Per Capita Food Spending

NVhen adjusted for inflation, U.S. per capita spending of urban households on food for consumption at home declined more than 6 percent from 1980 to 1988, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the other hand, inflation-adjusted (real) per person away-from-home food spending rose more than 10 percent. The net of these two changes was a small decline in real total per person food spending. These averages, however, mask the fact that some population groups spent much less in 1988, after adjusting for inflation, while others spent more. For example, total food spending grew rapidly for single people, while spending declined sharply for households with six or more members. Single people spent almost twice as much on weekly food per person as five-member households— $36.73 versus $19.23 in 1988. Per person food spending declines as household size increases, but larger households have a much larger total food bill than smaller households. In 1988, for example, one-person households spent $36.73 weekly and five-person households spent $96.15. Nevertheless, household food spending does not increase proportionately with household size because larger households can take advantage of economies of size (such as buying in bulk), tend to have more children (who eat smaller portions), and tend to buy a different mix of food.

Issue Date:
Jul 07 1991
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Published in:
Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, Volume 14, Issue 3
Page range:

 Record created 2017-12-18, last modified 2018-01-22

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