What Is the Consumer Price Index?


Quick Answer

The Consumer Price Index is a statistic that measures the change in the cost of goods and services bought by households throughout the United States. It is calculated and published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Labor.

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Full Answer

The categories of goods and services used to calculate the Consumer Price Index include food and beverages, housing, apparel, transportation, and medical care. Additional categories are recreation, education, communication, and other goods and services such as personal care and funerals. The information is collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by conducting interviews and from diaries that are kept by selected families. The index is based on the prices of products that are actually purchased rather than charting the price of particular items.

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