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How Car-Reliance Squeezes the Middle Class

Three alarming charts from new data on transportation spending.
relates to How Car-Reliance Squeezes the Middle Class
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Over at Wonkblog, Max Ehrenfreund breaks down how the rich and poor really spend their money, using a great new dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that splits Americans into income deciles (ten equal-sized groupings). But the stats also show how the middle-class spend their money, and when it comes to annual transportation expenditures, the results are pretty alarming.

In the basic-necessity categories of food and housing, the numbers align in predictable ways. The rich spend more in these areas, but this spending also accounts for a lower share of overall annual household expenditures—with the reverse true for low-income Americans. So, in the chart below, the columns representing food and housing expenses climb, just as the lines representing those costs as shares of total household expenditures slope down: