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On average in 1997, the lowest income group allocated fewer that 1 in 4 food dollars to meals away from home, while the highest income group allocated more than 1 in 3 food dollars to meals away from home.
For the five groups shown in the chart, the share of food expenditures that went to meals away from home ranged from 24.1 percent for the lowest income group to 34.3 percent for the highest.
The higher the income group, the higher was the share spent on food away from home. However, the share did not steadily increase with income. There was virtually no difference in share between the highest and next to highest income groups. In contrast there were nearly 4 percentage points between the middle group and the group just below it.
These data are a product of the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey program. Additional information is available from "Let’s do lunch: expenditures on meals away from home," by Geoffrey D. Paulin, Monthly Labor Review, May 2000.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Income and meals away from home at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2000/jul/wk1/art01.htm (visited March 31, 2023).