For anyone who's ever looked at their bank statement and wondered, "Where does all my money go?", a new number-crunch from the New York Times might be able to help. The author, an associate professor at USC's Price School of Public Policy, took a look at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey, which has info on household spending from 2007 to 2012, specifically exploring items that are purchased to exhibit status (cars, jewels), as well as normal, everyday purchases. In the end, she compared 18 metro areas to see whether residents spent above or below the national average on 24 items—things like fancy watches, non-alcoholic beer, and mutton. The results offer a unique and hilarious snapshot of Los Angeles's population that casts doubt on some LA stereotypes and potentially builds a few new ones.
As revealed in the above diagram, Los Angeles spends 374 percent above the national average on motorcycle rentals for out-of-town vacations (so rugged!) and 118 percent over the average for final real estate (aka funeral costs). Angelenos also spend 242 percent more than the average American on storing clothes, and 103 percent more on charity.
But despite all the tiny dogs in clothes that are somehow allowed in every store everywhere, LA isn't totally indulgent with its pets: residents spend 30 percent less than the national average on animal companions. (Ok, maybe we're still pretty indulgent, just less so than a lot of other people.) Elsewhere in the Golden State, San Francisco can add alimony to the Golden Gate Bridge and cute trolleys on the list of things it should be known for; households in that city pay 250 percent more than the national average in spousal support. Households in San Diego, henceforth known as BabyTown, spend a confounding 360 percent more than the average household on "infants' equipment." Info for both cities is below.