Statistical Handbook on Consumption and Wealth in the United States

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

G. Consumption--Travel, Leisure, and Other Non-Essentials

GENERAL OVERVIEW

This section details the more discretionary aspect of individual consumption in the United States. It explores travel and leisure time activity, such as entertainment and sports, along with spending on charity and philanthropy.

The data presented here offer the user a highly detailed account of non-essential spending in the United States. The data are presented across a wide variety of variables, including such features as age, income level, and regional and state-by-state comparisons. This exploration of travel, leisure, and other non-essential consumption patterns rounds out the picture of the U.S. consumer painted in this volume.


EXPLANATION OF INDICATORS

G1. Travel by U.S. Residents: The first grouping (two charts and two tables) presents detailed information on amount of travel in the United States. The first two charts present a time series ( 1985 to 1997) across two variables: total trips and person trips (the number of individual trips taken alone or with other parties). The two tables that follow break down the yearly totals into business, pleasure, and vacation trips, allowing users to gain a broad understanding of travel trends in recent years.

G2. Characteristics of Trips: The two tables that follow, one on travel for business and one on travel for pleasure, present various characteristics of business and pleasure trips, including such elements as average household members on trip and renting a car while traveling. These data are presented for selected years across a 13- year period ( 1985 to 1997).

G3. Domestic Travel Expenditures, by State: The next table presents expenditures on travel on a state-by- state basis. Presenting a snapshot at mid-decade ( 1995), the data help to illustrate regional trends in travel spending.

G4. Media Usage and Consumer Spending: The next grouping--two sets of one chart and two tables each--presents the amount of usage and spending from 1990 to 1998 across various media categories, including television, radio, newspapers, and books. The first set covers media usage in terms of average hours per person per year and the next set includes media spending in the same terms. The data in these sets allow users to explore the extent to which the U.S. consumer relies on media for entertainment, communications, and other purposes, and the exact types of media that occupy the most time and command the most of the average consumer's budget.

G5. Books, Quantity Sold, and Expenditure: The next two charts, each coupled with a table, show the volume of consumer book consumption across a 15-year span, from 1982 to 1996, both in terms of number of units purchased and amount of money spent. The charts show the total units and dollars and the tables break down the totals into various categories of book publishing, such as trade, reference, textbooks, etc.

G6. Book Purchasing by Adults--Total, Mass Market, Trade, and Hardcover: The next two tables show the percentage of purchases in each category-- mass market, trade, and hardcover--against the total. Two years, 1991 and 1996, are shown, allowing the user to make comparisons over the short-term time span. Each category is analyzed according to a set of variables that includes age, size of household, and income level, among others.

G7. Newspapers--Number and Circulation: The next two tables show the number and circulation of daily and Sunday newspapers, by state. They present a snap- shot of the most recent year available, 1997. The daily newspaper table also shows circulation per capita, which helps the user to compare daily consumption of newspapers across regional boundaries in terms of the population.

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