LOS ANGELES — Southern Californians want to look good, spending more on clothes and cars than the rest of the country but less on cigarettes and alcohol, according to a national survey.
The study released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows how people in different parts of the nation spend their money.
Southern Californians spend $7,701 annually for transportation, compared to the U.S. average of $7,215. They also like to buy clothes, shelling out $2,450 each year while the rest of the nation pays an average of $1,816.
It probably comes as no surprise to Southern Californians that the average household spends $16,550, or 37 percent, of its annual expenditures on housing, more than a third above the national average of $12,188. The area’s growing population combined with a short supply of new housing are reasons for people to spend more money here, experts said.
“Scarcity forces people to pay more,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development.
But apparently wellness remains a priority for Southern Californians. They spend about $204 on tobacco products every year, compared with the U.S. average of $309. Only $337 is spent on alcohol, compared with $345 nationally. Wine-loving San Franciscans dropped nearly double the national average on alcohol at $771 annually.
Southern Californians also have enough distractions to keep them from reading. Only $148 is spent every year on books here, compared with $153 nationally.
“The weather is too nice to cuddle up with a good book,” said Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a social psychologist and management professor at the Claremont Graduate University.