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Oct 06, 2008

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John March

I have some questions about this. How is this calculated? Does this factor in average income or median income? Is it based on household income or individual income? I imagine the US has a higher number of very wealthy individuals which would skew the number if it were based on average income. I also imagine there is a higher number of dual income families in the US. For a single income family (which would be a fairer global comparison?) the percentage would be much higher.

We are a single income family with two kids, and I find we are spending much more than 6% of my monthly income on food. Is that because of the way this number is calculated, or do I just buy more expensive food than most people?

Michael W. Kruse

Excellent questions. I too, thought this was a bit low.

Clearly the lower end of the income spectrum will spend a greater percentage on food. Households that are larger than the average (about 2.5 persons as I recall) like yours with one earner are going to spend much more than others.

Some of the other issues you mention may come into play but here is what I think may be the big issue. The table from which this data was taken says:

"Percent of household final consumption expenditures spent on food, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco that were consumed at home, by selected countries, 2007."

I don't know the numbers but I suspect Americans eat out at much higher rates than most other cultures and those numbers are not included. Had you asked me what the US average was (assuming eating out was included) I would have guessed 10-15%.

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