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5 things to know about Alabama spending

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Five things to know about new federal data on Alabama households' spending patterns, which reveals consumer spending on a state-by-state basis for the first time:

1. PER CAPITA SPENDING GROWING MODESTLY

Per-capita spending in Alabama rose by about 2.9 percent between 2011 and 2012. The figure is lower than the national average of about 3.3 percent, and the Southeastern regional average of about 3.1 percent. Although overall spending in Alabama has risen each year since 2009, the state's per capita growth rate in 2012 was 37th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

1. ALABAMA SLOWER IN LONG-TERM GROWTH

Although Alabama's per-capita spending increase in 2012 outpaced Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, the state's average growth rate of 4.2 percent between 1997 and 2012 was lowest of the 12 states in the Southeast. Alabama's average spending increase within the same time period was higher on a national level than percentages in Rhode Island, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Michigan.

1. HOUSING, UTILITIES AND HEALTH CARE MAJOR COSTS FOR ALABAMIANS

Data shows that Alabamians spent nearly double on costs for housing and health care in 2012 than they did in 1997, although the numbers haven't been adjusted for inflation. Despite the dramatic rise in housing and utility costs, spending in that category ranked sixth out of 12 states in the region in 2012.

1. ALABAMA PERSONAL SPENDING LOW REGIONALLY, NATIONALLY

The average amount of personal expenditures in Alabama was relatively low in 2012 at $29,537. The figure was only higher than numbers for residents of Nevada, Arkansas and Mississippi.

1. PER CAPITA SPENDING GROWS SINCE RECESSION

Alabama's per-capita total expenditures have grown steadily since the end of the recession in 2009. Data shows that per capita expenditures in 2012 were up by about 10.8 percent since the 2009.

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