BLS: Americans Spent More on Taxes Than on Food, Clothing Combined in 2017

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 24, 2018 | 5:49pm EDT
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(CNSNews.com) - Americans on average spent more on taxes than on food and clothing combined in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s new data on consumer expenditures, which was released this month.

“Consumer units” (which include families, financially independent individuals, and people living in a single household who share expenses) spent an average of $9,562 on food and clothing in 2017, according to BLS.

But they spent $16,749 on federal, state and local taxes.

The average 2017 tax bill included $7,819 in federal income taxes; $2,098 in state and local income taxes; and $51 in other taxes—which the BLS rounded to a subtotal of $9,967.

It also included $4,717 in Social Security taxes; and $2,065 in property taxes—bringing the total average tax bill for the year to $16,749.

At the same time, according to the BLS data, the average consumer unit spent $7,729 on food in 2017 and $1,833 on apparel and services—bringing the total average spending for food and clothing for the year to $9,562.

In fact, the 2017 average expenditure of $9,917 for income taxes alone—which includes the $7,819 for federal income taxes and $2,098 for state and local income taxes—was more than the average expenditure of $9,562 for food ($7,729) and clothing ($1,833).

“A consumer unit,” BLS says, “is defined as either (1) all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangements; (2) a person living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent; or (3) two or more persons living together who pool their income to make joint expenditure decisions.”

In 2017, there were 130,001,000 consumer units in the United States.

These consumer units had an average before-tax income of $73,573 and their largest average expenditure was $19,884 for housing--a sum that included the average property tax bill of $2,065.

Even though Americans spent more on taxes in 2017 than on food and clothing combined, the average 2017 overall tax bill of $16,749 was still lower than the average 2016 overall tax bill of $17,153.

In 2016, according to the BLS, the average American consumer unit spent $8,367 on federal income taxes; $2,046 on local income taxes; and $75 on other taxes—which the BLS rounded to a subtotal of $10,489.

The average 2016 tax bill also included $4,695 in Social Security taxes and $1,969 for property taxes—bringing the total average tax bill for the year to $17,153.

Also in 2017, Americans spent on average $7,203 on food and $1,803 on apparel and services—for a combined $9,006 on food and clothing.

Thus, in 2016 as in 2017, Americans spent more on average on taxes ($17,153) than they did on food and clothing combined ($9,006).

 

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