Bureau of Labor Statistics, you fascinate us! Not only do your provide us with number-porn to whittle away the hours with, but now you are about to give us a report all about us - erm, and everyone else who has lived in Gotham over the past century. The report isn't available online yet (it will be here on Monday) but in the meantime the Times provides a nice peak into what is in its pages. Taken in hand with the news earlier in the week that NYC's consumer price index had risen nearly a percentage point and this week might as well be NYC-Stat week.
The gist of the report being released is to better identify the major shifts in spending in the past century - i.e. people spend a smaller percentage of their income now on booze and tobacco than they used to. What's really interesting in it though is how different the spending of New Yorkers can be to the rest of the country. And this isn't just the standard "we buy Metrocards, they buy cars" stuff either (though that too). For example:
By 2003, food alone cost New York families more than $7,000 a year, on average, compared with an average of $5,350 for all American households. But it was New York's housing boom of the last two decades that widened the spending gap.
Rent and other housing expenses cost New York households $18,919 a year, on average in 2003, or about 38 percent of their total spending. The typical American family allocated just $13,359, or slightly less than one-third of its total spending, to housing, the report states.
During the century, the income of the typical New York household, adjusted for inflation, more than quadrupled, while annual expenditures did not quite triple. Nationally, household incomes tripled, while spending increased by a factor of 2.4.
All of which sounds about right. But what made us giggle was how despite all of those changes, somethings never do: "A 1934 spending survey, cited in the century report, found that 'competition for living space in this area not duplicated in any other part of the United States. the result is a level of rents which taxes the expenditures of families' for 'relatively small dwellings.'"