Valley splurges on food, drink, cars, looks - East Valley Tribune: News

Valley splurges on food, drink, cars, looks

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Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 8:22 pm | Updated: 10:43 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Valley residents like to go out on the town, look good and drive in style. That's according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey, which examined average spending patterns in 2005 and 2006.

Valley residents like to go out on the town, look good and drive in style.

That's according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey, which examined average spending patterns in 2005 and 2006. Households in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area spent an average of $53,570 per year, compared to the national average of $47,421.

Spending comparison, Percent distribution of average annual consumer spending, 2005-06: United States vs. Phoenix metro, Valley, SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Graphic by Scott Kirchhofer/EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE

"The population in Phoenix is a little bit younger than the average for the rest of the nation as well as for the West region," said Amar Mann, regional economist with the bureau.

Valley households spent less than the national average on housing and education, according to the survey. Spending was higher than the national average for food, alcohol, transportation, health care, and personal care products and services.

The dollar amount spent on alcohol was $693 in the Valley, compared to $462 for the rest of the country.

"It seems like Phoenix residents do enjoy their food and drink relative to their national counterparts, and of course there's the hot desert weather," Mann said. "Phoenix residents are spending a smaller share of their budget on housing, and perhaps that frees them up to spend a little more money on food and drink, and taking care of themselves and going out."

Valley residents spent more on transportation than the national average, but that isn't strictly because they have farther to drive, he said.

"It has a lot to do with the types of vehicles that people are buying," Mann said. "Phoenix residents perhaps enjoy finer, better vehicles than people in the rest of the country. In terms of their typical spending, the part of their budget that goes to paying for vehicles is quite a bit higher than the rest of the nation."

Lee McPheters, senior associate dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business and director of the JP Morgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University, said the spending patterns reflect how younger families are spending their money and using their budgets compared to older cities across the nation.

"The share spent for transportation is higher ... and of course that's because we've developed as an automobile-oriented economy here, and you don't have to live in Phoenix long to come to appreciate that and understand it," he said. "We spend more on food away from home, and that's probably characteristic of the modern, younger family where you have two people working and that's just kind of a condition of modern life."

The lower spending on education could be attributed to a prevalence of public universities in the area, as well as a higher percentage of the population in K-12 public school, Mann said.

The higher spending on health care likely can be attributed to more workers not receiving health insurance through their employers so they are forced to pay for health care out of pocket, McPheters said.

In general, Valley residents' spending patterns were close to national averages, he said.

"I am surprised to see Phoenix has the same number of vehicles per person as the national average," McPheters said. "It seems like there's a lot of vehicles out there, but it's the same as the national average."

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