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28th November
written by simplelight

The Hudson Institute has a good article on the spending profiles of Americans.

Interestingly enough:

Last year Americans in the lowest income quintile spent an average of $11,247 per person, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with $15,843 for middle income quintiles, and $28,272 for the top quintile. The top group is spending only 2.5 times as much as the bottom group, and 1.8 times as much as the middle classes. This is not major inequality.

Tracking spending is vital because it is a better indicator of living standards than income and is a more reliable measure of our confidence in the future. Fortunately,

… a glance at per-person spending over the past 20 years shows that all groups are spending more in real terms. To humbly contradict the soon-to-be Senator Webb, everyone has grown richer over the past 20 years.

The lowest quintile is spending 14% more in 2005 than it was in 1985, the second quintile 16%, the third quintile 11%, the fourth 13%, and the top quintile is spending an additional 16%.

There’s no striking inequality there, especially since people don’t just stay in one quintile. Many have moved up to other quintiles in the 20-year time period as they get older and more experienced and marry other earners.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data also provide a window on changes in our society. The bottom quintile is spending 120% more on audio and visual equipment and services, compared with the category of TVs and radios from 1985. The top quintile is spending only 31% more. Comcast and Netflix, take note.

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