Tag Archives: household income

Spending Snapshot, 1973

made_in_1973_personalized_invites-r77027731f425487fb56691e8eb6c1eec_8dnmv_8byvr_512When you compare how much our incomes and spending have changed in the past 40 years, I guess you could say that there’s good news and bad news.

The average person spends 81.2% of his or her post-tax income on food, housing and other expenses, according to ConvergEx Group, a New York-based brokerage. That’s down from the 85% that Americans shelled out for mandatory and discretionary items in 1973. LA Times

  • Household Income After taxes: UP. $9700 in 1973, $63,000 today (adjusted for inflation.)

As a percentage of income, spending in the following categories went…

  • Savings: DOWN. Way down. We put over 13% of our income in the bank in 1973, now a terrible 4.6%!
  • Housing: UP. 15% of income in 1973, 19% today. Partly because the average square footage of a home has nearly doubled since then!
  • Food: DOWN. 19% of income in 1973, 13% today. Of course, family size has shrunk, from 2.9 to 2.5 people.
  • Cars: DOWN. 9.5% of income in 1973, 6.6% today. However, the next item…
  • Fuel: UP. 4.2% in 1973, 5.4% today.

So, it’s a mixed bag. Maybe it just SEEMS like we are paying more and more and more?

Personally, I think these numbers are wack. Like, the size of our homes has doubled, but we’re only spending 20% more of our income for them?  My theory?* They are measuring expenses as a percentage of household income. In 1973, less than 40% of moms worked outside the home.  It’s over 60% today (I looked it up!) So, in 60% of homes, it’s taking two incomes to enjoy a 4% decrease in overall household expenses. Yay progress!

My question to those who remember 1973 is this: what do you think? Do you think we are better off, worse off, or about the same as we were back then? Did Dad and/or Mom work as hard/harder/about the same to pay the bills as we do? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

*Disclaimer: I’m an English major!