Average Household Budget in America of February 2024

ElitePersonalFinance
Last Update: September 25, 2023 Save Money Studies
View All Studies

The results are in, and Americans’ average annual household expenditures totaled $61,334 in 2020. And while the metric declined year-over-year (YoY), Americans’ average pre-tax household income increased to $84,352.

To explain, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) latest Consumer Expenditures Survey shows that Americans’ average pre-tax income increased by 1.8% YoY in 2020, while Americans’ average household expenditures decreased by 2.7% YoY.

However, will Americans household expenses likely increase in 2021? And how did the pandemic impact the BLS’ findings? Read on for more information.

Average Household Budget and Expenses in America of February 2024: Statistics and Key Findings

Americans’ average pre-tax income increased by 1.8% YoY in 2020, while Americans’ average household expenditures decreased by 2.7% YoY.

Americans’ expenditures at restaurants declined by 32.6% YoY in 2020, while alcoholic beverages fell by 17.4% YoY, clothing fell by 23.8% YoY, and public transportation plunged by 66.3% YoY. Conversely, Americans’ expenditures on reading materials increased by 23.9% YoY, while spending on homemade meals increased by 6.4% YoY.

Americans allocated the highest proportion of their average pre-tax household income (APTHI) to housing (25.4%), transportation (11.6%), and food (8.7%). Conversely, Americans allocated the lowest proportion of their APTHI to reading materials (0.1%), tobacco and cigarettes (0.4%), and alcoholic beverages (0.6%).

Americans’ average annual household expenditures have increased by a 2.30% CAGR from the end of 2014 until the end of 2020.

Americans’ spending on cash contributions (4.16%), pensions/insurance (4.0%), and healthcare (3.18%) recorded the highest increases over the last six years. Conversely, Americans’ spending on clothing (-3.59%), tobacco and cigarettes (-0.21%), and personal care products/services (0.03%) recorded the lowest increases over the last six years.

By Region:

Households in the northeast ($95,329) and the west ($91,964) earn the highest APTHI in the United States.

Average annual household spending in the northeast and the west are more than $10,000 higher than in the south, and both regions also spend over $7,000 more than similar households in the midwest.

By State:

Americans in Hawaii ($2,731), New Jersey ($2,562), and California ($2,529) incur the highest monthly expenses in the U.S, while Americans in West Virginia ($1,485), Arkansas ($1,534), and Mississippi ($1,567) incur the lowest monthly expenses in the U.S.

Americans in Louisiana (45.0%), Florida (42.0%), and Montana (42.0%) allocate the highest proportion of their monthly household incomes to bill payments, while Americans in Utah (32.0%), Nebraska (33.0%), and Virginia (33.0%) allocate the lowest proportion of their monthly household incomes to bill payments.

By Family Size:

Two-person American households generate APTHI that’s 2.13x one-person households.

Only life insurance and pension outlay (2.28x) for two-person households are more than double their one-person counterparts. Healthcare (1.93x), entertainment (1.91x), and transportation (1.88x) are near the 2x threshold.

Four-person families only spend 81% of what two-person households spend on alcoholic beverages, and they only spend 84% of what two-person families spend on reading. Likewise, four-person households (0.96x) spend less on healthcare than two-person households.

By Income:

Americans that earn $29,999 or less per year allocate roughly 43% of their annual budgets to housing. Conversely, Americans that earn $100,000 or more per year allocate approximately 32% of their yearly budgets to housing.

Transportation costs for Americans that earn $50,000 to $69,999 per year are 18.0% of their household budgets. Conversely, transportation costs for Americans that make $200,000 or more per year are only 13.3% of their household budgets.

Americans that earn $150,000 to $199,999 per year allocate 1.2% of their household budgets to alcoholic beverages, while Americans that earn $30,000 to $39,000 per year only allocate 0.5% of their household budgets to alcoholic drinks.

Americans that make $200,000 or more per year allocate 5.3% of their household budgets to entertainment, while Americans that earn $50,000 to $69,999 per year only allocate 3.9% of their household budgets to entertainment.

By Gender:

Single men have APTHI of $48,994, while single women have APTHI of $35,530.

The average single male spends $40,350 per year to finance his lifestyle, while the average single female spends $37,100 to fund hers.

Single men spend 2.04x and 2.02x single women on tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.

Single men only spend 41%, 65%, and 77% of what single women spend on personal care, reading materials, and healthcare.

By Race:

Black Americans made up 12.4% of the U.S. population in 2020. However, Black Americans only exceeded 12.4% of the consolidated average household expenditures in apparel and services at 12.5%.

Hispanic Americans made up 18.7% of the U.S. population in 2020. However, their share of consolidated household spending in all categories is below their population average.

Asian Americans made up 6% of the U.S. population in 2020. And Asian Americans account for 10.8% of consolidated household spending on education — well above their population average.

Average Household Budget and Expenses in America of February 2024: Charts, Graph, Analysis

Average Household Expenses in America of February 2024

With COVID-19 forcing Americans to change their spending habits, pandemic-related weakness was present in leisure, hospitality, and entertainment expenditures.

For example, the BLS data shows that Americans’ expenditures at restaurants declined by 32.6% YoY in 2020. Similarly, alcoholic beverages fell by 17.4% YoY, clothing fell by 23.8% YoY, and public transportation plunged by 66.3% YoY. Conversely, Americans’ expenditures on reading materials increased by 23.9% YoY, while spending on homemade meals increased by 6.4% YoY.

As expected, Americans allocated the highest proportion of their average pre-tax household income (APTHI) to housing (25.4%), transportation (11.6%), and food (8.7%). Conversely, Americans allocated the lowest proportion of their APTHI to reading materials (0.1%), tobacco and cigarettes (0.4%), and alcoholic beverages (0.6%).

Average Annual Household Expenditure:2018:2019:2020:Average Per Month:Change:% of APTHI:
Housing20,09120,67921,40917843.5%25.4%
Shelter11,74712,19012,60410503.4%14.9%
Transportation9,76110,7429,826819-8.5%11.6%
Owned dwellings6,6786,7977,4736239.9%8.9%
Food7,9238,1697,316610-10.4%8.7%
Personal insurance and pensions7,2967,1657,2466041.1%8.6%
Pensions and Social Security6,8316,6456,7605631.7%8.0%
Healthcare4,9685,1935,177431-0.3%6.1%
Food at home4,4644,6434,9424126.4%5.9%
Vehicle purchases (net outlays)3,9754,3944,5233772.9%5.4%
Rented dwellings4,2494,4324,408367-0.5%5.2%
Health insurance3,4053,5293,6673063.9%4.3%
Entertainment3,2263,0502,912243-5.8%3.5%
Food away from home3,4593,5262,375198-32.6%2.8%
Cash contributions1,8881,9952,28319014.4%2.7%
Gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil2,1092,0941,568131-25.1%1.9%
Household operations1,5221,5701,465122-6.7%1.7%
Apparel and services1,8661,8831,434120-23.8%1.7%
Education1,4071,4431,271106-11.9%1.5%
Miscellaneous993899907760.9%1.1%
Medical services90998486472-12.2%1.0%
equipment816821859724.6%1.0%
Housekeeping supplies747766837709.3%1.0%
Personal care products and services76878664654-17.8%0.8%
equipment, and services6143895794848.8%0.7%
Other household supplies4314585364517.0%0.6%
Alcoholic beverages58357947840-17.4%0.6%
Fees and admissions76688042535-51.7%0.5%
Personal services47248934729-29.0%0.4%
Tobacco products and smoking supplies34732031526-1.6%0.4%
Public and other transportation81878126322-66.3%0.3%
Medical supplies17219417014-12.4%0.2%
Reading108921141023.9%0.1%
Total Average Annual Household Expenditures$61,224$63,036$61,334$5,111-2.7% 
Average Pre-Tax Household Income$78,635$82,852$84,352$7,0291.8% 

Historical Average U.S. Household Spending

When smoothing out the data over several years, American wage growth had been outpacing inflation. For example, from the end of 2014 until the end of 2020, average hourly earnings increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.28%. And lagging the metric, the headline U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by a 1.71% CAGR during that same timeframe.

As a result, real (inflation-adjusted) wages in the U.S. grew at a 1.57% CAGR before the pandemic. In a nutshell: the data means that Americans’ incomes had been outpacing their cost of living. And while Americans’ average annual household expenditures have increased by a 2.30% CAGR from the end of 2014 until the end of 2020, real incomes were still in pole position.

However, with the BLS revealing on Dec. 10 that real average hourly earnings declined by 1.9% YoY, inflation now has the upper hand. And while all of the recent price increases will likely elicit a YoY rise in the BLS’ mid-year Consumer Expenditures Survey, how has the data stacked up over the last six years?

Average Annual Household Expenditure:2014:2015:2016:2017:2018:2019:2020:$ Up/Down:
Housing17,79818,40918,88619,88420,09120,67921,409730
Transportation9,0739,5039,0499,5769,76110,7429,826-916
Food6,7597,0237,2037,7297,9238,1697,316-853
Personal insurance and pensions5,7266,3496,8316,7717,2967,1657,24681
Healthcare4,2904,3424,6124,9284,9685,1935,177-16
Entertainment2,7282,8422,9133,2033,2263,0502,912-138
Cash contributions1,7881,8192,0811,8731,8881,9952,283288
Apparel and services1,7861,8461,8031,8331,8661,8831,434-449
Education1,2361,3151,3291,4911,4071,4431,271-172
Miscellaneous7828719591,0109938999078
Personal care products/services645683707762768786646-140
Alcoholic beverages463515484558583579478-101
Tobacco/smoking products319349337332347320315-5
Reading1031141181101089211422
Total Average Annual Household Expenditures$53,496$55,980$57,312$60,060$61,224$63,036$61,334-$1,702

Outpacing the household average, Americans’ spending on cash contributions (4.16%) — which includes outlays like child support, family care, and political/religious donations — pensions/insurance (4.0%), and healthcare (3.18%) recorded the highest increases over the last six years.

On the flip side, Americans’ spending on clothing (-3.59%), tobacco and cigarettes (-0.21%), and personal care products/services (0.03%) recorded the lowest increases over the last six years.

Average U.S. Household Spending by Region

With households in the northeast ($95,329) and the west ($91,964) earning the highest APTHI in the United States, their spending habits are also more extravagant. For example, average annual household spending in the northeast and the west are more than $10,000 higher than in the south. Likewise, both regions also spend over $7,000 more than similar households in the midwest.

Furthermore, households in the northeast and the west also spend more on housing and food than their southern and midwestern counterparts. Conversely, Americans in the south and the midwest allocate higher proportions of their household budgets to transportation and healthcare.

For example, Americans in the northeast and the west allocate 13.2% and 15.2% of their household budgets to transportation. However, Americans in the south and the midwest allocate 17.5% and 17.2%, respectively. Similarly, Americans in the northeast and the west allocate 7.3% and 7.4% of their household budgets to healthcare. However, Americans in the south and the midwest allocate 9.1% and 9.6%, respectively.

Average Annual Household Expenditure:Total:Northeast:Midwest:South:West:
Food7,3168,2946,9216,4778,398
Alcoholic beverages478587500382539
Housing21,40925,19519,26819,02924,548
Apparel and services1,4341,8001,5151,1911,496
Transportation9,8269,03510,2819,74510,146
Healthcare5,1775,0065,7395,0984,916
Entertainment2,9123,1133,3682,3783,242
Personal care products/services646659673568747
Reading114128113106116
Education1,2712,3689371,0691,082
Tobacco products/smoking products315313347339246
Miscellaneous9071,0988088161,007
Cash contributions2,2832,6322,1972,0082,561
Personal insurance and pensions7,2468,3677,0006,5917,724
Total Average Annual Household Expenditures$61,334$68,596$59,667$55,797$66,769

Average U.S. Household Spending by State

Breaking down the data by state, Doxo — an online platform that helps Americans streamline their monthly bill payments — analyzed consumers’ spending habits across more than 30,000 zip codes.

For context, Doxo compared Americans’ monthly expenses to their incomes in each state to determine the most affordable and least affordable jurisdictions. In addition, the data tracks the regular monthly outlays that confront most Americans: mortgage payments, rent, utility payments (like heat electricity, cable, internet, phone), auto and insurance payments, home security, and life/health insurance payments.

To that point, Americans in Hawaii ($2,731), New Jersey ($2,562), and California ($2,529) incur the highest monthly expenses in the U.S. Conversely, Americans in West Virginia ($1,485), Arkansas ($1,534), and Mississippi ($1,567) incur the lowest monthly expenses in the U.S.

However, for a more accurate depiction, it’s essential to analyze Americans’ monthly expenses as a proportion of their monthly incomes. And with Americans in Louisiana (45.0%), Florida (42.0%), and Montana (42.0%) allocating the highest proportion of their monthly household incomes to bill payments, their relative cost of living is the highest in the U.S.

On the flip side, with Americans in Utah (32.0%), Nebraska (33.0%), and Virginia (33.0%) allocating the lowest proportion of their monthly household incomes to bill payments, their relative cost of living is the lowest in the U.S.

State:Amount Spent Per Month:% of Household Income:% Above/Below the National Average:
Hawaii$2,73141.0%44.6%
New Jersey$2,56236.0%35.7%
California$2,52939.0%33.9%
Alaska$2,48438.0%31.5%
Massachusetts$2,46436.0%30.5%
Maryland$2,35633.0%24.7%
Connecticut$2,31134.0%22.3%
New York$2,25237.0%19.2%
Washington$2,19936.0%16.4%
New Hampshire$2,18834.0%15.8%
Colorado$2,14736.0%13.7%
Rhode Island,$2,14739.0%13.6%
Wyoming$2,10741.0%11.5%
Virginia$2,10133.0%11.2%
Vermont$2,07341.0%9.8%
Oregon$2,07140.0%9.6%
Minnesota$2,00734.0%6.3%
Florida$1,94342.0%2.9%
Illinois$1,93434.0%2.4%
Nevada$1,92839.0%2.1%
Wisconsin$1,92338.0%1.8%
Delaware$1,90434.0%0.8%
Maine$1,90040.0%0.6%
Texas$1,88336.0%-0.3%
Utah$1,84432.0%-2.4%
Montana$1,83542.0%-2.8%
North Dakota$1,83535.0%-2.9%
Georgia$1,83338.0%-3.0%
Louisiana$1,83245.0%-3.0%
Arizona$1,82937.0%-3.1%
Iowa$1,78936.0%-5.3%
North Carolina$1,76839.0%-6.4%
Pennsylvania$1,76734.0%-6.4%
Michigan$1,73436.0%-8.2%
Kansas$1,72734.0%-8.6%
Idaho$1,69838.0%-10.1%
South Dakota$1,69136.0%-10.5%
South Carolina$1,69039.0%-10.5%
Ohio$1,66635.0%-11.8%
Tennessee$1,66338.0%-11.9%
Nebraska$1,66333.0%-12.0%
Alabama$1,65540.0%-12.4%
Kentucky$1,62239.0%-14.1%
Oklahoma$1,61937.0%-14.3%
Missouri$1,61234.0%-14.7%
New Mexico$1,60840.0%-14.8%
Indiana$1,59734.0%-15.5%
Mississippi$1,56742.0%-17.0%
Arkansas$1,53440.0%-18.8%
West Virginia$1,48539.0%-21.4%

Average U.S. Household Spending by Family Size

As you may have guessed, larger households often incur more expenses. However, BLS data shows that American families with five or more members spend less per year than comparable households with only four members. And while the findings contradict logical expectations, we’ll take the BLS’ word for it.

However, many interesting tidbits of information are still present: for example, two-person American households generate APTHI that’s 2.13x one-person households. In a nutshell: the data means that two-person families have combined annual pre-tax income that’s more than double one-person households.

However, when analyzing their relative expenditures, only life insurance and pension outlay (2.28x) for two-person households are more than double their one-person counterparts. As expected, healthcare (1.93x), entertainment (1.91x), and transportation (1.88x) are near the 2x threshold. Conversely, housing (1.40x) highlights the cost savings that couples achieve relative to single persons.

In addition, exciting findings were also present when comparing two-person households with four-person households. For example, four-person families only spend 81% of what two-person households spend on alcoholic beverages. And with most two-person homes consisting of two adults, while four-person households often include children, the data makes logical sense. Likewise, four-person households (0.96x) spend less on healthcare than two-person households. And with family care bundles likely the main driver of the savings, sometimes more is less.

Finally, the strange outlier is that four-person households only spend 84% of what two-person families spend on reading. With children often present in four-person homes, this metric should be higher.

Average Annual Household Expenditure:1-Per:2-Per:3-Per:4-Per:5-Per+:
Food4,4707,8028,98011,03311,474
Alcoholic beverages383708478572386
Housing15,24021,30623,35627,22626,434
Apparel and services9921,5201,8082,7162,580
Transportation5,50410,36712,86415,04914,325
Healthcare3,2736,3055,6866,0655,383
Entertainment1,8163,4753,2724,0143,603
Personal care products/services454787765956903
Reading871288310793
Education6321,1072,2112,3371,882
Tobacco products/smoking products230331386352395
Miscellaneous6831,018</