[Excerpt] Regardless of their income, family size, or geographic location, consumers must obtain food, clothing, and housing. This report compares housing expenditures of various demographic groups.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey show that housing expenditures typically constitute the largest portion of the average consumer's outlays. In 1999, total expenditures averaged $36,995 per consumer unit (CU), of which 32.6 percent ($12,057) was allocated to total housing. Because housing is such a major expense for consumers, it is important to understand how the expenditures differ across demographic groups such as homeowners and renters, age groups, and family types. Shares, or percentages of average annual expenditures, are used to show how different groups allocate their total annual expenditures.