Survey of Consumer Expenditures, 1972-1973 (ICPSR 9034)

Published: Jan 12, 2006

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


Version V2

This data collection, which offers detailed information on the spending habits of American consumers, has two components: the Interview Survey and the Diary Survey. The Interview Survey portion tabulates data on a quarterly basis. For this survey consumer units (roughly equivalent to households) were interviewed in each of five consecutive quarters to obtain data on spending habits and patterns. The Detailed Interview files, Parts 9 and 10, contain data on characteristics of the consumer unit, including information on geography and location of residence, characteristics of the household, head, and spouse, housing characteristics, selected expenditure, income and personal tax summary values, and individual family member characteristics. Value data are also presented in these files and cover items such as current consumption expenditures, personal insurance and pensions, gifts and contributions, sources of income, personal taxes paid, other money receipts, net change in assets and market value of selected financial assets, net change in liabilities, and value of items received without direct expense. No quantity or price data are shown. Discrete expenditures are categorized with a high degree of detail in these files. Part 11 supplies summary information about characteristics of the consumer unit and also includes annual expenditures and other disbursements. Parts 12 and 13, which can be used with the detailed data, itemize purchases of durable consumer goods such as major and minor household equipment, selected house furnishings, motorized vehicles and selected trailers and boats. Details are supplied on how and when the items were acquired, cost or value of items, and model of item purchased. Parts 1 and 2 detail individual purchases of clothing and household textiles by each consumer unit. Information in these files specifies the family members for whom each clothing item was purchased, whether the purchase was a gift for someone outside the consumer unit, the quantity of each item purchased, the month and year of each purchase, and the total cost of each expenditure, including applicable sales tax. The Diary Survey contains data on all purchases and other expenses of members of the consumer unit during two consecutive one-week periods (excluding expenses made while away from home overnight on trips or vacations). Diaries, or daily expense records, were placed with consumer units in order to obtain data not collected by the Interview Survey on small, frequently purchased items which are normally difficult to recall over longer periods of time. These include purchases of food, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and smoking supplies, personal care products and services, non-prescription drugs and medical supplies, housekeeping supplies, gas, electricity and other fuel, gasoline, motor oil, coolants and similar products, and miscellaneous items. Diary Survey data in Parts 3 and 4 are organized by survey year and consumer unit and supply information on consumer unit characteristics, family member characteristics, and discrete expenditures. Parts 5 and 6 contain data on daily purchases of food for human consumption, alcoholic beverages, ice, and pet food. Information on quantity purchased, packaging, and amount paid is provided in these files. Parts 7 and 8 record characteristics of the consumer unit with data on items such as age, sex, race, marital status, relationships of each family member, work experience, earnings, family size, number of vehicles owned, and place of residence.

United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Survey of Consumer Expenditures, 1972-1973. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-12.

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote

1972 -- 1973

Machine-readable codebooks are available for Parts 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, and 11. For Parts 1 and 2 there are at least 18 records of data for each consumer unit with 17 records of consumer unit and family member characteristics data and one or more records of purchase data. Data for the first survey year include 167,871 characteristics records and 527,575 purchase records. Data for the second survey year include 171,906 characteristics records and 534,115 purchase records. For Parts 3 and 4 there are 9 records of characteristics information and a variable number of expenditure records per consumer unit. Parts 5 and 6 contain 8 records of characteristics data and one or more records of purchase data for each consumer unit. There are 88,520 characteristics records and 637,824 purchase records for the first survey year and 96,968 characteristics records and 666,410 purchase records for the second year. Parts 7 and 8 include, for each consumer unit, 8 records of characteristics data. For Parts 9 and 10 there are 18 records of characteristics data and at least one record of value data per consumer unit. In these files characteristics records total 177,642 for the first survey year and 181,908 for the second. Value records total 903,302 and 940,322, respectively. Part 11 contains one record per consumer unit in the survey year. For Parts 12 and 13 there is a variable number of records per consumer unit and logical record lengths may vary, with the maximum being 138 characters. For the two survey years combined there are 206,561 records on major household equipment items, 332,635 records on minor household items, 19,763 records on selected house furnishings items, and 44,520 records on consumer unit vehicles.

National probability sample.

Total civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States.

personal interviews, and self-enumerated forms

survey data



2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 14 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.


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

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