Northern Ireland

NI family spending report in detail

People in Northern Ireland spend the most in the UK on alcohol, soft drinks, potatoes, sweets and toilet paper, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

However, the report suggests housing costs, including power bills, are the lowest in the United Kingdom.

The weekly spending habits of about 1,100 people in Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2012 were surveyed.

While some of the figures might be expected, it also came up with some surprising details.

Here is a breakdown of some of the areas studied in its report on family spending.

Meat and potatoes

Image caption Meat and potatoes are very popular in Northern Ireland

Meat and spuds are a big part of the local diet, and Northern Ireland spends the most on beef - £2.90 compared with the UK average of £1.70. The average spend of £2.70 on poultry and £1.50 on bacon and ham is also the highest in the UK.

It's no surprise that potatoes are the most popular in NI, with a £1.20 weekly spend, 30p higher than the average. However, Northern Ireland spends less than average on fresh vegetables in general; £3.40 a week is 70p less than the average UK figure. The £3.10 weekly spend on fresh fruit is the same as the UK average.

The £6 spent per week by the average Northern Ireland household on bread, rice and cereals is the highest in the UK, which spends £5.10 on average.

However, it seems that Northern Ireland has a sweet tooth - the 80p weekly spend is 20p higher than the average UK figure; the money spent on chocolate of £1.80 a week is the joint highest, and 10p above the UK average.

Eating out

Image caption Northern Ireland households enjoy going to restaurants

When it comes to dining away from home, Northern Ireland households spend £43.90 - more than £10 higher than the UK average.

Northern Ireland households spend £17.70 a week on restaurants and cafe meals, while the UK average is £14.60.

Takeaway food to eat at home is also the most popular in Northern Ireland, with £7.30 a week going towards carryout meals - more than £3 higher than the average.

Northern Ireland people also spend the most at chip and burger vans - £5.30 goes towards eating on the go; £1 more than the average. The £3 household spend on canteen food is also the highest out of any region.

Cigarettes and alcohol

Image caption Northern Ireland spends 10p a week less than the UK average of £2 on beer

The sweet tooth is also evident in the money spent on soft drinks where Northern Ireland comes top with £2.40 a week going on fizzy treats - this is 10p more than Scotland and 60p higher than the overall UK figure.

When it comes to money spent on alcohol, Northern Ireland is number one, spending £16.10 a week per household - its nearest rival is Scotland with £14.30, while the UK average is £12.10.

Northern Ireland and Scottish people spend the most on spirits in off-licences - £2.20 a week is £1 more than those in London, while the UK average is £1.50.

When it comes to beer and cider off-sales, Northern Ireland spends 10p a week less than the UK average of £2. Yorkshire and the Humber area in the north of England spend the most with £2.60.

The average weekly household spend by Northern Ireland people on wines and fortified wines is £3.40 - also less than the UK figure of £3.90. By way of comparison, the south west of England spends £4.90 a week.

But Northern Ireland spends the most on alcopops - 30p a week compared with the UK average of 10p.

And households in Northern Ireland spend more than £3 a week more in pubs and bars - the figure of £10.60 is the highest out of any nation or region in the UK.

The £7.80 weekly household spend on cigarettes in Northern Ireland is also well above the UK average of £3.90 - Scotland comes in second with a £5.40 weekly spend.

Fashion

Image caption Women spend £13.50 a week per household on fashion

The survey suggests that when it comes to looking good, Northern Ireland people spend the most on their appearance.

More than twice the UK weekly household average goes towards clothes - £39.30 a week is spent on outer garments, compared to £18.30.

The men in Northern Ireland spend £9.10 on keeping up to date with the latest trends, while the UK average is £4.70.

Women spend £13.50 a week per household, more than £5 more than the UK average.

And it is not just what is on the outside. When it comes to underwear, Northern Ireland men spend the joint highest amount of 50p a week; 10p more than the UK average. Northern Ireland women also spend the most; £1.70 compared with the £1.10 overall UK figure.

More money also goes towards children's clothes in Northern Ireland: £1.70 goes towards girls' clothes - £1 is the UK average - while £1.30 is spent on boys' clothes, 50p higher than the UK figure.

Northern Ireland also spends almost twice the UK average per week on footwear - £8.20 compared with £4.50.

Transport

Image caption Northern Ireland households spend a lot on petrol

The average Northern Ireland household spends more each week on petrol than households in any other region of the UK - the average spend was £34.30 in Northern Ireland, compared to a UK average of £23.70.

However, the overall amount spent on transport of £61 is almost £3 lower than the UK average.

The money that goes towards buying new and second-hand vehicles is substantially lower in Northern Ireland: £5.20 compared with the UK figure of £18.60.

For those who choose or are forced to use public transport, the £10.80 weekly spend in Northern Ireland is 10p lower than the UK average, while Londoners spend £22 a week per household.

Miscellaneous figures

Image caption Northern Ireland people are the most enthusiastic gamblers

Northern Ireland households seem to have the greatest appetite for news - the £2.30 weekly spend is the highest out of any region, and well above the UK average of £1.70.

Another popular form of paper is loo roll - Northern Ireland households spend the most on toilet paper - £4.80 a week compared with an overall average of £3.40.

The survey suggests Northern Ireland people take great pride in their appearance. Not only do they spend the most on clothes, they also spend the most on hair products and cosmetics - £5.20 a week per household compared with an average of £3.70.

Another intriguing detail suggests that Northern Ireland people are the most enthusiastic gamblers, spending £4.10 a week on bets compared to a UK average of £2.90.

However, they are not the most successful punters: a section titled "windfall receipts from gambling, etc" shows an average income of £1.50 a week, which is the UK average.

The survey suggests that despite this lack of luck, Northern Ireland people are the most generous when it comes to charity, spending £16.50 a week on cash gifts and donations, compared with an average of £9.30.

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