Conspicuous Consumption - Mapping Where America's Biggest Spenders Live

Consumer spending is the engine that powers the American economy, accounting for about 70 percent of all activity. An uptick as small as 0.3% can cause the Federal Reserve to reevaluate its plan on raising interest rates. Since looking at these numbers in aggregate can tell you a lot about the economy’s direction, we thought we’d break down personal consumption at the state level. As notes, this reveals an interesting snapshot about the economy.  




The Bureau of Economic Analysis— part of the U.S. Department of Commerce—published new numbers in October 2017 tabulating how personal consumption has changed year-over-year. This includes things as wide ranging as housing and utilities, health care expenses, and eating at restaurants. We color-coded each state based on how expensive it is there—green states are comparatively cheaper, and red states are more expensive. This approach gives you a good idea not only how much things cost, but also a thing or two about the economy at the state level.

There are a few obvious trends when you map the data for each state. First off, there’s a cluster of pink and red states grouped in the Northeast. The most expensive place on our map is Washington, DC ($56,843), followed by Massachusetts ($51,981). As a matter of fact, six of the top ten most expensive places are in the Northeast. It’s cliché that housing is expensive in New York, but there are a lot of other expensive states in the region too.

There’s also a collection green states across the Deep South to the Southwest, stretching all the way from North Carolina ($33,779) to Nevada ($36,177) and even up to Oregon ($39,742). The cheapest place is Mississippi, where it costs only $30,200 to pay for life’s most common expenses. Florida is the only state in the Deep South where it costs more than $37k. Keep in mind, Florida’s warm winter climate makes it a prime candidate formigration, which increases personal consumption..

There are a few other fascinating stories that you can infer based on our map. Take a look at Alaska ($49,547), the third most expensive state. There’s no doubt Alaska’s location far away from the contiguous United States plays a large part in driving up housing and health care costs, but who knew it costs more to live in the Last Frontier than New Jersey? Another standout is North Dakota, the seventh most expensive state in the country. It’s no coincidence that both Alaska and North Dakota have enormous oil wealth, which only puts upward pressure on prices. In fact, oil extraction in Alaska is only going to grow in the New Year.

Here’s another interesting trend. This map is a close approximation of the results for the 2016 election. East of the Mississippi River, every expensive state voted for Hillary Clinton, and every inexpensive state went for Donald Trump. The situation is a little convoluted out West, but it’s remarkable how the political divide mirrors an economic reality.

Top 10 Places Where Americans Spend the Most

1. Washington, DC: $56,843

2. Massachusetts: $51,981

3. Alaska: $49,547

4. New Jersey: $48,972

5. New Hampshire: $48,810

6. Connecticut: $48,497

7. North Dakota: $48,225

8. Vermont: $47,648

9. New York: $46,906

10. Hawaii: $45,123

The big takeaway from all this is that no matter where you live, you need a decent amount of money to make ends meet. Exactly how much depends on where you live, but you need more than $40,000 in 28 states, and more than $50,000 for two (if you count Washington, DC).


Mazzy Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:19 Permalink

Looks like a map of people spending most of what they make.  Pretty even across the board and the map is next to useless without context.

jay35 847328_3527 Tue, 01/02/2018 - 01:47 Permalink

> "The big takeaway from all this is that no matter where you live, you need a decent amount of money to make ends meet. Exactly how much depends on where you live, but you need more than $40,000 in 28 states, and more than $50,000 for two (if you count Washington, DC). "

You'd need that much -after- taxes, so more like $60k or more pre tax. which is why so many states are, on average, unlivable for people working service industry or low to mid-level blue-collar jobs and the politicians monkeying with minimum wage aren't going to solve this. Taxes need to come down to make living sustainable on less than $60k income in those states, not forcing employers there to pay more.

In reply to by 847328_3527

Refuse-Resist jay35 Tue, 01/02/2018 - 06:42 Permalink

It's not taxes so much as it is inflation and immigration fucking everything up.

When half of Americans with a job make less than $14/hour, there's a systemic issue and raising the minimum wage won't fix shit.

Send all the foreigners home and watch wages increase, housing prices go down, and quality of life go up for all.

Until that happens we'll continue to sink further toward 3rd world shit hole status.

In reply to by jay35

Endgame Napoleon Utopia Planitia Mon, 01/01/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

RepubliCONs love child tax credit welfare. No party that doubles refundable child tax credits, which already top out at $6,444, is anything but libertine in terms of welfare.

That tax welfare is issued on top of monthly welfare that covers rent, groceries and other bills. It goes to part-time workers who work few hours to stay below the earned income limit for welfare.

The non-refundable child tax credits often go to married, part-time workers.

Meanwhile, single non parents who work full time must cover all bills on earnings only, and with rent taking more than half of their pay, they are taxed more than these part-time worker parents. 

Since it’s extra money issued in lump sum, child tax credits are often spent on expensive tattoos, trips to fornicate with boyfriends at the beach and other non-kid-related “expenses.”

The RepubliCON Party just doubled it, including the refundable child tax credit for parents who do not pay income tax, non-citizen parents included.

RepubiCONs have a special love for the Santa-style welfare for sex and reproduction that people make zero contributions to.

They add to the sex-and-reproduction welfare smorgasbord, while threatening to cut the programs that we all paid into at either 7.65% or 15.3% of our meager income, with The Swamp only paying into SS and Medicare at 7.65% up to $127,200 of their $175k salaries. 

Tax The Swamp for SS and Medicare at 15.3% on their full salary. 

In reply to by Utopia Planitia

Endgame Napoleon Koba the Dread Mon, 01/01/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

He is talking about the women who went to ND, thinking there were a lot of jobs due to the hype about fracking-generated jobs. From what I have read, the jobs are mostly for men, and they are temp jobs—high-paying temp jobs. Many women traveled there, but could not find employment that actually covered rent. Hey women, here is how they do it in the Bible Beltian and low-paying South: 

  1. Have multiple kids out of wedlock;
  2. Collect more in rent, food and electricity subsides with each birth, plus monthly cash assistance if you play your cards right by timing the births in accordance with welfare stipulations;
  3. Work 20 hours or less per week, staying below the earned-income limit for these programs, not even close to as hard as you are working in Shale country, by watching your fellow mommas’ backs in absenteeism-gang office jobs; 
  4. Collect your child tax credit between $3,468 and $6,444, with a possible giant uprate, given out by The Congressonal Swamp to reward sex and reproduction.  



In reply to by Koba the Dread

ConfederateH Endgame Napoleon Tue, 01/02/2018 - 04:54 Permalink

"Many women traveled there, but could not find employment that actually covered rent. "

You mean many liberal Shicksa's went there, having been brain washed by coastal elite Hillary style "you can do it" feminists, convinced that anything a man can do woman can do better.  When applying for jobs that require high endurance and stamina, they thought that their vagina's would get them the job.  They expected recruiters to ignore their personal issues like STD's, PMS, menstrual cramps, pregnancy, and morning bitchiness because they once wore pussyhats.

What they found out was that modern feminists and coastal elite cunts are good for only one thing in the real world of physical labor:  cleaning, cooking and sucking the sperm out of a mans cocks.

So now these shicksa's are whoring themselves out and having children out of wedlock.  This is not a surprise.

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon

Theosebes Goodfellow takeaction Mon, 01/01/2018 - 21:20 Permalink

~" How much do you make? "~

Come on, Take. What's the matter, forget the first rule of Fight Club? What I make, (or don't), is no one's business but mine. Truth be told, I don't want to know what you or anyone else makes. It's a bit like when you were 8 and you and your buddies had a 12 inch wooden ruler trying to figure out whose pecker was longest.

How much someone makes doesn't matter half as much as how much they are having to spend to afford the life they have. If you are going to ask a man how much he makes be sure to ask him how much debt he has over his head. If he is in deep he's going to need a whole lot more to "cover the nut".

Lastly, bear in mind that how much you make, how much you owe and how much you have matters not a wit come check-out time, 'cuz you ain't taking any of it with you when you go.



In reply to by takeaction

Endgame Napoleon takeaction Mon, 01/01/2018 - 22:51 Permalink

These states have a lot of illegal immigrants, consuming products via welfare and child tax credits for US-born kids, while helping to lower wages and reducing consumption among citizens to medium and dark-green levels. When living in the underemployed South, it is pretty easy to feel in synch with the doom-and-gloom report. 

Texas — per capita income — $19,617…


Kentucky — per capita income — $18,093…


Tennessee — per capita income — $19,393…


Alabama — per capita income — $18,189…


Mississippi — per capita income — $20,670…


South Carolina — per capita income — $18,795…

In reply to by takeaction

brushhog Mazzy Tue, 01/02/2018 - 08:08 Permalink

Thats exactly right. It looks great to spend less in Kentucky until you put that into the context of average wages in that area. Id like to see a chart of where people spend the least and make the most....who has the most favorable ratio??? Thats what counts.

ZH you really screwed up the comments section with this new format. New comments have to go the TOP, not the bottom.

In reply to by Mazzy

Mazzy Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:22 Permalink

The MEDIAN salary in the US is about 42k.  Everything on the map is within 12k of that.  People are poorer in the South, but wealthier in New England and in the upper midwest.

There's poor people everywhere, and rich people everywhere too.  There's no context with age data, racial data, job growth/declines, or population inflows and outflows.

Magnum Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:22 Permalink

Not sure if I should laugh or cry but I spent maroon level dollars last year on my girlfriend alone. Wife and kids not included. 

Bubble Man Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:48 Permalink

The map and article is irrelevant since employees/employers in the lower cost expenditures states in general earn/make less money than the higher expenditures states.

besnook Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:56 Permalink

the more money there is around the more things you need cost. if miss. was in demand miss. would be expensive. nobody wants to go to miss.. they can't even rebuild their coast because no one wants to invest in it. that's why it is so cheap ti live their, same as bangladesh.

Golden Showers Mon, 01/01/2018 - 21:04 Permalink

If you think I spent anywhere near 10k on shit I don't need in 2017 you're fucking crazy.

I gave a dude 500 for a wrecked car with a good engine, transmission and diff. Good glass. And the carb he pulled out of it. I broke down and bought a king sized matress for a grand new. The 500 I spent on 6x6 and 4x6 timbers 3 years ago to make a bed frame is dryed out for next week's build. I got some cv joints that I gotta put in, but now fuck it, I'ma restore the whole thing.

How do these dumb ass fucks get so much money? And look what they do with it? I had a friend who started making 65 a year and he said to me one day: I'm a consumer. If I see something I want... I buy it. What a pathetic asshole. I dropped 1400 on tires this year. All told, for shit I need I spent 2500. I spent 16k on rent and bills and car insurance and another 2 g's on ale (food). God help me I won't run over people at Target pushing thier red carts with three kids walking slow.

Fuck people. I spent 400 bucks on a 20 ton shop press and a 2 ton engine hoist, for which I saved ten times the labor price of getting shit done. What pisses me off, it's fat fucks. I didn't quit flying because of TSA. I quit flying when i had a really hard time not punching some fat bald ass fucktard up in his fat roll at the base of his dome on an airplane.

Next time you fly the friendly skies and sit behind some bald ass nigger with a fat roll up his dome and explain to me how you don't want to beat the fat shit out of him because it just looks at you. Like some kind of camel toe at the base of the skull. Oh, man, I just want to beat the shit out of that! Beat that shit! Don't even bring that fat roll you fucking ex convict fuck! I'll kick that ass!

Meanwhile, after I pay for everything with my generous labor power, my better half brings home everything which 50 years ago would have been 0. And then I couldn't send six kids to college and pay off the house and feed everone, buy them beds, desks, pencils, toys, or take care of my insane sister. But I so want to punch fat rolls up in their fucking domes it's crazy!