Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 335–353 | Cite as

Expenditure Flows Near Widowhood

  • Jessie X. Fan
  • Cathleen D. Zick


Using data from the 1980–2001 Consumer Expenditure Surveys, we investigate how impending widowhood affects households’ expenditure patterns. We find that total annual expenditures are $4,027 higher for about-to-be-widowed households compared to otherwise comparable continuously married couples. Within subcategories, expenditures average $4,108 higher for the miscellaneous subcategory which includes expenditures on funerals/burials. We conclude that differences in the needs-adjusted incomes of married and widowed households may be partly a function of pre-widowhood differences in their expenditure patterns that lead about-to-be-widowhood households to draw down on financial wealth.


budget allocation Consumer Expenditure Survey expenditure pattern widowhood. 



The research reported in this paper was supported by the National Institute on Aging Grant 1 R03 AG18902-01. We are grateful to Kuo-Liang Chang for his excellent research support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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