenditures, the same as the 2001 rate. Total Housing expenditures in 1991 were 31.2% and 32.9% in 2001, and the expenditure rate for Entertainment over the decade remained at about 5 percent.  
  On average, total expenditures in 2001 were 83 percent of income before taxes, indicating lower spending as a percentage of income than in 1991 (see graph below for breakdown by age group).   
  * The Bureau of Labor statistics actually uses a "consumer unit" to measure expenditures. For our purposes the consumer unit resembles a household closely enough to use as a reference point.  
     
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Consumer Spending
Sources: US Census Bureau; U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Consumer Expenditures in 2001 Annual Report (PDF: 195 KB)

CONSUMER SPENDING BY CATEGORY: 2001
"Other" expenditures include Personal Care Products and Services,
Reading, Education, and Tobacco products and Smoking Supplies.
CONSUMER SPENDING AS A PERCENTAGE OF
ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME BY AGE GROUP: 1991 - 2001
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