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While Benjamin Franklin once said, "Nothing is more fatal to health than an over care of it," people are now living longer and have growing expectations for the quality and availability of healthcare. As one of the largest industries in the United States, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. From 2014 to 2024, the demand for healthcare workers is projected to grow faster than the rate for all occupations.
In this Spotlight, we look at the healthcare industry, including how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.
Healthcare expenditures include spending on health insurance, medical services, drugs, and medical supplies. In 2014, the average U.S. household spent $4,290 on healthcare, or 8 percent of total spending. Among healthcare expenditures, households spent the most on health insurance ($2,868). Medical services represented 18 percent of total healthcare expenditures. Among medical services, households spent the most on dental services ($281).
In 2014, households ranked in the top 20 percent in annual income spent an average of $7,219 on healthcare. That was almost 4 times the amount spent by households in the lowest 20 percent ($1,868). The top 20 percent also spent more than the combined amount spent by households in the lowest 40 percent.
In 2014, households in the top 20 percent in annual income spent a smaller proportion (7 percent) of their annual spending on healthcare than any other income group. Households in the second lowest 20 percent spent 10 percent of their annual spending on healthcare, the largest share among the five (quintile) income groups.