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Consumers in New England spend the most

Consumers in New England spend more than their peers in seven other regions — and have been doing so for 15 years, according to new government data.

The prototype data, released on Thursday from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, show consumer spending by state from 1997 to 2012. Spending per capita has grown the most in the New England states, where each consumer spent an average of more than $44,000 in 2012. In the Great Lakes states, where spending grew the least, 2012 per-person spending was just under $34,000.

“For the first time, we now have rich data on consumer spending decisions in each state, giving us a snapshot of consumer confidence in our economy,” Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in a release. “The new report BEA released today will help businesses make smarter decisions about hiring and investing.”


Consumer spending data by state. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Spending per capita in 2012 varied by nearly $20,000 between Massachusetts, the national leader at more than $47,000, and laggard Mississippi. In D.C. — which, it is often argued, has more in common with cities than states — per-capita spending clocked in at more than $59,000. Michigan posted the slowest growth at just 47 percent from 1997 to 2012, while per-capita spending grew the most in Hawaii, jumping 133 percent over the same 15-year period.

The personal consumption expenditure data — the national version of which the Federal Reserve uses to track price inflation — also breaks spending down by category and year. In 2012, New England was the national leader on food and health care. The Plains states led on gas and the Far West led on housing and utilities expenditures. The following four maps offer a look at 2012 spending by category. All the totals by state and year are included in the interactive at the end of the post.

Spending on food and beverages


Consumer spending data by state. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Spending on food and beverages was highest in Alaska, where consumers dropped $3852 per capita. It was lowest, at $2179, in Oklahoma.

Spending on gas and other energy goods


Consumer spending data by state. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Spending on gas and other energy goods was highest in North Dakota, where consumers spent $3916 per capita. It was lowest, at $882, in Hawaii.

Health care spending


Consumer spending data by state. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Spending on health care was highest in Massachusetts, where consumers laid out $8816 per capita. It was lowest, at $4253, in Nevada.

Spending on housing and utilities


Consumer spending data by state. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Spending on housing and utilities was highest in Hawaii, where consumers spent $10002 per capita. It was lowest, at $4294, in Mississippi.

Hover over or click on a year to change the data:

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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