homeowners take out equity loans. CE data provide a unique way to look at generational differences. Paulin (2008) compared young never-married adults in 2004–2005 with similar individuals who responded on the CE two decades earlier (1984–1985). In real dollars, the 21st century young people spent a greater percent of total expenditures on shelter, utilities, and education. They spent less on food, transportation, and apparel than their 1980s counterparts. Health care was relatively unchanged.

Weagley and Huh (2004) used the CE data to look at the dynamics of retirement and near-retirement status on leisure expenditures. Not surprisingly, they found a positive correlation between leisure expenditures with retirement, income, and education.

Race and Ethnicity Make a Difference

The CE data are an ideal source for research on consumption spending as it differs by household racial and ethnic compositions. García-Jiménez and Mishra (2011) examined the demand for meat and meat products and found significant differences among households. Their results showed that white households purchase less meat (especially chicken and seafood products) than do Hispanic households. African American households purchase more pork and chicken than do Hispanics.

Marriage and Cohabitation Make a Difference

Households headed by single mothers, and how their income and consumption changed as a group between 1993 and 2003, were studied by Meyer and Sullivan (2008) using the CE data. The authors reported that income fell sharply (16%) in the first couple of years and then began to rise (17%) over the rest of the decade. For consumption, the authors found a modest (7% to 12%) rise throughout the decade.

Hawk (2011) used the CE data to understand differences in consumption spending between single people and married couples in their twenties. He found that the per capita income of singles was significantly lower than their married counterparts, that married couples were more likely to be homeowners, and that singles spent more per capita on housing, apparel, food, and education. Singles also spent less on health care.

DeLeire and Kalil (2005) examined expenditures on children by the living arrangements of their parents. Using data from the CE, they concluded that cohabiting-parent couples spend less money on education and more on alcohol and tobacco than do married-parent couples. Cohabiting-parent families had spending patterns different from those of divorced single-parent households and never-married single-parent households.

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