Food expenditures and socioeconomic characteristics: focus on income class

Donald R. McDowell, Joyce E. Allen-Smith, Patricia E. McLean-Meyinsse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The strong link between food expenditures and income is well documented in consumer demand theory, dating back to Engel. Food spending is an important barometer of household welfare in the US, and the government has used it to measure the economic well-being and effectiveness of several food assistance programs. In this paper, we analyze household food expenditures by income class and determine whether the expenditures for selected food items vary by income. We also identify the determinants of food expenditures for low-, middle-, and high-income households. Finally, we address the implications for food expenditures if the trend toward increased income inequality continues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1444-1451
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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