Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2009: Diary Survey Files (ICPSR 29883)

Version Date: Dec 7, 2010 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Version V1

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program provides a continuous and comprehensive flow of data on the buying habits of American consumers including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. These data are used widely in economic research and analysis, and in support of revisions of the Consumer Price Index.

The CE program consists of two surveys, the Diary Survey and the quarterly Interview Survey (ICPSR 29884). The Diary Survey is designed to obtain data on frequently purchased smaller items, including food and beverages, both at home and in food establishments, housekeeping supplies, tobacco, nonprescription drugs, and personal care products and services. Each consumer unit (CU) records its expenditures in a diary for two consecutive 1-week periods. Although the diary was designed to collect information on expenditures that could not be easily recalled over time, respondents are asked to report all expenses (except overnight travel) that the CU incurs during the survey week.

The microdata in this collection are available as SAS, STATA, SPSS data sets or ASCII text and comma-delimited files. The 2009 Diary release contains five sets of data files (FMLY, MEMB, EXPN, DTAB, DTID) and three processing files. The FMLY, MEMB, EXPN, DTAB, and DTID files are organized by the quarter of the calendar year in which the data were collected. There are four quarterly data sets for each of these files.

The FMLY files contain CU characteristics, income, and summary level expenditures; the MEMB files contain member characteristics and income data; the EXPN files contain detailed weekly expenditures at the Universal Classification Code (UCC) level; the DTAB files contains the CU's reported annual income values or the mean of the five imputed income values in the multiple imputation method; and the DTID files contain the five imputed income values. The summary level expenditure and income information on the FMLY files permits the data user to link consumer spending, by general expenditure category, and household characteristics and demographics on one set of files.

The three processing files enhance computer processing and tabulation of data, and provide descriptive information on item codes. The three processing files are: (1) an aggregation scheme file used in the published consumer expenditure tables (DSTUB), (2) a UCC file that contains UCCs and their abbreviated titles, identifying the expenditure, income, or demographic item represented by each UCC, and (3) a sample program file that contains the computer program used in Section VII.A. SAMPLE PROGRAM of the Diary User Guide. The processing files are further explained in Section III.E.5. PROCESSING FILES of the same User Guide documentation. There is also a second user guide, "User's Guide to Income Imputation in the CE", which includes information on how to appropriately use the imputed income data.

Demographic and family characteristics data include age, sex, race, marital status, and CU relationships each CU member. Income information, such as wage, salary, unemployment compensation, child support, and alimony, as well as information on the employment of each CU member age 14 and over was also collected.

United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2009: Diary Survey Files. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-12-07.

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

These data are distributed exactly as they arrived from the data depositor. ICPSR has not processed this material. Users should consult the investigators if further information is desired via

The variable NEWID, the CU's identification number, is the common variable among files by which matching is done.

National probability sample of households designed to represent the total U.S. noninstitutionalized civilian population.

Eligible population includes all civilian noninstitutional persons.

survey data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2009: Diary Survey Files. ICPSR29883-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-12-07.

Refer to the Diary User Guide documentation for a detailed explanation of the weight variables used.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

ICPSR logo

This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.