The Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) 2018 was published on 30 January 2020. Data within the publication were revised on 4th June 2020. These data revisions were due to the re-calibration of weights used in the estimation of HFCS statistics. Data within the publication were revised again on 16 May 2023. These data revisions were primarily due to the supplementing of survey data with the Central Credit Register, an administrative data source obtained by the CSO in 2021. All content relating to HFCS 2018, including the Electronic Publication text, graphs and tables, Infographic, Press Release and PxStat tables, now reflect the revised data. Details as to the extent and impact of these revisions on previously published data can be found in the HFCS 2018 Revisions Information Note.
This report presents the results of the 2018 Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), which was carried out between April 2018 and January 2019. It is the second report in the series, with the first undertaken in 2013. Detailed information on household assets and liabilities is collected by the HFCS, as well as data on gross income and credit constraints.
The HFCS is collected under the auspices of the European Central Bank (ECB) Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN) which designed the survey for use in the Eurozone.
Comparison with previous HFCS publications
This is the second publication in the HFCS series, which was previously undertaken in 2013. Estimates in this publication, for HFCS 2018, are NOT COMPARABLE to previously published estimates for 2013. This is due to methodological changes introduced in 2020 being retrospectively applied to the 2018 data. The main methodological change was supplementing household survey data with administrative data from the Central Credit Register (CCR). Access to the CCR has resulted in more reliable estimates, improved data quality, and enables valuable insights regarding household debt. For example, the debt participation rate is approximately 15 percentage points higher when using the CCR. Other changes are outlined in the Background Notes. Because of this, no reference is made to HFCS 2013 in this publication. Users of HFCS 2018 estimates should exercise caution when making comparisons between 2018 estimates and 2013 estimates.
Regarding the data in this report, the following in particular should be noted:
The data was only collected from private households. The results therefore exclude assets and liabilities held by the public sector as well as those directly held by publicly traded companies. Assets and liabilities held abroad by Irish households are included while those held in Ireland by non-domestic households are excluded.
The data collected was on the basis of self-assessment by the reporting households and was supplemented with other available sources. For example, the data used to derive income from state transfers was taken directly from available administrative records.
There may be underreporting of the value of some real or financial asset, deliberate or otherwise. Households found it particularly difficult to provide the value of certain assets such as self-employment business wealth. Therefore, the value of such assets is subject to high degrees of estimation.
A key challenge in all countries that conduct the HFCS is that wealth distribution is highly skewed. A small proportion of households have substantial asset holdings and these households may be insufficiently represented in the survey, either because they are not easily accessible or because they refuse to participate. For this reason, this report focuses mostly on indicators (such as medians) that are not affected by an insufficient coverage of the wealthiest households.