The continued and significant decline over the past century in the share of expenditures allocated for food reflects improved living standards.
In 1901, U.S. households allotted 42.5 percent of their expenditures for food; by 2002-03, food’s share of spending had dropped to just 13.1 percent.
For New York City households, the expenditure share had declined from 43.7 percent to 13.9 percent; for Boston households, the decline was from 41.7 percent to 13.5 percent.
These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Find out more in "100 Years of U.S. Consumer Spending: Data for the Nation, New York City, and Boston," BLS Report 991.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Spending on food: 1901 versus 2002-03 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2006/may/wk4/art05.htm (visited January 30, 2023).