Consumer Expenditure Survey Summary Tables (ICPSR 36170)
Version Date: Jan 10, 2022 View help for published
Version V9 (see more versions)
Summary View help for Summary
The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program consists of two surveys: the quarterly Interview survey and the annual Diary survey. Combined, these two surveys provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. The survey data are collected for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The CE collects all on all spending components including food, housing, apparel and services, transportation, entertainment, and out-of-pocket health care costs.
The CE tables are an easy-to-use tool for obtaining arts-related spending estimates. They feature several arts-related spending categories, including the following items:
Spending on Admissions
- Plays, theater, opera, and concerts
- Movies, parks, and museums
Spending on Reading
- Newspapers and magazines
- Digital book readers
Spending on Other Arts-Related Items
- Musical instruments
- Photographic equipment
- Audio-visual equipment
- Toys, games, arts and crafts
The CE is important because it is the only Federal survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers. It is used by economic policymakers examining the impact of policy changes on economic groups, by the Census Bureau as the source of thresholds for the Supplemental Poverty Measure, by businesses and academic researchers studying consumers' spending habits and trends, by other Federal agencies, and, perhaps most importantly, to regularly revise the Consumer Price Index market basket of goods and services and their relative importance.
The most recent data tables are for 2020 and include: 1) Detailed tables with the most granular level of expenditure data available, along with variances and percent reporting for each expenditure item, for all consumer units (listed as "Other" in the Download menu); and 2) Tables with calendar year aggregate shares by demographic characteristics that provide annual aggregate expenditures and shares across demographic groups (listed as "Excel" in the Download menu).
Also, see Featured CE Tables and Economic News Releases sections on the CE home page for current data tables and news release. The 1980 through 2020 CE public-use microdata, including Interview Survey data, Diary Survey data, and paradata (information about the data collection process), are available on the CE website.
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The full data collection is not available from NADAC. Users should consult the Consumer Expenditure Survey website for details on obtaining the data and other resources. For more information about the BLS unpublished CE tables, please contact BLS CE staff at CEXInfo@bls.gov.
Tables with quintiles of income before taxes show, for example, that United States consumers spent an average of $425 on fees and admissions for entertainment in 2020. However, that spending ranged from a low of $99 in the lowest spending percentile (the lowest 20 percent) to a high of $1,202 in the highest spending percentile (the highest 20 percent).
The detailed tables are available from 2013-2020. Caution should be taken when analyzing expenditure subcategories in the detailed tables. Users need to consider that some estimates on these tables are subject to high variance. For more information on variability, see How does the variability of Consumer Expenditures data impact your analysis.
Users planning to use the BLS unpublished integrated CE data tables are cautioned to read the BLS explanatory letter accompanying the tables. The letter explains that estimates of average expenditures on detailed spending items (such as the arts-related spending items listed above) may be unreliable due to so few reports of expenditures for those items.
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Version History View help for Version History
2022-01-10 The collection has been updated with the data tables from the most recent time period (2020), as well as PDF versions of the detailed tables from 2013-2020.
2021-05-27 The collection has been updated with the data tables from the most recent time period (2019).
2020-04-21 The collection has been updated with the data tables from the most recent time period (2018).
2019-04-29 The collection has been updated with the data tables from the most recent time period (2017). Also, one infographic has been added to this collection.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. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Expenditure Survey Summary Tables. ICPSR36170-v9. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2022-01-10. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36170.v9
2017-10-25 The collection has been updated with the infographic and data tables from the most recent time period (2016).
2017-02-20 The collection has been updated with the infographic and data tables from the most recent time period (2015).
2016-09-30 The title has been updated to indicate that a collection of data tables are provided with this project. Also, at least one infographic has been added to this collection.
2016-02-05 The data tables have been updated with data from the most recent time period, which is 2014.
The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.