How and where residents in the Tri-Cities spend their money


Looking at the Tri-Cities region as a single marketplace is the only way to have a handle of the local economic big picture. But there’s also benefit into a deep dive into the differences of house consumers in each of the region’s major cities spend their money – especially if you examine each community share of spending on specific items.

Basically, those shares are closely aligned. But there are some differences that help business people better understand some of the overall and specific spending dynamics.

The Census Bureau’s Business Builder is a suite of services that provide selected demographic and economic data tailored to specific types of users. The primary use is a data-driven decision making took to help people start or grow a business or understand the landscape for a region.

There’s one part of that tool that offers a broad examination of consumer spending by household.  It shows that Johnson City leads the other cities in consumer spending. But it also shows that despite the similarities and proximity of the Twin Cities, there’s a big difference in consumer spending.

Comparing the share of total household spending to specific categories also illustrates that Johnson City’s household spending is frequently out of sync with the share spent in the other cities.  This example uses the method of comparing the share of total household spending per spending category. Here’s a sample of what that dive shows:

  • The largest share of household spending across the board is on housing. It accounts for 31% of household spending in Johnson City. The smallest share is 30.3% in Elizabethton and Kingsport.
  • The share of spending on alcoholic beverages is even among the city markets, and locals like to drink at home since the highest share of that spending is on alcoholic beverages consumed at home.
  • Spending on education is higher in Johnson City, which is to be expected since it is home to East Tennessee State University and Milligan College is in its economic sphere.
  • Tri-Cities residents like to eat out, and Johnson City households have a higher share of total spending on this item than the other cities. The share of spending is basically the same for the other cities.
  • The share of household income that goes to recreation and entertainment is even in all cities except Johnson City, where it’s the lowest share in this category.
  • The share of household spending on food bought to consume at home is highest in Elizabethton and lowest in Johnson City.
  • Health care in Johnson City consumes the least share of household spending it’s highest in Bristol, TN.
  • The share of household spending on transportation is highest in Bristol, TN and Elizabethton and lowest in Johnson City.



Categories: ECONOMY

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