OTTAWA — Canadian households spent an average of $71,360 in 2008, two per cent more than in 2007.
But luxuries played a relatively minor role, as the basics of subsistence accounted for the bulk of the increase.
Personal taxes accounted for 20.5 per cent of the average household’s budget in 2008, while shelter represented 19.9 per cent, transportation 13.6 and food 10.4.
Albertans reported the highest average spending — $86,910 — followed by Ontarians at $77,310.
The largest increase in average spending per household was in Saskatchewan, where it rose 6.8 per cent to $68,280.
Households in Newfoundland and Labrador reported the lowest average spending, at $57,710 — 4.9 per cent more than in 2007.
Other 2008 household spending facts in the Statistics Canada report released Friday:
— Average personal taxes amounted to $14,600, up 1.1 per cent from 2007. Taxes’ share of total spending was below their 1996 peak of 22 per cent.
— Spending on shelter rose four per cent to $14,180, driven by a 10.5 per cent rise in average spending for rental accommodation.
— Households spent an average of $9,720 on transportation, up 3.5 per cent. Average spending on purchase of automobiles and trucks was up 6.7 per cent, while spending on gasoline and other fuels increased by 0.5 to $2,230. Average spending on public transportation was $1,020, up 5.3 per cent.
— Provincially, the proportion spent on food was highest in Quebec (12.2 per cent) and lowest in Alberta (8.9). Food, shelter, clothing account for over half of spending by lowest income households
— Average household spending on cell phone and other wireless services was up 6.6 per cent from 2007 to $550. Household spending on landline telephone service continued to fall, declining 5.1 per cent to $580.
— Nearly four in five households (79.4 per cent) reported owning a computer in 2008; up , while 74.6 per cent reported having access to the Internet at home. Spending for computer hardware was down 2.7 per cent, but spending for Internet access was up 6.1.
— Average household spending on reading materials decreased 2.7 per cent to $250. This reflected declines for magazines and periodicals (down 9.6 per cent), books (down 0.9) and newspapers (down 2.3).