The Distribution of Consumer Spending
By Arnold Kling
Last year Americans in the lowest income quintile spent an average of $11,247 per person, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with $15,843 for middle income quintiles, and $28,272 for the top quintile. The top group is spending only 2.5 times as much as the bottom group, and 1.8 times as much as the middle classes…
The lowest quintile is spending 14% more in 2005 than it was in 1985, the second quintile 16%, the third quintile 11%, the fourth 13%, and the top quintile is spending an additional 16%.
Just as a reminder, if you want to measure inequality, the ranking of disparities is:
1. financial wealth
2. annual earnings
3. lifetime earnings
4. consumer spending
That is, if you look at financial wealth or one year’s earnings, you will see lots of disparity. If you look at consumer spending, you will see much less disparity.