What Was the Value of the US Consumer Bundle Then?
The value of the consumer bundle is the average annual expenditures of consumer units. Expenditures are for goods and services; also included are gifts and charitable contributions, as well as insurance premiums and pension contributions. The value of the consumer bundle is expressed in dollars; it is not corrected for inflation.
A consumer unit is an entity that makes spending decisions. A household consisting of family members is the typical consumer unit; but it is by no means the only kind of consumer unit. A single individual living alone is a consumer unit, as is a group of young professionals living in a dwelling unit and jointly making spending decisions.
Not counted as consumer units are people living in institutions and military personnel (except that military personnel living off-base and in the United States are counted as consumer units). The "universe" of consumer units is often described as the "civilian noninstitutional population", although this is a simplification.
The average size of the consumer unit is not the same thing as the typical family size. In fact, the average size of the consumer unit is always smaller, because single persons can be consumer units (they are one-person consumer units) but are not counted as a family. A family is composed of at least two persons.
For information about the development of the series, please read What Was the Value of the Consumer Bundle Then? A Data Study (210K PDF).
Please read our
Note on Data Revisions.
Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, "What Was the Value of the US Consumer Bundle Then?"
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