Thursday, April 12, 2012

US Consumers Spend Less On Food And Clothing Than In Other Countries

From Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Office of Publications & Special Studies, "Current Spending Topics: How do U.S. expenditures compare with those of other countries?" in Focus on Prices and Spending | Consumer Expenditure | Volume 2, Number 16:
In Japan, consumers spent more than 17 percent of every yen on groceries, more than twice the 8.3 percent of every dollar that Americans spent. In the United States, households spent almost 7 cents of every dollar on health care, compared with just 1.4 pence of every pound in the United Kingdom. This article compares how consumers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan allocated different shares of total spending to categories such as food, housing, and transportation in 2009. Such variation can be expected, given differences in cultural tastes, the relative availability of goods and services, and institutional factors, such as government regulation and tax laws, among those countries. As shown in chart 1, housing and health care shares of total expenditures were higher in the United States than in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan in 2009, whereas Americans had the lowest clothing (or apparel) share. Canada had the highest clothing and transportation shares, and Japan had the highest food share, among the countries compared.

Table 1. Shares of total expenditures for selected categories, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Japan, 2009
CategoryUnited States   Canada   United Kingdom   Japan   
    Food at home
    Food away from home
    Public transportation
    All other transportation
Health care
Culture/entertainment, and recreation
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
Other categories(1)
(1) Including miscellaneous expenditure shares and categories that are unique to a particular country. Because these categories were different for each country, they were not used in direct comparisons in this article.

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