Businessweek.com just took a look at prices we paid on items from 1980 compared to now and found some surprising results.
The relative price of necessities like groceries and fuel has decreased over the past 30 years. However we are spending more than we did in 1980 on things like education, healthcare and housing. We’ve also added some technologies like cell phones, computers and internet use.
“In 2009 the average household spent $49,067 on such expenses as housing, transportation, food, and entertainment—less than in 2008 but up by $3,692 (in 2009 dollars) since 1984—according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey.
The consumer price index—which includes food and beverage, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education, communication, and other goods and services—grew nearly 160.4 percent, to 214.537, from 1980 to 2009, according to BLS data. In the same period, median household income in nominal dollars increased 181 percent, to $49,777, U.S. Census Bureau data show, or 8 percent in real dollars. BLS data indicate that while high-income earners saw the biggest increase in that period, average income rose for middle-income earners too.”