Updated at 5.22pm, Friday: The National Bureau of Statistics will begin next month to include higher education and luxuries such as cars and computers in its national consumer price index, Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday. The statistics bureau formalised the consumer price index in the early 1950s, in a list of 330 consumer goods. The new index will cover more than 550 items, including housing, travel and education expenses, Xinhua said. It said the new index will reflect the realities of China's modern economy. The national consumer price index, designed to gauge price fluctuations in consumer goods and services, is a major indicator for a nation's economy. It also is a reference tool for government decision makers. The current price index is obsolete because it focuses on such basics as foods and clothes, experts with the statistics bureau told Xinhua. According to official statistics, Chinese residents in some major cities spend less than one third of their incomes on food and other basics. Their spending for transportation, education, housing and leisure travel has risen dramatically. According to the statistics bureau, an average Chinese family's senior high school and tertiary education expenditures are 1,014 yuan per year. The State Bureau of Statistics has said it may the consumer price index every five to ten years, according to the changing economy and new consumption patterns, according to the newspaper. ? ?