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Consumer Expenditure Surveys

The Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) program provides data on expenditures, income, and demographic characteristics of consumers in the United States. The CE program provides these data in tablesLABSTAT databasenews releasesreports, and public use microdata files.

CE data are collected by the Census Bureau for BLS in two surveys: the Interview Survey for major and/or recurring items and the Diary Survey for more minor or frequently purchased items. CE data are primarily used to revise the relative importance of goods and services in the market basket of the Consumer Price Index. The CE is the only Federal household survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes. Here is an overview of the CE program and its methods.

To be notified when new datasets become available, sign up for CE updates. The menu will prompt you to select Consumer Expenditures. If you have comments or questions about this page and its contents, contact us.


  • CE 2023 Annual Workshop: Register for the CE 2023 Public Use Microdata Workshop (3/27/2023) Read More »
  • Beyond the Numbers: Changing how BLS defines geographic areas in the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (2/28/2023) Read More »
  • The Economics Daily: Consumer spending on public and other transportation in metro areas before and during COVID-19 (3/2/2023) Read More »

Info For Survey Participants

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News Releases

Consumer unit expenditures in 2021 were $66,928; a 9.1% increase from 2020


Average expenditures for all consumer units in 2021 were $66,928, a 9.1-percent increase from 2020, and average income before taxes increased 3.7 percent.

Next Release

The Consumer Expenditures release is scheduled to be released on Friday, September 8, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
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The Economics Daily

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Consumer spending on public and other transportation in metro areas before and during COVID-19

Consumer spending on public and other transportation rose sharply in 2021, after declining sharply in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Average annual expenditures varied widely in 2021 among eight selected metropolitan areas, ranging from $415 for the average consumer unit in Atlanta to $1,252 for the average consumer unit in New York. read more »

Beyond the Numbers

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Changing how BLS defines "geographic areas" in the Consumer Expenditure Surveys

This Beyond the Numbers article aims to provide an understanding of the changes and present findings for how these new definitions compare with the old definitions used to develop estimates prior to 2021, and discuss how these changes will impact data users. read more »

Spotlight on Statistics

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How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Urban and Rural Spending Habits

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the United States profoundly. In addition to the heavy toll on health and life, the pandemic also brought significant economic challenges, such as a drastic shift in workplace culture and the highest unemployment rate since data began in 1948. This Spotlight on Statistics explores how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the spending behaviors of urban and rural consumers. read more »

Monthly Labor Review

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Employment recovery continues in 2021, with some industries reaching or exceeding their prepandemic employment levels

Total nonfarm employment in the United States continued to recover in 2021, with some industries fully recovering and subsequently expanding amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. read more »