Our August eNewsletter cited some statistics on household spending for out-of-home entertainment that showed that higher income households spend significantly more. A graph showing the relationship of income to out-of-home entertainment can now be found on our web site at:

The graph shows how dramatic the impact of household income is on discretionary out-of-home entertainment spending.

One eNewsletter reader commented that the differences in out-of-home entertainment spending might only reflect increased visits to large facilities like theme parks and that the differences in spending for community-based entertainment facilities like FECs and children's entertainment/edutainment facilities might not be influenced by income or education. So we did some digging for more information.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey data we cited in August does not contain a more detailed breakdown on out-of-home entertainment spending. So we turned to the movie industry. A visit to a cinema is very similar to a visit to a community-based family entertainment facility in drivetime, length-of-stay and per capita spending. Here's what we found:

In 2000, adults with at least some college education were more frequent or occasional movie-goers than high school graduates; and high school graduates were more frequent or occasional movie-goers than adults without a high school diploma. Here's the 2000 percentages for movie attendance:

  Frequent Occasional
Some College 31% 37%
High School Grad 23% 29%
Less then HS Grad 19% 23%

Although this data related education to movie attendance, there is a direct relationship between education and income.

We also found some 2001 data on what are known as Big Movie Patrons, people who go to a lot of movies. Not surprisingly, 66% had college degrees or better and 24% had graduate degrees (only 27% of the US adult population has a college or graduate degree). Their average household incomes was $90,120, with 33% earning over $100,000 a year.

It can be reasonably interpolated from this data on movie attendance that the relationship of household income and educational attainment to out-of-home entertainment spending does apply to community-based entertainment spending at facilities like FECs. This further emphasizes that feasibility and financial success does not depend only on the market area's population size, but even more importantly on their incomes, education and socio-economics.