Research into the financial behaviour and consumption habits of Estonian households

The fourth wave of the Estonian Household Finance and Consumption Survey starts on 1 February 2024 and lasts until 30 June 2024. Households can complete the questionnaire for the survey themselves using the online questionnaire of Statistics Estonia, or can answer the questions in a telephone interview. The results of the survey will be published in 2026.

The Estonian Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) collects data on the assets, liabilities, income and consumption of households, and it 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). Estonia is participating in the project for the fourth time. 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.

Data collection

Households can complete the questionnaire for the survey themselves online or can answer the questions in a telephone interview. To reduce the burden on households of answering the survey, the data on the people being surveyed will where possible be collected from various registers and databases.

After the survey period, the central banks of the countries that are running the survey send the anonymous data to the European Central Bank, which releases aggregated results for the euro area as a whole and for each country individually. The national central banks also release the results for their country on their own websites.

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 in assessing monetary policy, analysing financial stability and payment systems, and much more. These data can also be accessed by researchers from outside the central banks.

The sample for the surveys

The scope of the survey is all the households that live together as household units. The Estonian survey uses a panel format, where households that were surveyed in previous waves are invited to take part in the new wave as well. Households are interviewed in a maximum of four waves, after which a new household is invited to replace them in the sample. New participants are also added to each wave of the sample to compensate for those from the previous wave who did not respond, and to refresh the panel. The survey is voluntary, but every response is important as it is representative of other people in society with a similar position and similar opinions.

What the survey covers

The survey covers:

  • socio-demographic data: the household composition and the age, family status, education level and other characteristics of household members
  • non-financial assets and their financing: the main residence of the household, other real estate, transport vehicles, and collateralised loans
  • other financial liabilities and credit limitations: data on the consumption loans, credit cards and bank account overdrafts of the household, and information on loan applications and credit constraints
  • 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 and so forth
  • income: income from wages, self-employment and pensions, rental income, income from financial investment and more
  • pensions and insurance: pension contributions, whole life insurance policies, and expected future pension payments. The 2024 survey will also have a question on exiting the second pension pillar
  • inter-generational transfers and gifts: inheritance, gifts and assets received from restitution or privatisation that have substantially affected the financial position of the household
  • consumption: the consumption habits of the household, the balance of spending and income, savings, and similar
  • expectations, estimates and financial literacy: expectations for future income and consumption choices
  • environmental behaviour: the 2024 survey will also have a question on the environmental choices of households

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 under 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. The survey is described in Appendix 10 of the list of statistical actions of Eesti Pank under the official statistical programme.

Publication of the data

The results of the survey are published in generalised form on the websites of Eesti Pank and the European Central Bank. The results of earlier surveys can be found online:

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

An Eesti Pank Occasional Paper that presents the results of 2021 Estonian Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) is on the Eesti Pank website.

Anonymised microdata of the HFCS can be used for scientific research and 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.