In 2014, U.S. consumers spent almost 19 percent of every dollar on transportation, which is 87 percent higher than what Japan spent. U.S. households also spent about 9 percent on out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures, which was over 5 times higher than the U.K. Expenditure shares are the percentages of total expenditures allotted to each spending category. Japan’s share of food expenditures was the highest among the three countries. The United States had increases in expenditure shares of transportation and healthcare from 2009 to 2014.
This Beyond the Numbers article explores how consumer expenditure shares for selected components have changed in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan from 2009 to 2014. Consumer expenditure shares usually do not fluctuate much in the short term and are more useful for identifying long-term spending trends than for examining percent changes in expenditures from year to year. For this analysis, BLS harmonizes the spending categories so that we can make valid comparisons between the countries. In order to provide comparisons of the international shares data to U.S. shares data for this report, several adjustments are made to ensure the consistency of components that make up an expenditure category.