The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program consists of two surveys, the Quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey, that provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. The survey data are collected for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The CE is important because it is the only Federal survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers. It is used by economic policymakers examining the impact of policy changes on economic groups, by businesses and academic researchers studying consumers' spending habits and trends, by other Federal agencies, and, perhaps most importantly, to regularly revise the Consumer Price Index market basket of goods and services and their relative importance.
The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) is normally a triennial cross-sectional survey of U.S. families, but over the 1983–1989 and 2007–2009 periods, the survey collected panel data. The survey data include information on families’ balance sheets, pensions, income, and demographic characteristics. Information is also included from related surveys of pension providers and the earlier such surveys conducted by the Federal Reserve Board.