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About Migration Dialogue

Migration Dialogue provides timely, factual and nonpartisan information and analysis of international migration issues through five major activities: the newsletters Migration News and Rural Migration News, Changing Face and other Research & Seminars, and the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers.

Contact us at migrant@primal.ucdavis.edu.

Rural Migration News: Consumer Spending 2013

The US Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer Expenditure Survey (www.bls.gov/cex) reported 126 million "consumer units" or households in 2013. They had an average of 2.5 persons, 1.3 earners and 1.9 motor vehicles; 64 percent were homeowners, and the average age of the reference person was 50. Average consumer unit income before taxes was $63,800 and average annual expenditures $51,100.

These expenditures included $6,600 for food (almost 13 percent of expenditures). Food spending was split 63-37 percent, including $4,000 for food eaten at home ($77 a week) and $2,600 for food bought away from home ($50 a week). The cost of food away from home largely reflects convenience, service, atmosphere and other factors not related to food costs. A rule of thumb is that food costs are about 35 percent of the cost of sales in cafeteria-style restaurants, 30 percent in fast food, and 25 percent in fine dining.

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  • Migration News

    Migration News

    Migration News is produced with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and UCB Institute of European Studies. A paper edition is available by mail for $30 domestic and $50 foreign for one year and $55 and $95 for two years. Make checks payable to Migration Dialogue and send to

    Philip Martin, Department of Ag and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis, California 95616 USA.
  • Rural Migration News

    Rural Migration News

    Rural Migration News is produced with the support of the Colcom, Farm, and Giannini Foundations. A paper edition is available by mail for $30 domestic and $50 foreign for one year and $55 and $95 for two-years. Make checks payable to Migration Dialogue and send to

    Philip Martin, Department of Ag and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis, California 95616 USA.
  • Sloan Program On Science and Engineering Workers

    Sloan West Coast Program On S&E Workers

    This network of researchers hosts seminars on labor and immigration issues affecting science and engineering workers, compiles and distributes information on these issues, and cooperates closely with the NBER's SEWP.

  • Changing Face

    Changing Face

    The Changing Face project assesses the effects of immigrant farm workers on agriculture and agricultural communities.

  • Research & Seminars

    Research & Seminars

    Include Opinion Leader Seminars, the Comparative Immigration and Integration Program, and Transatlantic Migration Policy Issue seminars.