Household spending increases to $51,442 in 2012, surpassing prerecession levels
September 12, 2013
Average expenditures per consumer unit in 2012 were $51,442, an increase of 3.5 percent from 2011 levels. The 2012 level surpassed the spending peak recorded in 2008, after which the effects of the 2007–2009 recession led to a low of $48,109 in 2010.
Since overall expenditures began to increase again in 2011, cash contributions, transportation, and health care have had the largest percentage increases of all the major expenditure items. All but one of the other major components of household spending also increased in 2012, with apparel and services being the lone exception.
Apparel and services
Personal insurance and pensions
All other expenditures
The 11.2-percent rise in cash contributions (which includes payments for support of college students, alimony and child support, and giving to charities and religious organizations) was the largest percentage increase among all major components; average cash contributions totaled $1,913 in 2012. The increase in cash contributions since 2011 can largely be attributed to an increase in cash contributions to churches and religious organizations.
Overall spending on transportation ($8,998) and health care ($3,556) rose significantly (+8.5 percent and +7.3 percent, respectively) in 2012, while spending on housing ($16,887) and entertainment ($2,605) only increased modestly (+0.5 percent and +1.3 percent, respectively).
Expenditures on food increased 2.2 percent (to $6,599), while spending on personal insurance and pensions increased 3.1 percent increase (to $5,591).
These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. To learn more, see "Consumer Expenditures — 2012" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-13-1833. Consumer units include families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share expenses.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Household spending increases to $51,442 in 2012, surpassing prerecession levels on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130912.htm (visited June 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.