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Wed, May 14, 2003 - Page 12 News List

New Yorkers spend more on meat, poultry and clothing


New York area residents spend more on meat and poultry than those in other large metropolitan areas in the US, a new federal survey reports.

San Franciscans spend more on alcohol and books. Bostonians spend more on tobacco products and smoking supplies, Washingtonians spend more on entertainment, Chicagoans spend more on utilities and fuel.

Those are among the many intriguing findings of a two-year national survey of consumer spending released Monday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics -- a survey that alternately confirms and confounds well-worn stereotypes about the proclivities and priorities of residents of six of the country's largest metropolitan areas.

Los Angeles was the sixth region featured in the report.

Those in the New York area ranked second only to San Franciscans in many categories: household income, average annual household expenditures, spending on housing and spending on food (except for spending on meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, where the New York region ranked No. 1).

But New Yorkers spent less on household furnishings than the residents of any of five other metropolitan areas studied except for Boston. They spent less on entertainment than people in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, and less on reading than Washingtonians and San Franciscans.

New Yorkers spent more than anyone else on clothes. And only Boston-area residents spent less than New Yorkers on buying cars.

The study was based on interviews with a rotating sample of 7,500 households in 2000 and 2001, and on diaries kept by an additional 7,500 people for two consecutive one-week periods. The interviews covered large purchases, like appliances and cars, and regular payments, such as rent. The diaries tracked small, frequently purchased items like food and household supplies.

"These numbers are the best out there," said Michael Dolfman, New York regional commissioner for the bureau, a division of the Department of Labor.

"We put our imprimatur on them," he said. "Any time you sample, there's always sampling error. But in terms of the expenditure categories, we believe they accurately reflect the expenditure characteristics of American households."

The survey found that households in the New York metropolitan area spent on average US$48,237 a year in 2000 and 2001.

That figure was 9.6 percent higher than the average for New Yorkers in 1998 and 1999 and 24.3 percent higher than the national average for 2000 and 2001.

Housing was the largest part of the New Yorkers' spending, accounting for 37.1 percent of their budget, compared to 32.6 percent nationally.

San Francisco ranked No. 1 among the six areas in spending for fruits and vegetables, vehicle purchases and education.

Chicagoans spent the most on housekeeping supplies.

Washingtonians led the list in spending for health care and personal care products and services, followed closely by Angeles-area residents.

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