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Tracking the spend of one-person households

Published:Wednesday | April 15, 2015 | 3:11 PM

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) said Wednesday that while it collects data on the differing consumption patterns of male and female-headed households, it would have to launch a new survey to track the consumption patterns of Jamaicans who are living single - a trend noted to be increasing in the last three surveys.

The Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) disclosed that 25 per cent of households now comprise adults who live by themselves, sustaining a trend which was first picked up in 2009 and which continued in 2010. The last survey, based on data collected in 2012, was published in early 2015.

The most recent survey reaffirmed that the trend of declining household size, with single person households being the most prevalent household type, accounting for a quarter of all household types, while two-member households accounting for a fifth or 20 per cent.

More than a half of all households were categorised as small, comprising two to four members.

The PIOJ currently tracks the consumption habits of female-headed and male-headed households in entertainment, eating out, housing and other indicators.

In the most recent survey, single-

person households were overwhelmingly represented (46.3 per cent) in the wealthiest quintile, while 13.2 per cent of single person households were in the poorest quintile.

In previous data collected in 2010, the data showed that it is mostly men who are living alone, accounting for 67.7 per cent of all single person households. It also found that one-third of elderly people above 65 years live by themselves.

time-consuming process

"The comparative consumption patterns of single-person households would require extensive programming of the JSLC dataset - a process that requires a fair amount of time - since we do not have the data currently available with this disaggregation," the PIOJ said on Wednesday.

But the economic planning agency also said that even though there was an increase in single person households in the economy, "it has not affected per capita consumption at all."

For larger households, data provided by the agency shows that female-led households spend $226,375 per annum compared to $282,249 per year for male-headed.

The analysis is based on consumption of food and beverages, fuel and food supplies, housing and household expenses, household and durable goods, personal care, health care, clothing and footwear, transportation, education, recreation, and miscellaneous consumption.

Male-headed households spend more on beverages and meals away from home, racking up $123,289 of spending on food items per annum, compared to $99,340 spent on food by female-headed households.