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Households That Earn Less Spend a Higher Share of Income on Food

Households spend more money on food as their incomes rise, but the amount spent represents a smaller share of their overall budgets, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.

When U.S. households were divided into five equal groups by household income, households in the lowest income group had an average after-tax income of $16,337 and spent an average of $5,090 on food, or about $98 a week, in 2022. Households in the highest income group, with an average after-tax income of $196,794, spent an average of $15,713 on food, about $302 a week. As households gain more disposable income, they often shift to more expensive food options. Food spending as a share of income rose across all income groups in 2022 as food prices increased faster than the overall inflation rate.

In 2022, food spending represented 31.2 percent of the lowest groups’ income, 13.4 percent of income for the middle group, and 8.0 percent of income for the highest group.

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