Thursday, August 27, 2015

How Spending Has Changed Since World War II

The average American household spends differently than its counterpart did in the 1940s, according to an analysis in the Monthly Labor Review. Here are the most striking changes in the share of the household budget devoted to...

Food and alcohol (-19.7 percentage points)
2013: 16.2%
1944: 35.9%

Housing (+14.1 percentage points)
2013: 40.2%
1944: 26.1%

Clothing (-12.7 percentage points)
2013: 3.3%
1944: 16.0%

Transportation (+14.1 percentage points)
2013: 20.4%
1944: 6.3%

Medical care (+2.7 percentage points)
2013: 8.2%
1944: 5.5%

The share of household spending devoted to recreation and entertainment climbed from 2.8 to 5.6 percent between 1944 and 2013, and the share devoted to education more than tripled—growing from just 0.6 to 2.1 percent. Conversely, the share of household spending devoted to tobacco fell from 2.0 to 0.7 percent, and the share devoted to reading plummeted from 1.1 to just 0.2 percent. Note: For comparative purposes, spending data are adjusted to exclude gift purchases, cash contributions, personal insurance, and pensions.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, Consumer Spending in World War II: the Forgotten Consumer Expenditure Surveys

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