The Estonian Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) collects data on the assets, liabilities, income and spending of households and is is carried out jointly by Eesti Pank and Statistics Estonia.

Survey participants

Similar surveys are run by the central banks of all the euro area countries and are coordinated by the European Central Bank (ECB). The HFCS collects together internationally comparable data from all the countries of the euro area, allowing the finances of Estonian households to be compared with those of households in other countries. Several countries in the euro area have already carried out two waves of the survey, and preparations are now being made for the third wave.

The survey was first run in Estonia in 2013, and a new wave of the survey will be carried out between 6 March and 30 June 2017. 

Data collection

Interviewers of Statistics Estonia collect data through personal interviews using the CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews) method. The central banks of the countries that are running the survey send the anonymised data to the European Central Bank, where the data are collated for the euro area as a whole and for each country individually.

Use of the data

Reliable data on the assets, liabilities, incomes and consumption of households are an important component in the economic research and economic policy analysis of central banks assessing monetary policy, analysing financial stability and payment systems, and much more. The anonymised data can also be used by the scientific community outside the central banks. A series of data that covers many countries in a similar way can be used in analyses based on international comparison.

The sample for the surveys

From 2017 the survey is being run in panel format, where the households interviewed in the previous wave are again contacted, while new participants are also added to the sample to compensate for those who do not respond, and to refresh the panel. The new members of the sample are chosen at random, meaning that every Estonian resident has an equal chance of being selected.

Survey coverage

The survey covers:

  • Demographics: age, family status, education, etc
  • Real assets and their financing: the main residence of the household, other real estate, transport vehicles, and loans secured against real estate
  • Other financial liabilities or credit limitations: real estate owned by the household, unsecured loans, current accounts of members of the household, time and other deposits, and credit cards
  • Private companies and financial assets: ownership of private businesses, portfolio investments, holdings of stocks and bonds, etc
  • Employment: current employment status and occupation, tenure, work abroad, etc
  • Income: income from wages, self-employment and pensions, rental income, income from financial investment, etc
  • Pensions and insurance: pension schemes and pensions that the respondent is expected to be eligible for in the future
  • Inter-generational transfers and gifts: inheritance, gifts and returned assets, and assets that may be inherited or returned in future
  • Consumption: the consumption habits of the household, the balance of spending and income, savings, etc

The Estonian HFCS survey has two main parts, one covering the household as a whole and one for individual members of the household. The questions in the survey on the household as a whole are answered by the person who knows the family finances best and the individual part of the survey is answered by all members of the household who are at least 16 years old.

Confidentiality of the data

Statistics Estonia and Eesti Pank ensure that the data of survey participants are protected and they are careful to protect the anonymity of the participants. The data are processed and published only in a generalised form and in no way can they be associated with individual respondents. The data are processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the Official Statistics Act.

Publication of the survey results

The results of the survey will be published on the websites of Eesti Pank and the European Central Bank. The results of earlier surveys can be found from:

An Eesti Pank Occasional Paper that presents the results of 2013 Estonian Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), and is on the Eesti Pank website

Descriptive statistics of the HFCS are provided in the Statistics section of the Bank of Estonia website

The slides used in a public presentation of the 2013 HFCS results on 29 March 2016 at Eesti Pank, which are available here.

Anonymised micro data of the HFCS that can be used for scientific studies and are available from the European Central Bank.

Further information

Website of the HFCS  at the European Central Bank