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Published:July 2nd, 2006 14:37 EST
Census Bureau Updating Information About Our Nation’s Spending Habits

Census Bureau Updating Information About Our Nation’s Spending Habits

By SOP newswire

In July 2006, information about how much Americans spend for health care, groceries, clothing, transportation, housing and other items will be collected by U.S. Census Bureau field representatives from a sample of households across the country.

     The Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey program consists of two separate surveys:

  • The CE Interview Survey — About 7,000 households will be interviewed once every three months to obtain data on relatively large expenditures and also for those that occur on a regular basis (such as rent and utilities).

     

  • The CE Diary Survey — During the year, another 7,000 households will keep two consecutive one-week diaries of all purchases — including small, frequently purchased items that are normally difficult for respondents to recall later (such as a fast-food purchase at a drive-thru window, a soda or candy bar from a vending machine or a carton of eggs from the supermarket).
     The Bureau of Labor Statistics then publishes integrated data from the two surveys — providing a snapshot of our nation’s economy and spending habits. Government economists use the survey results to update a “market basket” of goods and services for the Consumer Price Index, our nation’s single most widely used measure of inflation.

 

     “Findings from the Consumer Expenditure Survey program permit policymakers to assess the impact of governmental policy changes on the spending patterns of different socioeconomic groups,” said George Grandy Jr., director of the Census Bureau’s Atlanta Regional Office. “These data also help business owners track consumer spending trends, so they can better respond to the needs of their customers.”

     Before the CE interviews begin, households receive a letter from Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon informing them of their selection. Census Bureau field representatives conducting the interviews carry official photo identification badges. The law ensures survey respondents’ personal information and answers are kept confidential.

     Below is an example of CE data results:

Household Expenditures for Food: 2003-2004

Area
Average annual amount
spent for food
Percentage of total
expenditures
   
United States
$5,561
13.2
   
Northeast
$6,049
13.7
New York
 7,054
13.6
Boston
  6,578
14.2
Philadelphia
 5,622
12.6
Pittsburgh
  5,527
13.6
   
South
$5,142
13.4
Dallas-Fort Worth
 6,111
12.1
Washington, D.C.
  6,049
11.4
Miami
  5,758
14.4
Houston
 5,737
11.9
Atlanta
 5,241
14.1
Tampa
  4,750
13.2
Baltimore
  4,688
12.4
   
Midwest
$5,338
12.7
Minneapolis-St. Paul
 6,549
11.7
Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.
  6,092
13.2
Chicago
  6,023
11.9
St. Louis
 5,976
12.5
Detroit
 5,726
12.3
Cincinnati
  5,333
13.1
Milwaukee
  5,189
12.3
Cleveland
  4,589
12.4
   
West
$6,051
13.0
Los Angeles
  7,194
13.7
San Francisco
 7,108
12.7
Seattle
 6,854
13.0
Honolulu
 6,666
13.8
Anchorage
6,585
12.3
San Diego
6,545
12.1
Portland, Ore.
6,276
13.1
Denver
6,263
12.9
Phoenix
5,698
12.2

 

ATLANTA REGIONAL OFFICE

  • U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
  • Mr. George Grandy Jr., Director
  • 101 Marietta St., NW, Ste 3200
  • Atlanta, GA 30303-2700
  • Telephone: 404-730-3832