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1 Expenses include personal care items, entertainment, and reading materials.
Source: Dept. of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Expenditures on Children by Families, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999 annual reports.
Categories of Household Expenditures
Housing expenses include shelter (mortgage interest, property taxes, or rent; maintenance and repairs; and insurance), utilities (gas, electricity, fuel, telephone, and water), and house furnishings and equipment (furniture, floor coverings, major appliances, and small appliances). It should be noted that for homeowners, housing expenses do not include mortgage principal payments; such payments are considered in the CE to be a part of savings. So total dollars allocated to housing by homeowners are underestimated in this report.
Food expenses include food and nonalcoholic beverages purchased at grocery, convenience, and specialty stores, including purchases with food stamps; dining at restaurants; and household expenditures on school meals.
Transportation expenses include the net outlay on purchase of new and used vehicles, vehicle finance charges, gasoline and motor oil, maintenance and repairs, insurance, and public transportation.
Clothing expenses include childrens apparel such as diapers, shirts, pants, dresses, and suits; footwear; and clothing services such as dry cleaning, alterations and repair, and storage.
Health care expenses include medical and dental services not covered by insurance, prescription drugs and medical supplies not covered by insurance, and health insurance premiums not paid by employer or other organization.
Child care and education expenses include day care tuition and supplies; baby-sitting; and elementary and high school tuition, books, and supplies.
Miscellaneous expenses include personal care items, entertainment, and reading materials.
Data used to estimate expenditures on children are from the 1990-92 Consumer Expenditure Survey-- Interview portion (CE). Administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, this survey is the most comprehensive source of information on household expenditures available at the national level. The sample consists of 12,850 husband-wife households and 3,395 single-parent households and was weighted to reflect the U.S. population of interest, using BLS weighting methods.
Multivariate analysis was used to estimate house-hold and child-specific expenditures, controlling for income level, family size, and age of the younger child so estimates could be made for families with these varying characteristics (regional estimates were also derived by controlling for region). Households with two children were selected as the base since this was the average number of children in two-parent families. Estimated household and child-specific expendi-tures were allocated among family members. Since the estimated expenditures for clothing, child care, and education only apply to children (adult-related expenses for these items were excluded), allocations of these expenses were made by dividing the estimates equally among the children.
The 1994 food plans of USDA were used to allocate food expenses among family members. These plans, derived from a national food consumption survey, show the share of food expenses attributable to individual family members by age and household income level. These member food budget shares were applied to estimated 1990-92 household food expenditures to determine food expenses on a child. Similarly, health care expenses were allocated to each family member based on budget share data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey. This survey contains data on the proportion of health care expenses attributable to individual family members. These member budget shares for health care were applied to estimated 1990-92 household health care expenditures to determine expenses on a child.
Unlike food and health care, no research base exists for allocating estimated household expenditures on housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous goods and services among family members. USDA uses the per capita method in allocating these expenses; the per capita method allocates expenses among household members in equal proportions. A marginal cost method, which assumes that expendi-tures on children may be measured as the difference in total expenses between couples with children and equivalent childless couples, was not used because of limitations with this approach. The marginal cost method depends on development of an equivalency measure for which there is no established base. Various measures have been proposed, with each yielding different estimates of expenditures on children. Also, some of the marginal cost approaches do not consider substitution effects. They assume, for example, that parents do not alter their expenditures on themselves after a child is added to a household.
As transportation expenses resulting from work activities are not related to expenses on children, these costs were excluded when estimating childrens trans-portation expenses. The overall USDA methodology was repeated for families with one child and more than two children so adjustments may be made for families of different sizes.
These tables are based on figures supplied by the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject to revision by the Census Bureau.
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