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Consumption and Age

Theoretical Framework, Diversity Among Older Persons, Overview Of Household Spending, Differences In Consumption Among Older Persons

Simply defined, consumption is household spending on consumption goods and services. However, consumption can also be defined as the satisfaction obtained by consumers from the use of goods and services. A person's life-cycle stage is usually regarded as the most important predictor of consumption. Households headed by young people usually spend less than average on products and services because their households are small and their incomes are low. In middle age, spending reaches a maximum as family size increases and incomes peak. Spending then declines in older age as household size and income decline.

The changing demographics of the American population are likely to affect consumption in the future. There were 34.4 million persons age sixty-five or older in the United States in 1998, and by 2030 there will be about 70 million persons age sixty-five or older. In 1998 this age group represented 12.7 percent of the U.S. population; in 2030 the comparable figure will be 20 percent. Diversity within the older population, and how it changes, will also influence consumption of goods and services.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1