Transportation Economic Trends
Household Spending on Transportation:
Average Household Spending
The Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) program is the only Federal survey that contains information on the complete range of expenditures for individual households, including transportation, along with select demographic, geographic, and socio-economic characteristics. This page presents average household spending from the CE. Data and discussion on total national household spending on transportation are also available.
- Households spent an average of $10,961 on transportation in 2021—the second largest household expenditure category after housing when spending on behalf of households, such as healthcare benefits, is excluded. Transportation expenditures grew by the third largest amount (11.6 percent) from 2020 to 2021, behind apparel and services (22.3 percent) and food (13.4 percent).
- Households in the lowest income quintile spent the least on transportation ($4,273 vs $19,204 by households in the highest income quintile) but faced a larger transportation cost burden, spending 26.9 percent of their after-tax income on transportation compared to 10.4 percent by the highest income quintile in 2021.
- Rural households spent more on transportation ($13,665) and experienced a higher transportation cost burden (17.3 percent) than urban households ($10,362 and 13.2 percent, respectively) in 2021.