The poorest Americans are doing more than their fair share to stem this decline by spending a larger percentage of their income on entertainment than the rest of society.
Per BLS, the average U.S. household (or “consumer unit” in BLS speak) spent $2,504 on entertainment in 2010. That represents about 4% of the typical household’s pre-tax income.
As one might expect, the dollar amount expended on entertainment generally rises with income. Households earning $70,000 or more spent $4,438 on movies, music and other diversions last year, 3.7 times the average expenditure of those in the $15,000-$19,999 income slot. Yet, the latter group spent 6.8% of their total income on entertainment. The $70,000-plus households spent only 3.4%.
Total U.S. household spending fell 2% from the previous year. That followed a 2.8% decline from 2008 to 2009. Entertainment spending was the hardest hit of all major categories, falling 7% in the 2010 survey. The previous year saw a 5% drop in the category.
In the latest survey, health care (+1%) and transportation (+2%) were the only major components of spending to increase.