Both the amount and the pattern of consumption by different age groups has undergone a substantial change in the U.S. Total consumption per capita for all ages was much higher in the 1980s than in the early 1960s. In the late 1980s, however, retirees' consumption was roughly twice that of their counterparts in the early 1960s, whereas middle-aged and younger individuals has increased their consumption by only about a third. Clearly, much of the relative increase in older generations' consumption is due to a sizable rise in their medical spending. However, older age groups' larger relative increases in consumption are also discernible in nonmedical (housing plus other) spending.
Suggested citation: “Consumption Trends,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 96-10, pp. 14, 10.01.1996.