Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out thousands of pages of data assigning spending figures to age, race and sexual orientation. How someone chooses to spend their money says a lot about that individual, but what about their ethnicity.
MyBankTracker took a look at six spending categories: personal care, education, pets/toys and hobbies, entertainment and alcohol, to see the differences in consumer spending among ethnic groups. Although there were marginal differences the only one large enough to be noted was among education spending. According to the figures compiled by MyBankTracker.com, Asian individuals spend nearly twice the average on Education, while African Americans fell a little behind average spending. People who marked their ethnicity as white, spent more in all of the categories except for education and personal care—where African Americans took the lead.
Below is a table displaying the percent of income each ethnicity spends on the various items.
Item White Asian Black Average
Personal Care 1% .08% 1.2% 1%
Education 1.7% 3.1% 1.4% 1.7%
Pets, Toys, Hobbies 1.2% .04% .06% 1.1%
Entertainment 5% 3% 4% 4.4%
Alcohol .8% .5% .5% .7%
*The entertainment category includes; fees and admissions, audio and visual equipment and services, Pets, toys, hobbies, and playground equipment, other entertainment supplies, equipment, and services.
Since this survey has been conducted (2009) there have been large changes in education costs, especially in tuition rates. As tuition costs increase and college debt rises, an emphasis on saving for college as well as managing student loans has become critical to many families. The survey looked at households across various demographics and although education was not the highest expense in items considered it is still one of the more serious expenses for house holds preparing for college expenses.
How the Data was Collected
This data is based off the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most recent CE report is from 2009 and included spending across various food items, utilities, apparel, transportation and healthcare. The spending per item across race was divided by yearly income after taxes are taken out. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses two surveys, the quarterly Interview Survey, and the Diary Survey, both provide data on the buying habits of American consumers (i.e income, expenditures, and consumer unit characteristics). The surveys are collected by the U.S Census Bureau and broken down into three different ethnic categories, white (All other races includes Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, and approximately 1 percent reporting more than one race), Asian and Black.