About 73 million US households now have discretionary income, up from about 57 million in 2002, according to a report by The Conference Board. The proportion of the US population with discretionary income has increased to nearly 64%, up from 52% in 2002.
Households with discretionary income, as defined by the study, are those whose spendable income exceeds that held by households with similar demographic features.
Total discretionary income in the US topped $1.7 trillion in 2006, with the household average at $24,335. Per capita income stood at $9,148.
“While the percentage of households with discretionary income has risen over the past several years, purchasing power remains concentrated in the wallets of the affluent,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
Nearly 78% of all discretionary income is held by households earning more than $100,000. Average discretionary income for this segment, $66,451, is 2.7 times the national average.
Below, some highlights of The Conference Board report:
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