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    Californians have 4th-highest housing expenses in US
    • October 14, 2023

    ”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards judging geographic locations while noting these grades are best seen as a mix of artful interpretation and data.

    Buzz: California’s lofty housing costs are topped by just three places in the nation when you ponder the expense per person.

    Source: My trusty spreadsheet reviewed one yardstick of the burden of housing costs – the annual analysis of personal consumption expenditures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The study looks at per capita spending in 50 states and the District of Columbia.


    Californians paid $11,262 per person for housing-related expenses and utility costs in 2022 – 23% above the typical American’s $9,161.

    If that seems low, note that the typical California household has nearly three residents. Also, remember that many homeowners have no mortgage or a home loan with a low-low interest rate acquired during the heated days of the pandemic.

    Consider the scale of California’s housing cost pain: It was topped by DC at $14,959, Colorado at $11,466 and Massachusetts at $11,315.

    By the way, the lowest US spending on housing was $6,436 in Mississippi.

    Or peek at housing costs this way: The cost of shelter gobbled up 19% of California’s per capita consumer spending (No. 8 share nationally) vs. 17% nationally. Hawaiians spent the most on housing, 20% of all spending. The low was 14% in North Dakota.


    Look at the big picture.

    Californians spent $60,272 per person on all goods and services last year (No. 5 nationally). That’s 15% above US expenditures. High? $85,732 (District of Columbia). Low? $39,678 (Mississippi).

    Then look at high-profile consumer expenses outside of shelter.

    Health: $9,335 spent per Californian (No. 11 nationally) – 12% above the US. High? $12,239 in the District of Columbia. Low? $6,213 in Utah. Health is 15% of Golden State per-capita spending (No. 35 nationally) vs.16% nationally. High? 23% in West Virginia. Low? 13% in Utah.

    ECONOMIC NEWS: What’s the big trend? Should I be worried? CLICK HERE!

    Food: $4,534 spent per Californian (No. 13 nationally) – 8% above the US. High? $7,217 in the District of Columbia. Low? $3,198 in Oklahoma. Food is 8% of Golden State per-capita spending (No. 42 nationally) vs. 8% nationally. High? 10% in Mississippi. Low? 7% in Minnesota.

    Gasoline/energy: $1,442 spent per Californian (No. 37 nationally) – 6% below the US. High? $2,186 in Iowa. Low? $814 in Hawaii. Fuels equal 2% of Golden State per-capita spending (No. 42 nationally) vs. 3% nationally. High? 5% in Iowa. Low? 1% in Hawaii.

    Bottom line

    Think about overall spending for every man, woman and child.

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    California consumers spent $2.35 trillion on goods and services last year (No. 1 nationally) – that’s 13% of the $17.5 trillion in expenditures nationwide.

    But more importantly, Golden State spending was up $206 billion from 2021 (No. 1 gain) –  and a 9.6% jump (12th largest percentage advance among the states). Americans’ total spending rose 9.2% in the year.

    Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]

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    ​ Orange County Register