Living Expenses Continue to Rise for Farm Families

Non-capital expenses account for largest percent of increase from 2006 to 2007.

Published on: Jul 7, 2008

Living expenses for the average Illinois farm family increased $6,726 between 2006 and 2007, according to a recent University of Illinois Extension study.

"The average amount spent per family for capital items—autos, furniture and household equipment—was $1,426 more, while non-capital expenses jumped $5,300 per family," says U of I Extension farm management specialist Dale Lattz, who conducted the study.

Farm and Family Living Income and Expenses for 2007 is available on Extension's farmdoc website (www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/manage/newsletters/fefo08_12/fefo08_12.html). The study is based on data from 1,232 farm families enrolled in the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association (FBFM). The sample farms were mainly grain enterprise located in central and northern Illinois.

For farm families, income and Social Security tax payments increased about 7% from 2006 to 2007. The amount of income taxes paid in 2007 averaged $10,964 compared to %10,251 in 2006.

"Medical expenses were higher last year compared to 2006," notes Lattz. "Medical expenses include out-of-pocket costs for health insurance along with doctor and hospital expenses."

Off-farm income continues to increase. "Net nonfarm income averaged $31,668 in 2007," Lattz says. This is an increase of 76% in the past 10 years.

Non-capital living expenses averaged $60,294 per year, or $5,025 per month, for the state's average farm family in 2007. "This average was 9.6% higher than in 2006 and 14.3% higher than in 2005," he concludes.