Research into the financial behaviour and consumption habits of Estonian households

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

Who will take part?

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 financial behaviour of Estonian households to be compared with that of households in other countries.

Estonia is participating in the project for the third time. The 2020 round of the survey will be run between 2 March and 30 June.

How are the data collected?

Researchers from Statistics Estonia collect data through face-to-face interviews using the CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews) method. The central banks of the countries that are running the survey send the anonymous data to the European Central Bank, which collates the data for the euro area as a whole and for each country individually.

Who uses 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 in assessing monetary policy, analysing financial stability and payment systems, and much more. The anonymised data can also be used by researchers from outside the central banks.

What sample is used for the survey?

The survey uses a panel, meaning some households that took part in earlier waves will be asked to do so again. New participants will also be invited, to refresh the panel and to replace some households that have exited the sample. The new members of the sample are chosen at random, meaning that every Estonian resident has an equal chance of being selected.

What does the survey cover?

The survey covers:

  • sociodemographic data: the make-up of the household and the age, family status, education etc of household members
  • 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 and credit limitations: data on consumption loans, credit cards and overdrafts of the household, and information on loan applications and the success of them
  • business assets and financial assets: ownership of private businesses, financial investments by the household and investment funds, bonds, securities and other financial assets
  • employment: current employment status, tenure, work abroad etc
  • income: income from wages, self-employment and pensions, rental income, income from financial investment etc
  • pensions and insurance: participation in the pension and life insurance system and pensions that the respondent is expected to be eligible for in the future
  • inter-generational transfers and gifts: inheritance, gifts and returned assets that have substantially affected the financial position of the household
  • consumption: the consumption habits of the household, 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 household members aged 16 and over.

The questionnaire for the Estonian HFCS in Estonian and Russian can be found at Household Finance and Consumption Survey.

Confidentiality of the data

Statistics Estonia and Eesti Pank ensure that the data of survey participants and the anonymity of the participants are protected. The data collected are 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 data

The generalised 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 on the internet:

The HFC statistics tables and description of the methodology are in the statistics section of the Eesti Pank website.

An Eesti Pank Occasional Paper presents the results of 2017 Estonian Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) and is on the Eesti Pank website.

Anonymised micro data of the HFCS that can be used for scientific studies can be requested from Eesti Pank or the European Central Bank.

Further information

A presentation of the survey on the website of the European Central Bank.