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Monday, August 22, 2011

Ag Stats

I was trained as an agricultural economist at Cornell, where George F. Warren birthed the discipline of agricultural economics (The University of Wisconsin and Henry C. Taylor would take issue with that statement). As such I love to ruminate on tables like the following. Understandably, you may not be so engrossed with it so let me summarize some interesting points.

1.   Americans spent 1.1 trillion dollars on food in 2010. Wow!
    2.   In 1930, the average American spent 24.2% if their take home pay on food. By 2010 this was reduced to 9.4%. That is amazing! Particularly since through the history of mankind, most people spent most of their time trying to get food. But our agricultural systems have freed up over 90% of our income to use for other things, like big screen TVs. Some would argue that there are other costs to our agricultural systems such as environmental and societal costs. I would not disagree but our agricultural systems are trying to feed almost 7 billion people.

    3.  In 1930 the average American ate 12.7% of the value of their food outside the home – restaurants, etc.
      That number grew to 41.3% in 2010. And a large part of that is eaten in fast food restaurants.
    4.  Assuming that food prepared in the home is cheaper that restaurants, and it certainly is for us, the average person could reduce their food bill much lower than even 9.4% of their take home pay if they ate out less often. I know this is true because for years we fed a family of 8 on about 10% of my income. However, right now I have a 6’4” sixteen year old who is eating me out of house and home. 

    Click to Enlarge Table
    So what conclusions can you draw from this table?


    Allison at Novice Life said...

    Wow, very interesting stats!

    MAYBELLINE said...

    Sadly, the "disposable" income is just that...disposable. People seem to fling their money away. Frugality is a wonderful trait.

    Anonymous said...

    Great post, very eye opening!

    daisy said...

    I KNEW I was on to something!!!