- The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases annual estimates of how American households make and spend money.
- One category of spending tracked by the BLS is food at home.
- Gen Xers spend more on groceries than other age groups, but food at home represents a larger share of older Americans’ total spending.
Everyone needs to eat, but the amount of money Americans spend on groceries changes with age.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey tracks how households make and spend money. One set of tables breaks down spending in several different categories based on the age of the person in a household that answered the survey.
One category shows the amount of money spent on food at home, which mostly consists of groceries intended to be eaten at home, as opposed to going out to a restaurant or buying takeout.
Here’s what Americans of different ages spent on food at home in 2017, on average. We loosely assigned the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ age groupings to different generations using the best match for each age bracket with the Pew Research Center’s generational definitions:
Here’s the percent share of total spending that goes to groceries. That share is pretty similar across most of the age groups, but the oldest Americans spend a slightly higher share of their money on food at home: