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Regional expenditures on entertainment fees and admissions

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The FRED Blog has examined how much people spend on recreation and what industries receive that spending. Today we’re having some more fun with data by comparing regional differences in spending on fees and admissions to entertainment events.

The FRED graph above shows annual data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data on household spending on fees and admissions to the arts, movies, sporting events, and other entertainment are available for each of the four regions defined by the Census Bureau. To compare data across regions, we present the dollar amount spent on fees and admissions as a fraction of overall expenditures in entertainment.

Between 1984, when data are first available, and the time of this writing, households in all regions gradually and unevenly spent less on fees and admissions to entertainment events. As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic represented a large-scale disruption to this type of spending.

Also noteworthy is the relatively low proportion of this type of spending in the South region (represented by the blue line) compared with the Midwest, West, and Northeast. This pattern could reflect several factors.

The BLS report on expenditures on fees and admissions to entertainment events by Bonnie Nichols documents higher spending among households with higher levels of educational attainment and income. Other factors beyond those explored in this regional analysis could also play a role: for example, the availability of entertainment options across the country (e.g., museums, amusement parks, sport venues) or regional preferences that could generate higher opportunity costs (e.g., outdoor activities such as boating or hunting vs. watching live sports or attending a concert).

And speaking of concerts, the FRED Blog can’t say for sure if there’ll be a “Taylor Swift effect” on household spending on entertainment during 2023. But be sure to come back and visit when we tour the data again. There’s no admission fee to the greatest show on FRED!

How this graph was created: Search for and select “Expenditures: Entertainment: Fees and Admissions by Region: Residence in the South Census Region.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Edit Line 1” tab to customize the data by searching for and selecting “Expenditures: Entertainment by Region: Residence in the South Census Region.” Next, create a custom formula to combine the series by typing in “a/b” and clicking “Apply.” Repeat the previous steps to add and customize expenditure data from the three other Census regions.

Suggested by Erica Wu and Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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