The chart below shows the breakdown of the average U.S. household yearly expenditure in 2007. I removed the “pensions and social security” category from the total, since this category should be seen as a tax, a benefit or savings rather than as an expense. I also carried out some grouping of expenditure categories for visual clarity. Some of the low expense categories, for example, were grouped under the heading “other” together with the category “miscellaneous”.

When comparing expenditure patterns for higher and lower income households (under $70,000 vs. over $70,000), it turned out that the proportions allocated to each of the categories are quite stable – with differences of no more than 2% in each category, and no obvious trends.

Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey.


The following chart shows the trend of average weekly work hours per person in the U.S. and the trend of CPI-adjusted median U.S. household income. Both quantities rose by about 25% over the last 45 years.

Average weekly work hours per person are calculated as weekly work hours aggregates (total workers times average hours per worker) divided by the total size of the population (including non-workers of all ages). CPI-adjusted household income is shown in 2008 dollars.