Consumer Expenditure Survey Family-Level Extracts -- 1980:1 - 2003:2

This page contains the NBER collection of the Consumer Expenditure Survey. The Consumer Expenditure Survey, done by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, collects information from the Nation's households and families on their buying habits (expenditures), income, and characteristics. The strength of the survey is that it allows data users to relate the expenditures and income of consumers to the characteristics of those consumers. The survey consists of two components, a quarterly Interview Survey and a weekly Diary Survey, each with its own questionnaire and sample. The extracts of the quarterly Interview Survey, initiated by John Sabelhaus and continued by Ed Harris of the Congressional Budget Office, make access to data much more straightforward.

The family records data contain consumer unit information on expenditures, income, wealth, and basic household demographics. The member record data contains additional consumer unit member earnings and demographic information.

1985 Q3 and Q4 and 1995 Q3 and Q4 are not available due to a change in the sampling frame.

For each household, the four quarterly records have been merged into an annual record. For example, the 1997:1 files contain the annual expenditures for households that began the survey 1997:1 and combines expenditures reported from 1997:1 - 1997:4. None of the newid variables will match across quarters because each quarter is a completely different sample.

Both ".Z" and ".zip" files can be uncompressed with winzip. In addition, ".Z" files can be uncompressed using the UNIX uncompress command and ".zip" files can be unzipped with uncompression software. To check the ability to uncompress these files, download the small files compress.Z or These files give an example of how to read in .Z and .zip ASCII files into SAS for UNIX without decompressing the files. To download files in Internet Explorer, right click on them and select "Save Target As...". If the pdf documents appear to be all blank pages, get the latest Acrobat Reader at

The file size for the family files is about 300 Kb compressed, 3 Mb uncompressed. The size of the member files is about 300 Kb compressed, 1.5 Mb uncompressed. The compression ratio is over 90%. Documentation, family records, member records, and FORTRAN source code is available below. The source data used to create the extracts is available only from the BLS.

Internal users can access this data in a UNIX shell at /homes/data/ces_cbo or on an NBER PC via Network Neighborhood --> NBER --> home --> data --> ces_cbo

Updates and changes.

Documentation, Variable List, and Sample SAS Files

Documentation -- MS Word Cexfam.doc
Documentation -- WordPerfect Cexfam.wpd
Documentation -- Adobe PDF Cexfam.pdf
Documentation -- Text Cexfam.txt
Suggested Variable names & positions varlist.txt
Sample SAS Program -- Family Files
Sample SAS Program -- Member Files
Sample SAS Program -- Merges the member and family files


Q1-Q4, Pkzipped
Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4
UNIX Compressed
1980 ffile801.Z ffile802.Z ffile803.Z ffile804.Z
1981 ffile811.Z ffile812.Z ffile813.Z ffile814.Z
1982 ffile821.Z ffile822.Z ffile823.Z ffile824.Z
1983 ffile831.Z ffile832.Z ffile833.Z ffile834.Z
1984 ffile841.Z ffile842.Z ffile843.Z ffile844.Z
1985 ffile851.Z ffile852.Z NA NA
1986 ffile861.Z ffile862.Z ffile863.Z ffile864.Z
1987 ffile871.Z ffile872.Z ffile873.Z ffile874.Z
1988 ffile881.Z ffile882.Z ffile883.Z ffile884.Z
1989 ffile891.Z ffile892.Z ffile893.Z ffile894.Z
1990 ffile901.Z ffile902.Z ffile903.Z ffile904.Z
1991 ffile911.Z ffile912.Z ffile913.Z ffile914.Z
1992 ffile921.Z ffile922.Z ffile923.Z ffile924.Z
1993 ffile931.Z ffile932.Z ffile933.Z ffile934.Z
1994 ffile941.Z ffile942.Z ffile943.Z ffile944.Z
1995 ffile951.Z ffile952.Z NA NA
1996 ffile961.Z ffile962.Z ffile963.Z ffile964.Z
1997 ffile971.Z ffile972.Z ffile973.Z ffile974.Z
1998 ffile981.Z ffile982.Z ffile983.Z ffile984.Z
1999 ffile991.Z ffile992.Z ffile993.Z ffile994.Z
2000 ffile001.Z ffile002.Z ffile003.Z ffile004.Z
2001 ffile011.Z ffile012.Z ffile013.Z ffile014.Z
2002 ffile021.Z ffile022.Z ffile023.Z ffile024.Z
2003 ffile031.Z ffile032.Z -- --


Q1-Q4, Pkzipped
Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4
UNIX Compressed
1980 mfile801.Z mfile802.Z mfile803.Z mfile804.Z
1981 mfile811.Z mfile812.Z mfile813.Z mfile814.Z
1982 mfile821.Z mfile822.Z mfile823.Z mfile824.Z
1983 mfile831.Z mfile832.Z mfile833.Z mfile834.Z
1984 mfile841.Z mfile842.Z mfile843.Z mfile844.Z
1985 mfile851.Z mfile852.Z NA NA
1986 mfile861.Z mfile862.Z mfile863.Z mfile864.Z
1987 mfile871.Z mfile872.Z mfile873.Z mfile874.Z
1988 mfile881.Z mfile882.Z mfile883.Z mfile884.Z
1989 mfile891.Z mfile892.Z mfile893.Z mfile894.Z
1990 mfile901.Z mfile902.Z mfile903.Z mfile904.Z
1991 mfile911.Z mfile912.Z mfile913.Z mfile914.Z
1992 mfile921.Z mfile922.Z mfile923.Z mfile924.Z
1993 mfile931.Z mfile932.Z mfile933.Z mfile934.Z
1994 mfile941.Z mfile942.Z mfile943.Z mfile944.Z
1995 mfile951.Z mfile952.Z NA NA
1996 mfile961.Z mfile962.Z mfile963.Z mfile964.Z
1997 mfile971.Z mfile972.Z mfile973.Z mfile974.Z
1998 mfile981.Z mfile982.Z mfile983.Z mfile984.Z
1999 mfile991.Z mfile992.Z mfile993.Z mfile994.Z
2000 mfile001.Z mfile002.Z mfile003.Z mfile004.Z
2001 mfile011.Z mfile012.Z mfile013.Z mfile014.Z
2002 mfile021.Z mfile022.Z mfile023.Z mfile024.Z
2003 mfile031.Z mfile032.Z -- --

FORTRAN Source Code

The source data used to create the extracts is available from the BLS.

main.f90 Main Program
doccex.f90 Creates 109 income, expenditure, and wealth categories
cexqtr.f90 Reads source CEX files (available from the BLS)
cexfam.f90 Creates unified family record from cexqtr.f90 output
create f & m files Applies attrition adjustment factors to cexfam.f90 output
inc22 An input file for doccex.f90
con47 An input file for doccex.f90
oth40 An input file for doccex.f90
mapwtv2.txt Maps CE interviews to calendar years
cextitle Contains titles of the 109 CE categories
Declarations A module containing program control variables used by many modules
aggreage Compares CEX and NIPA aggregates over time

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Last Update: July 17, 2011 Created by Jean Roth September 20, 2000

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