What We Buy

There's a nice data dump out this week from the BLS. It's based on a big, ongoing survey that shows what people spend money on.

Here are some of the key categories.

Average Spending Per Household, 2010

Annual spending

A few notes:

Average income for households in the survey was $62,481, down by a few hundred dollars from 2009.

Spending went down in almost every category between 2009 and 2010. Spending on gas and health care went up. This BLS release has more on the year-to-year changes

The number for health-care spending is somewhat misleading, because it tracks only what households spend directly. If you get health insurance through your job, your employer probably pays the vast majority of your premiums. (Health insurance for a family of four now costs more than $15,000 a year, according to a new report.) And if you're on Medicare, most of your health spending flows through the federal government.

For more: The tables here show lots of demographic slices, and lots of detailed breakdowns (households spent an average of $103 last year on "fats and oils."

By the way, I used the phrase "households" in the table, but the survey technically tracks "consumer units," which are very similar to households and are explained in detail here.

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