Consumer Spending by Income Quintiles

We’re getting ready to leave early tomorrow morning for another trip to the East Coast that may or may not be  cut short (perhaps very short) by Hurricane Sandy and, in tidying things up a bit prior to our departure, I came across a draft post reminding me to make up a chart with this data on consumer spending.

This follows Income, Taxes, and Spending from about a month ago that used the same data, but focusing just on the spending portion seemed like a worthwhile exercise and that is shown below.

There are some obvious takeaways here, such as spending on housing and food in dollar terms growing considerably when moving from left to right, from $13K to $41K, but, at the same time, shrinking in percentage terms, from 57 percent of all spending to 44 percent. The biggest differences in monthly budgets between the rich and the poor come from the food at home and housing categories that, combined, range from 51 percent at the lower end to just 37 percent at the upper end

But, there are some other intriguing tidbits, such as an 8-to-1 difference in percentage terms for spending on insurance and pensions between the highest and lowest 20 percent, an astounding 36-to-1 in dollar terms. Also, most categories are very consistent in percentage terms, such as spending on food away from home that varies from 5.0 to 5.5 percent, spending on alcohol that ranges from 0.8 percent to 1.1 percent, and entertainment spending that varies from 4.5 percent to 5.4 percent.

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