During 2013, changes in consumer spending varied among the seven largest categories of expenditures tracked by CE: food, housing, apparel and services, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, and personal insurance and pensions. In 2013, the increases ranged from just 0.1 percent for transportation to 2.1 percent for healthcare.
The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program provides a continuous and comprehensive flow of data on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. These data are used widely in economic research and analysis, and in support of revisions of the Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program consists of two surveys, the Quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey, that provide information on the buying habits of America's consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. The survey data are collected for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.
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.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The scope of the study includes:
- consumer behavior
- consumer expenditures
- consumer price index
- demographic characteristics
- durable goods, food costs
- household income
- income estimates
- population estimate
Food (production, crisis)
Oil & Gas
Eligible population includes all civilian non-institutional persons.
Producers and sponsors
Authoring entity/Primary investigators
United States Census Bureau
Government of USA
Samples for the CE are national probability samples of households designed to be representative of the total U.S. civilian population. Eligible population includes all civilian non-institutional persons. The first step in sampling is the selection of primary sampling units (PSUs), which consist of counties (or parts thereof) or groups of counties. The set of sample PSUs used for the 2012 and 2013 samples is composed of 91 areas. The design classifies the PSUs into four categories:
? 21 "A" certainty PSUs are Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's) with a population greater than 1.5 million.
? 38 "X" PSUs, are medium-sized MSA's.
? 16 "Y" PSUs are nonmetropolitan areas that are included in the CPI.
? 16 "Z" PSUs are nonmetropolitan areas where only the urban population data will be included in the CPI.
The sampling frame (that is, the list from which housing units were chosen) for the 2012 survey is generated from the 2000 Census of Population 100-percent-detail file. The sampling frame is augmented by new construction permits and by techniques used to eliminate recognized deficiencies in census coverage.
All Enumeration Districts (EDs) from the Census that fail to meet the criterion for good addresses for new construction, and all EDs in nonpermit-issuing areas are grouped into the area segment frame. Interviewers are then assigned to list these areas before a sample is drawn.
To the extent possible, an unclustered sample of units is selected within each PSU. This lack of clustering is desirable because the sample size of the Diary Survey is small relative to other surveys, while the intraclass correlations for expenditure characteristics are relatively large. This suggests that any clustering of the sample units could result in an unacceptable increase in the within-PSU variance and, as a result, the total variance. The Interview Survey is a panel rotation survey. Each panel is interviewed for five consecutive quarters and then dropped from the survey. As one panel leaves the survey, a new panel is introduced. Approximately 20 percent of the addresses are new to the survey each month.
The data are not weighted. However, the data files feature various weights variables that users may wish to apply during analyses. Please refer to the Interview Survey User Guide for a detailed explanation of the weighting procedures.
Dates of Data Collection (YYYY/MM/DD)
Mode of data collection
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
Characteristics of Data Collection Situation - Notes on data collection
This data collection contains the quarterly Interview Survey data, which was designed to collect data on major items of expense which respondents could be expected to recall for 3 months or longer. Items include relatively large expenditures, such as those for property, automobiles, and major durable goods, and those that occurred on a regular basis, such as rent or utilities. The Interview Survey does not collect data on expenses for housekeeping supplies, personal care products, and nonprescription drugs, which contribute about 5 to 15 percent of total expenditures.
This collection has been minimally processed. ICPSR has extracted variable label and value label information from the Interview Data Dictionary (contained within the ICPSR Codebook) and applied these labels to the corresponding data files. Additionally, UCC item codes have been applied for each UCC variable.
Type of Research Instrument
The CE program is comprised of two separate components, each with its own questionnaire and independent sample: (1) the quarterly Interview Survey, and (2) the Diary Survey.