Airfare dominates public transportation expenditures

September 27, 1999

In all four regions of the country, airfare accounted for half or more of consumer expenditures on public transportation in 1997. The West had the highest share allocated to air transportation--71 percent.

Percent of public transporation expenditures spent on selected modes of transporation, by region, 1997
[Chart data—TXT]

Households in the South and Midwest also spent well over half of their public transportation budgets on airfare. In contrast, consumers in the Northeast allocated just 50 percent of their public transportation expenditures to air travel. Households in the Northeast devoted more of their public transportation budgets to mass transit than did households in the other regions, at 29 percent. In the rest of the country, the proportion going to mass transit was only 8 percent.

Midwesterners allocated more of their public transportation expenditures to ship travel than did consumers in the other three regions. Ten percent of these expenditures went to ship travel, compared to 7 percent in the West, 6 percent in the Northeast and 5 percent in the South.

These data are a product of the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey program. Additional information is available from "Issues in Labor Statistics: Expenditures on Public Transportation" (PDF 16K).


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Airfare dominates public transportation expenditures on the Internet at (visited September 28, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.