Thanksgiving: Is the holiday cheaper this year?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Thanksgiving
Vox website charts Thanksgiving inflation 2014

Click on this chart compiled by Vox to visit the Vox website and read the entire story about the relative cost of Thanksgiving dinner.

Gas prices are down, so if you’re driving this year, you’ll be spending a bit less on gas for your vehicle.

What about food? Is the cost of Thanksgiving dinner higher, lower, or about the same this year as last year?

It depends on what you’re having for dinner. Butter and margarine are a lot more expensive now than last year—16% higher, according to CPI data compiled by Vox. Steak and bacon are more expensive, too.

But a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year is less than 1% higher than it was last year. Compared to the cost of Thanksgiving dinner in the past, this year is about average. The lowest cost for Thanksgiving dinner occurred in 1987, about 15% cheaper than it is this time. Expensive years include 2011, 2007, and 1989.

Despite these holiday fluctuations, there’s been a long term decline in food spending over the decades, according to data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Americans spent a much bigger share of their disposable incomes on food in the 1930s, 19040s, and 1950s than they do now.

Cheaper food doesn’t mean that millions of Americans are not going hungry. Over 49 million people lived in food insecure households in 2013, according to Feeding America. This includes almost 16 million children.

Are you spending less, more, or about the same on Thanksgiving this year, compared to last?

What’s happening in your community to alleviate hunger this season?

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  1. Dennis Crouch says

    As a member of the Greater Dayton area, we support the “Holt Street Miracle Center” of Dayton through Wright-Patterson AFB Chapel community monthly gifts of non-perishable food that supports homeless in the Montgomery County area. We also support the “Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greene County,” another church led organization that provides a short term home, food and hosting services for families that are homeless in the Greene County area.

    Importantly, this support is not just seasonal but is giving throughout the year. The people requiring assistance change often, but the overall need remains fairly constant.