Retirement expenditures for Whites, Blacks, and persons of Hispanic origin

August 07, 2003

Housing, food, transportation, and health care are the largest expenditure components of retirees’ budgets, together accounting for about three-quarters of the average retired consumer unit’s budget.

Expenditure shares of total expenditures for retired White, Black, and Hispanic consumer units, 1996-2000
[Chart data—TXT]

The spending on housing is the largest share of total expenditures for all groups. However, Black retirees allocate a larger share to housing (35.1 percent) than do either Whites (31.5 percent) or Hispanics (33.9 percent).

Of the three groups, Hispanics allocate the largest share to total food expenditures (20.5 percent), compared with Blacks (17.9 percent) and Whites (15.1 percent). This can partially be explained by the fact that, on average, Hispanic retirees’ households are larger.

Transportation expenditures range from 16.1 percent of total spending for Black retirees to 19.1 percent for Hispanic retirees. White retirees allocate 17.3 percent of expenditures to transportation.

Healthcare is the fourth largest expenditure for all retired consumer units, and accounts for 11.4 percent of spending by White retirees, 9.7 percent for Black retirees, and 9.3 percent for Hispanic retirees.

These data are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey program. For more information see "Retirement expenditures for Whites, Blacks, and persons of Hispanic origin," Monthly Labor Review, June 2003. The data used in this article are from the Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey from the first quarter of 1996 through the first quarter of 2001. White means "White, non-Hispanic." Black means "Black, non-Hispanic." The race/ethnic group of the consumer unit is determined by the reference person (the person responding to the survey). Similarly, only the reference person needs to be retired to qualify a husband-and-wife consumer unit as retired.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Retirement expenditures for Whites, Blacks, and persons of Hispanic origin on the Internet at (visited September 30, 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.