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Consumer Expenditure Survey, 1991: Interview Survey, Detailed Expenditure Files (ICPSR 6262)

Published: Jan 12, 2006

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


Version V1

The ongoing Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) provides a continuous flow of information on the buying habits of American consumers and also furnishes data to support periodic revisions of the Consumer Price Index. The survey consists of two separate components: (1) a quarterly Interview Survey in which each consumer unit in the sample is interviewed every three months over a 15-month period, and (2) a Diary Survey completed by the sample consumer units for two consecutive one-week periods. The Interview Survey was designed to collect data on major items of expense, household characteristics, and income. The expenditures covered by the survey are those that respondents can recall fairly accurately for three months or longer. In general, these expenditures include relatively large purchases, such as those for property, or expenditures that occur on a fairly regular basis, such as rent, utilities, or insurance premiums. Excluded are nonprescription drugs, household supplies, and personal care items. Including global estimates on spending for food, it is estimated that about 90 to 95 percent of expenditures are covered in the Interview Survey. The Detailed Expenditure Files that comprise this data collection were created from all the major expenditure sections of the Interview Survey questionnaires. These files contain more detailed expenditure records than those found in the Interview Survey data tapes. In addition, the Detailed Expenditure Files include family characteristics (FMLY) files and income and member characteristics (MEMB) files identical to those found in the Interview Survey.

United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Expenditure Survey, 1991:  Interview Survey, Detailed Expenditure Files. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-12.

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A new Interview Survey questionnaire was introduced beginning in April 1991, resulting in significant changes to the 1991 Interview Survey data files. Several files, including Purchases of Household Appliances, Inventory of Household Appliances, Inventory and Purchases of Owned Vehicles, Disposal of Owned Vehicles, Trips and Vacations, and Vehicle Make/Model Codes and Titles, have been moved to the Detailed Expenditure Files for 1991 and subsequent years. The documentation has been completely restructured beginning in 1991 to reflect these changes.

The Consumer Expenditure Survey is based on a national probability sample of households. Households are selected from primary sampling units (PSUs), which consist of counties (or parts thereof), groups of counties, or independent cities. The set of sample PSUs used for the survey is composed of 101 areas, of which 85 urban areas have also been selected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Consumer Price Index program. The sampling frame from which housing units were selected was generated from the 1980 Census 100-percent detail file, augmented by new construction permits and coverage improvement techniques used to eliminate recognized deficiencies in that census. The sample design is a rotating panel survey in which one-fifth of the sample is dropped and a new group added each quarter. Each panel is interviewed for five consecutive quarters and then dropped from the survey.

Total civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States.

personal interviews

survey data



2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 64 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.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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