Changes in Spending on Transportation
The line chart on the left shows the percent of income spent on transportation, otherwise known as the cost burden. The chart on the right changes based on where you hover your mouse on the chart on the left. The bar chart on the right shows the percent change in income and spend on transportation, and the percentage point change transportation cost burden from the previous year. Choose between before- and after-tax income. In 2020 and 2021, after-tax income includes economic stimulus payments. The first economic payment in 2020 — issued starting April 10, 2020 — was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which distributed $1,200 to qualifying adults and an additional $500 to qualifying adults for each child under age 17. The second economic payment in 2020 was part of the COVID-related Tax Relief Act, which authorized additional payments (starting December 29, 2020) of up to $600 to eligible adults and an additional $600 to eligible adults for each child under age 17. In 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act provided economic payments up to $1,400 for eligible individuals, plus $1,400 for each qualifying dependent, including adult dependents — starting March 17, 2021. There were no federal stimulus payments issued in 2022 but some states separately issued stimulus payments.
The 2019 increase in the share of after-tax income spent by the lowest income quintile on transportation was from transportation expenditures increasing more than income from 2018 to 2019. A reduction in transportation expenditures and an increase in after-tax income in 2020 brought the share of after-tax income spent by the lowest income quintile on transportation back to roughly the same level as in previous years in 2020.
In 2021, households in the second income quintile experienced an increase in their after-tax transportation cost burden, because they spent more on transportation in 2021 than in 2020 due mainly to an increase in new and used vehicle purchases (see Types of Transportation Expenditures
In 2022, households in the lowest income quintile experienced a 3 percentage point increase in their after-tax transportation cost burden, while the after-tax transportation cost burden of all other income quintiles changed by 1 percentage point or less. The after-tax transportation cost burden of the lowest income quintile rose in 2022, because the increase in transportation expenditures, mainly from an increase in vehicle operation expenditures (see Types of Transportation Expenditures
) exceeded the growth in after-tax income (15% and 3%, respectively).