2.9.2 
Energy Burden
Definitions 
































Energy burden
is an important statistic for policy makers who are considering the need for
energy assistance. Energy burden can be 

defined
broadly as the burden placed on household incomes by the cost of energy, or
more simply, the ratio of energy expenditures 

to household
income. However, there are different ways to compute energy burden, and
different interpretations and uses of 


the energy
burden statistics. DOE Weatherization primarily uses mean individual burden
and mean group burden since these 


statistics
provide data on how an "average" individual household fares against
an "average" group of households (that is, how 


burdens are
distributed for the population). DOE Weatherization (and HHS) also uses the
median individual burden which shows 

the burden of a
"typical" individual. 

































Mean
Individual Burden: This statistic is calculated by first computing the energy
burden for each household using RECS 

data and then
taking a mean of the householdlevel energy burden estimates. It furnishes
the most complete information about how a 

burden is
distributed for the population. 
































Mean Group
Burden: This statistic calculates energy expenditures for all households in
the group and divides by the average 
of all incomes
for the group. This statistic is calculated as the ratio between aggregate
energy expenditures of a group (from RECS 

and CPS) and
aggregate group income (from CPS). 































Median
Individual Burden: This statistic is computed by taking a median of the RECS
householdlevel energy burden 

estimates (the
point at which 50% of households have a higher burden value and 50% have a
lower value). 









































