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The economic indicators for households are the part of National Accounts most directly relevant for people's lives. Households are shown as a Sector in the Institutional Sector Accounts, that is, as a separate part of the economy from Corporations or Government. With these other sectors stripped out, the accounts can show how much economic growth is feeding through to the people who live in Ireland.

The most important indicators National Accounts provide on households are Final Consumption, Disposable Income and the Saving Rate. Households’ largest source of income is Compensation of Employees (wages); their biggest expenditure is Final Consumption Expenditure, both of which are directly used in calculating Gross Domestic Product.

The self-employed are included in the Household Sector, and these workers may have activities in many different economic activity sectors, for example, agriculture, accounting, construction, healthcare. The Output and Value Added of the self-employed is therefore included in the Household sector. When self-employed people set up companies and run their business through them, then the economic activity moves to the Corporations (Non-Financial or Financial) sector, and the owner may receive wages (Compensation of Employees) if they work for the company or dividends (Investment Income) if their company makes a profit.

Most households are families, but unrelated people who are house sharing are also a household, as are army barracks, prisons, convents, nursing homes and other 'congregated settings'.

The National Accounts figures take households all together, and shows how they are faring over time, while the other CSO publications give more detail on households, such as by region, by size of household or by income levels. The CSO’s biggest undertaking is the Census of Population, which gives great detail about Irish households. We also produce the Survey of Income and Living Conditions, the Household Budget Survey, the Household Finance and Consumption Survey, and other publications about households.

Figure: Institutional Sectors



Read next: Non-Profit Institutions Serving Households

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