September 13, 2000 (The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.)

Food stamp households budget more of spending on basics

In 1998, consumer units (roughly the equivalent of households) that received Food Stamps and had members under 18 years of age spent 69 percent of their annual budgets on housing, food, and apparel. Households that included children but did not receive Food Stamps spent 51 percent of their budget on those basics.

Expenditure shares of households with children by food stamp recipiency, 1998
[Chart data—TXT]

On the other hand, nonrecipient households with children allocated a little over 4 percent of their spending to health care while similar households that received food stamps spent a bit less than 2 percent. Non-recipient consumer units also spent a bit more of their budget on transportation: almost 20 percent versus 15 percent.

These data are a product of the Consumer Expenditure Survey program. Consumer units include members of a household related by blood, marriage or other legal arrangement; a person living alone; or two or more persons living together who pool their income to make joint expenditure decisions. In this report, consumer unit and household are used interchangeably. Read Issues in Labor Statistics Summary 00-14, "A comparison of the characteristics and spending patterns of Food Stamp recipients and nonrecipients," (PDF 33K) for more information.

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