Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2004: Diary Survey (ICPSR 4415)

Published: Aug 1, 2013

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


Version V2

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 Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program is comprised of two separate components (each with its own survey questionnaire and independent sample), the Diary Survey and the quarterly Interview Survey (ICPSR 4416). This data collection contains the Diary Survey data, which was designed to obtain data on frequently purchased smaller items, including food and beverages (both at home and in food establishments), gasoline, housekeeping supplies, tobacco, nonprescription drugs, and personal care products and services. Each consumer unit (CU) recorded 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 were asked to report all expenses (except overnight travel) that the CU incurred during the survey week.

The microdata in this collection are available as SAS, SPSS, and STATA datasets or ASCII comma-delimited files. The 2004 Diary release contains five sets of data files (FMLY, MEMB, EXPN, DTAB, DTAB_IMPUTE) and three processing files. The FMLY, MEMB, EXPN, DTAB, and DTAB_IMPUTE files are organized by the quarter of the calendar year in which the data were collected. There are four quarterly datasets 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 contain the CU's reported income values or the mean of the five imputed income values in the multiple imputation method; and the DTAB_IMPUTE files contain the five imputed income values. Please note that 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 "MICRODATA VERIFICATION AND ESTIMATION METHODOLOGY" 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 for 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, 2004: Diary Survey. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-08-01.

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2004 -- 2005

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

For additional information on the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program, please visit the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Web site.

Every record from each data file includes the variable NEWID, the CU's unique identification number, which is used to link records of one CU from several files across all quarters in which they participate.

National probability sample of households designed to represent the total noninstitutional civilian population.

Noninstitutional civilian population of the United States.

survey data



2013-08-01 These files are an update to the original files and have replaced the previous version now making STATA, SPSS, and comma-delimited files available to accompany SAS and ASCII-column parameter files.

The files include weights needed to calculate population estimates and variances. There are 45 weights associated with each consumer unit. Please refer to the 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.

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