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The Household Budget Survey

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The Household Budget Survey (Enquête sur le Budget des Ménages) is a sample survey which collects each year detailed information on the level of household consumption expenditures.

Such a survey is now conducted in all the European countries.

The Household Budget Survey:

  • aims mainly at calculating the weighting coefficients for the Consumer Price Index (CPI);
  • allows studying the relationship between the household financial situation and consumption patterns, which might be valuable for social policy design;
  • is used by the National Accounts Department to produce figures on household private consumption;
  • can be used to monitor consumption patterns over time and to compare national figures with figures for other European countries.

The results of the survey are disseminated via STATEC publications (Press releases, Regards, Bulletins, …) and the Statistics Portal.

Data collection

Every year a nationally representative sample of between 1000 and 1500 private households is randomly selected from the National Population Register (Répertoire général des personnes physiques). In order to increase the sample size, the data collected at year t are complemented with the data collected at t-1 and t+1, expenditures at t-1 and t+1 being adjusted so to refer to price levels at t. For instance, the data for 2011 include the data collected in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

STATEC sends a letter to every selected household inviting them to participate in the survey. Then, the interviewers contact the households in order to arrange a face-to face interview.

The households are required:

  • to keep records, during 15 days, of their day-to-day expenditures (food, beverages…) in a consumption diary;
  • to fill in a questionnaire on housing charges and another one on other types of expenditures.

On the other hand, the interviewers collect information on household composition, household characteristics and housing, and on household income.
Data collection puts a heavy burden on the households. Therefore an incentive ranging from 65 EUR to 105 EUR (depending on the size of the household) will be paid to the participating household.

Legal basis

Every five years since 1988, Eurostat has been collating and publishing data from the Household Budget Surveys in the European countries. However, the HBS project is run under a Gentlemen's agreement, which was reached in the Statistical Programme Committee during its meeting of 1989.

The data collected in the survey are used for statistical or research purposes only. The STATEC collaborators are bound to statistical confidentiality, as set out by the modified Law of 2 August 2002 on the protection of personal data and the Law of July 10, 2011 on the organisation of the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies.

Questionnaires (French) : Ménage et logement / Dépenses et ressources / Carnet de ménage                        
Questionnaires (English) : Household characteristics and housing / Expenditure and resources / Household diary
Questionnaires (German) : Haushalt und Wohnverhältnisse / Ausgaben und Einnahmen / Haushaltsheft
Questionnaires (Portuguese) : Agregado familiar e habitaçâo / Despesas e recursos / Diário de consumo