Unexpectedly Intriguing!
October 19, 2015

The Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2014 was released last month, which means that it's time to update our charts showing how much money Americans spend and on what!

Our first chart shows the average annual expenditures for all major expense categories for data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1984 through 2014 per "consumer unit" - the affectionate term that the data jocks at the U.S. Census and BLS use to describe the targets of their statistical data samples, which roughly corresponds to households:

Average Annual Expenditures per Consumer Unit, 1984-2014

In the table above, we're renamed the general "Health Care" expense category to instead be "Health Insurance & Other Medical Expenses" since that description more accurately captures where American consumer health care expenditures really go. Our next chart shows the percentage share of each of the major expenditure categores for each year from 1984 through 2014:

Percent Share of Average Annual Expenditures per Consumer Unit, 1984-2014

Perhaps the most remarkable observation here is the sharp increase in the share of average annual consumer spending that is now being taken up the "Health Insurance & Other Medical Expenses" category in 2014, the first full year of operation for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's health insurance government-operated"marketplaces", in which Americans were mandated to either acquire costly and bloated health insurance coverage or else pay the more affordable option of higher income taxes.

Our final chart shows how these percentage shares stack up with respect to the total average annual expenditures of American consumers from 1984 through 2014, which gives a sense of the overall trends of where Americans have spent their consumer dollars over time.

Major Categories of Consumer Spending as Share of Average Annual Total Expenditures, 1984-2014, 1984-2014

We'll be exploring the rather dramatic upward bend in the average cost of health care driven by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in upcoming posts.

Data Sources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Expenditure Survey. Multiyear Tables. [PDF Documents: 1984-1991, 1992-1999, 2000-2005, 2006-2012, 2013-2014]. Reference URL: http://www.bls.gov/cex/csxmulti.htm. Accessed 18 October 2015.

Labels: ,

About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

Recent Posts

Stock Charts and News

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

This site is primarily powered by:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

CSS Validation

Valid CSS!

RSS Site Feed

AddThis Feed Button


The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

Other Cool Resources

Blog Roll

Market Links

Useful Election Data
Charities We Support
Shopping Guides
Recommended Reading
Recently Shopped

Seeking Alpha Certified

Legal Disclaimer

Materials on this website are published by Political Calculations to provide visitors with free information and insights regarding the incentives created by the laws and policies described. However, this website is not designed for the purpose of providing legal, medical or financial advice to individuals. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal, medical or financial advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws can change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts. If you have an individual problem, you should seek advice from a licensed professional in your state, i.e., by a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case.