Statistical Handbook on Consumption and Wealth in the United States

By Chandrika Kaul; Valerie Tomaselli-Moschovitis | Go to book overview

Introduction

OVERVIEW

The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Its wealth can be measured not merely by examining data on the top economic "performers" of the country, but by examining the variety and amount of goods and services that all types of individuals and entities consume. Consumption and the habits of consumption "trickle down" to all levels of the economy. And what might be considered excessive consumption or, at least, a high level of spending on discretionary items--pets, sports, and recreation, for example--is a feature of many demographic and economic groups throughout the country.

Consumerism in the United States, and the wealth that undergirds it, has been a topic of much public attention and research in recent years. This Statistical Handbook provides users a systematic statistical portrait of wealth and consumption, two aspects of our economy that help to define economic, political, and cultural experiences in the United States.

Many of the data presented in this volume are explored across a wide range of economic, demographic, and geographic variables, allowing users a detailed depiction of wealth and spending in various individual and corporate populations. Researchers will be able to locate a wide variety of highly specific data, from the amount of money spent on particular cuts of meat to the amount spent on admission to sporting events, such as baseball games and greyhound races.

Most data are presented in short-term timeframes-- within the last 10 years--or in snapshots of recent years. In some instances, when applicable and available, long- or mid-range timeframes are used to give a deeper historical context to key indicators.


CONTENT AND ORGANIZATION

Organized into eight sections covering such topics as personal and business wealth, consumption of material goods, consumption of services, and the role of government in wealth and consumption, the volume offers a sampling of data in some of the most important topics of this broad-ranging subject. Section A presents an overview involving basic economic data that detail the structure and performance of the U.S. economy. From this background information, Section B covers personal and household income and wealth, presenting information on income, savings, and investment. Section C investigates business wealth--including its sources and uses, and how businesses create and use wealth.

Section D turns the discussion to consumption, presenting an overview of household spending in the United States. It includes data on basic expenditure categories-- food, clothing, housing, etc.--broken out across such variables as household sizes and types, race and ethnicity, etc. Sections E through G explore consumption in more detail: Section E covers material goods, Section F covers services, and Section G covers travel, leisure, and other non-essentials.

The final section, Section H, explores government's role in generating wealth and consumption in the United States, at both the national and state level. This government role involves several important functions concerning income and expenditures, including both supporting income and wealth generation through policy initiatives and contributing to spending on its own in support of public interests.


SOURCES, METHODOLOGY, AND PRESENTATION

The data in this volume are from several sources, predominantly from governmental agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Often, the tables are reproduced exactly; however, in some instances, the tables are modified to make the information more understandable and readable for the user. Such modifications include breaking tables up into several different tables, re-labeling to ensure clarity and

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Statistical Handbook on Consumption and Wealth in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents iii
  • Introduction v
  • List of Tables and Charts vii
  • A. General Economic Data 1
  • B. Personal, Family, and Household Income and Wealth 22
  • C. Business and Corporate Wealth 77
  • D. Overview of Consumption 97
  • E. Consumption--Material Goods 121
  • F. Consumption-----Services 177
  • G. Consumption--Travel, Leisure, and Other Non-Essentials 215
  • H. the Role of Government 254
  • Appendix: International Perspective 273
  • Index 281
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