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National Accounts at a Glance 2011
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branch Expenditure
  branch 10. Household consumption

Household final consumption expenditure is typically the largest component of final uses of GDP, representing in general around 60% of GDP. It is therefore an essential variable for economic analysis of demand. An additional concept, (household) actual individual consumption, also exists in the SNA. This concept allocates individual consumption expenditures of general government and NPISHs (those that directly benefit households) to households (the ultimate consumers of these expenditures), providing an important measure for cross-country comparisons, in particular for comparisons of well-being.

Definition

Household final consumption expenditure covers all purchases made by resident households (home or abroad) to meet their everyday needs: food, clothing, housing services (rents), energy, transport, durable goods (notably cars), spending on health, on leisure and on miscellaneous services.

It also includes a number of imputed expenditures, for example agricultural products produced for own-consumption but the most significant imputation is typically owner--occupiers' imputed rents. The other main imputed item of expenditure relates to income in kind (employees may receive goods and services either free of charge or at very low prices as part of their wages).

By convention, apart from dwellings, all goods and services bought by households to meet their own everyday needs are recorded as final consumption. Purchases of dwellings are recorded as gross fixed capital formation. Partial payments for goods and services "provided" by general government are included in household final consumption. This covers cases in which households have to pay a part of the public services provided, for example prescription medicines and medical services partly reimbursed by government. The portion that is reimbursed forms part of expenditure by general government, and, so, also, of household actual individual consumption.

Households' actual individual consumption is equal to households' consumption expenditure plus those (individual) expenditures of general government and NPISHs that directly benefit households, such as,healthcare and education. See also Indicator 5 on disposable income.

 

Comparability

Comparability of both concepts (household final consumption and household actual individual consumption) is good. However, cross-country comparisons of actual individual consumption provide a better basis to measure relative well-being across countries. This is because there are significant differences between countries regarding the proportion of expenditure on healthcare and education paid directly by households and the proportion paid on their behalf by government, which are financed for example through taxes and that do not form part of household final consumption.

Figure 10.2 shows actual individual consumption per head using PPPs specifically related to actual individual consumption and are therefore different to those used for overall GDP.

Table 10.3 and Figure 10.3 show the contribution made by household final consumption (and other components of final demand and imports) to overall GDP growth. Note that for those countries that deflate their current price estimates of GDP using superlative price indices, such as the United States, the sum of the contribution of the individual components will not necessarily sum to the overall GDP growth rate.

Source

Online database

Further reading

Indicator in PDF Acrobat PDF page

Tables
10.1. Household final and actual individual consumption
    Table in Excel
10.2. Household final consumption, volume
    Table in Excel
10.3. Contribution to GDP growth by final demand components
    Table in Excel

Figures
10.1 Household final and actual individual consumption Figure in Excel
Household final and actual individual
consumption
10.2 Household final and actual individual consumption per capita, OECD = 100 Figure in Excel
Household final and actual individual consumption per
capita, OECD = 100
10.3 Contribution to GDP growth by final demand components Figure in Excel
Contribution to GDP growth by final demand
components