Friday, December 11, 2015

Consumer expenditures vary by age

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) publishes information classified by characteristics such as income, household size, and age of the reference person. This article uses 2013 CE data to examine the relationship between age and consumer expenditures. This relationship is important because the aging of the baby-boom generation will influence the overall level and composition of consumer spending in the years to come.

Data show that:

Outlays on pensions and Social Security increased with age up to 45–54 years before declining.

The share of the food budget devoted to food at home increased with age while the share devoted to food away from home declined.

Healthcare spending, in dollar amount and as a share of the household budget, increased with age.

CE household data classified by age of the reference person show that annual expenditures and pretax income are “hump” shaped over the lifecycle, lowest for the under 25 years group, then increasing to their highest levels for the 45-54 age group and then declining for the remaining groups.

In 2013, pretax household income rose from $27,914 for the under-25 age group to $78,385 for the 35–44 age group and $78,879 for the 45–54 age group and then steadily declined to $34,097 for the 75-and-older group. Total annual expenditures followed the same pattern, increasing from $30,373 for the under-25 group to $58,784 for the 35–44 age group and $60,524 for the 45–54 age group and then declining to $34,382 for the 75-and-over group. The differences in pretax income and in total expenditures were not statistically significant between the 35–44 group and the 45–54 group.

When examining major consumption categories, however, not all follow the life cycle pattern mentioned above.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

No comments: