Consumer Expenditure Survey (USA)
The Consumer Expenditure Survey prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides observations on American household spending on goods and services. The survey consists of two parts:
The Interview Survey is conducted with each consumer unit every three months over five calendar quarters. Interviews are designed to capture detailed data on an estimated 60% to 70% of total family expenditures. Estimates of an additional 20% to 25% of total expenditures are obtained for food and other items. Expenses reported in the Interview Survey are relatively large, such as property, automobiles and major appliances - or are expenses occuring on a regular basis, such as rent, utility bills and insurance premiums.
The Diary Survey is completed by the respondent family for two consecutive one-week periods. The Diary Survey collects detailed data on small, frequently-purchased items "which may be difficult to remember." These items include detailed expenditures for food and beverages, housekeeping supplies and services, non-prescription drugs and personal care products and services.
Waves 1996-2018 are accessible via the Bureau of Labor Statistics site. Download instructions are here.
Earlier waves are accessible via the ICPSR data archive (see below under 'How to Access Data'). Download of ICPSR-hosted CES files is by EUI Library administrator only.
A Consumer Expenditure Survey glossary is on this Bureau of Labour Statistics page.
Documentation on consumer expenditures and incomes is available on this web page.
Supporting documentation for the Consumer Expenditure Survey is available at 005.369-CEx in the EUI Manuals Collection at the Badia Library. This includes the Multiple Imputation Manual; the Consumer Expenditure Diary Survey; and Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey documentation.
See also the EUI Library page for the Survey of Consumer Finances (US Federal Reserve).
Waves 1996-2017 are accessible via the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.
Earlier waves are accessible via the ICPSR data archive:
- Locate the required Consumer Expenditure Survey in the ICPSR data catalogue
- Send the Study Number(s) by email to [email protected], indicating the format in which the data is required (eg. Stata)
- Medium-sized sets are sent via email attachment. Larger sets are placed on the FTP server (with link by e-mail).
Users should consult the ICT page on compressed / zipped files.
Users should read the University of Michigan's ICPSR Responsible Use statement.
Consumer Expenditure Survey data is mainly composed of ASCII files, compatible with Stata. Consult this Tutorial on Loading and Using Data on Windows.
See also the EUI Library resource page for the Survey of Consumer Finances.
Contact: Thomas Bourke at [email protected]