$129.25. That was the average monthly electric bill in 2021.
Per the gold standard for understanding what American households spend money on, the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Its 2021 data was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on September 8.
The average monthly electric bill in 2020 was $126.33. So, the 2021 average was 2.3 percent higher.
The average monthly electric bill back in 1984, the first year of the Consumer Expenditure Survey, was just $52.42. Though that was 2.86 percent of households’ total expenditures on everything. In 2021, electric bills had fallen to 2.32 percent of total expenditures.
That’s because households’ total expenditures rose 204.6 percent from 1984 to 2021. Electric bills rose 146.6 percent during the thirty-seven-year period. An increase considerably less than total expenditures.
The average monthly electric bill exceeded a hundred dollars for the first time in the year 2006. And a hundred and twenty dollars for the first time in 2016.
As usual, the average monthly bill paid by the twenty-three million households in the northeast, twenty-eight million in the midwest, and thirty million in the west was below the national average. The northeast average bill was $123.25. The midwest average bill was $116.67. The west average bill was $117.92.
The average monthly bill paid by the south’s fifty-two million households was above the national average. As it always is. In 2021, the south’s average was $145.42.
Northeast households’ electric bills were 2.04 percent of their total expenditures on everything in 2021, on average. For midwest households, this average was 2.17 percent. For west households, this average was only 1.91 percent. But for south households, this average was 2.84 percent.
The data are clear. Consumers’ electric bills are proportional to consumers’ income. The higher the average electric bill, in general, the higher the average income.
For example, divide American households into fifths.
Nearly twenty-seven million households have the lowest income before taxes. Their average income was $13,165.
And nearly twenty-seven million households have the highest income before taxes. Their average income was $226,386.
In between is the next to the lowest income households, the middle-income households, and the next to the highest income households.
The average monthly electric bill of the lowest income households was $100.08 in 2021. While the average bill of the highest income households was $163.08, 63 percent greater.
The three groups in between averaged electric bills of $115.92, $125.50, and $141.33. Just as their average bills increase from one fifth of the households to the next, their group’s average income before taxes increases too. From $34,767 to $61,214 to $100,527.
Electric bills of the lowest income households averaged 3.89 percent of their total expenditures on everything. In contrast, electric bills of the highest income households averaged just 1.53 percent of their total expenditures.
The data are also clear about how much more rural households pay for electricity than urban households. Twenty-four million households are in rural communities. A hundred and nine million households are in urban areas. The average monthly electric bill paid by rural households was $160.58. The average bill paid by urban households was only $122.25.