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Background Notes

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Purpose of Survey

The annual Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Household Survey 2019 contributes to the EU requirement under Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 concerning Community Statistics on the Information Society (OJ L143, 30.04.2004, p. 49). It covers a range of topics related to internet penetration and use of ICT by households and individuals.

The survey is conducted annually in the first quarter of the year and asks respondents about their ICT activities over the previous twelve months. Each year, the survey includes a specific group of questions relating to a particular area of ICT. In 2019, additional questions relating to Internet Security and Smart Technology in the Home were included.

Questionnaire Design

The ICT Household Survey 2019 was designed in line with the European Community Survey on ICT Usage in Households and By Individuals 2019 Model Questionnaire. The survey is harmonised across EU member states and meets EU regulation requirements to allow comparability of results published by other countries. The specific data requirements of the survey are defined annually through a consultation process with users and policy makers within Eurostat and EU member states. Once the details of the survey requirements have been agreed, an annual implementing regulation is passed to turn the requirements into EU law. CSO takes part in this annual consultation process and fully engage in the development of the questionnaire for each year. The collection of the data under the aforementioned European Regulation implies that harmonised data can be obtained across all EU member states.

Data in this domain is collected annually by the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) and is based on the aforementioned Eurostat's annual Model Questionnaire on ICT usage in households and by individuals. The Eurostat Model Questionnaire has a core set of questions, which are asked on an annual basis. Additional modules on ICT are repeated annually, biennially or triennially. In addition, special modules or topics on new emerging concepts or technologies are also included each year. In 2019, additional questions relating to the Internet Security and Smart Technology in the Home were included. Additional questions of national interest are also included in the national questionnaire.

The ICT Household Survey was based on the implementing Regulation (EU) No 808/2004 and the Model Questionnaire provided by Eurostat 2018_Model Questionnaire V1.4.pdf

Survey Questionnaire

The ICT Household Survey 2019 was designed in line with the European Community Survey on ICT Usage in Households and By Individuals 2019 Model Questionnaire. Data given in this domain are collected annually by the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) and are based on Eurostat's annual Model Questionnaire on ICT usage in households and by individuals. The collection of the data under the aforementioned European Regulation implies that harmonised data can be obtained across the European continent.

The 2019 ICT household questionnaire is available at

ICT Household Questionnaire 2019

DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index)

The data collected in this domain by Ireland and other National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) contribute to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and Digital Scoreboard. DESI is a composite index published every year by the European Commission since 2014, measuring the progress of EU countries towards a digital economy and society. As such, it brings together a set of relevant indicators on Europe’s current digital policy mix, as follows:

Connectivity - Broadband market developments in the EU - the deployment of broadband infrastructure and its quality. Access to fast and ultrafast broadband-enabled services is a necessary condition for competitiveness.

Human Capital - Digital Inclusion and Skills - measures the skills needed to take advantage of the possibilities offered by digital.

Use of Internet Services - accounts for a variety of online activities, such as the consumption of online content (videos, music, games, etc.) video calls as well as online shopping and banking.

Integration of Digital Technology - measures the digitisation of businesses and e-commerce. By adopting digital technologies, businesses can enhance efficiency, reduce costs and better engage customers and business partners. Furthermore, the Internet as a sales outlet offers access to wider markets and potential for growth.

The aim of the European ICT surveys is the timely provision of statistics on individuals and households on the use of Information and Communication Technologies at European level.

More information on DESI is available at:

Survey Design

Since 2018, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Household Survey has been carried out as part of the General Household Survey (GHS). The GHS is a national survey that place takes place three or four times each year. The survey usually has a core of common demographic questions that are always asked (e.g. age, sex, education, etc.). Each survey also has a specific theme. In the first quarter of 2019, the GHS covered the ICT Household Survey and a survey of Equality and Discrimination.

 Here below are the topics we have covered so far:





Quarter 3 and Quarter 4

Adult Education Survey


Quarter 1

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) 



Cross Border Shopping


Quarter 3 and Quarter 4

Household Financial Consumption Survey (HFCS)


Quarter 1

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) 


Quarter 1

Equality and Discrimination


Quarter 2 and Quarter 3

Crime and Victimisation

Prior to 2018, the ICT Household Survey was carried out as a module of the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). The Labour Force Survey (LFS) replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) at the beginning of Q3 2017. With this change, modules previously carried out as modules of the QNHS, are now carried out as part of the GHS.

Reference Period

The Information Communications Technology (ICT) Household Survey is carried out in the three months from January to March each year (Quarter 1). The questionnaire asks questions about ICT activities for the reference period of twelve months prior to the interviews taking place. Some questions such as those on ICT Skils and Online Learning and Smart Technology in the Home have a reference period of three months prior to interview.

Survey Coverage

The ICT Household Survey data is collected directly from private households. Institutional households, (e.g. nursing homes, barracks, boarding schools, hotels etc.) are not covered by the survey. A household is defined as a single person or group of people who usually reside together in the same accommodation and who share the same catering arrangements. The household members are not necessarily related by blood or marriage.

A person is defined as a "Usual Resident" of a private household if he or she:

  1. Lives regularly at the dwelling in question, and
  2. Shares the main living accommodation (i.e. kitchen, living room or bathroom) with the other members of the household.

Data Collection

The data was collected by a team of up to one hundred Field Interviewers and ten Field coordinators (each with a team of ten interviewers). Interviewers were provided with a map of each of their interview areas as well as a listing of the address of each of the selected households. These interviewers also working on CSO surveys such as the Survey on Income and Living Conditions and the Labour Force Survey. Interviewers received a manual with information such as detailed explanations about the questionnaire, definitions of the concepts involved and examples.

It was conducted using a team of face-to-face interviewers using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). This enabled the use of extensive checks in the BLAISE interviewing software to make sure correct and coherent data was collected.

One person from each household was selected. Information was collected directly from respondents - proxy responses from other members of the household were not accepted.

Sample Design

The sample for the General Household Survey (GHS) is stratified using administrative county and the Pobal HP (Haase and Pratschke) Deprivation Index (quintile). A two-stage sample design is used. In the first stage 1,300 blocks are selected using Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) sampling. In the second stage households are selected using Simple Random Sampling (SRS). This ensures each household in the sample frame has an equal probability of selection.

The total sample size for the ICT Household survey was 9,000 households. The number of valid responding households for the ICT Household Survey in Q1 2019 was 4,477.

The survey results were weighted to agree with population estimates broken down by age, sex and region and are also calibrated to nationality totals.

Derivation of Results

To provide national population results, the survey results were weighted to represent the entire population of 16 to 74 year olds. The survey results were weighted to agree with population estimates broken down by age group, sex and region and were also calibrated to nationality totals.

Household weights were calculated for all households in the initial sample. The design weights are computed as the inverse of the selection probability of the unit. The purpose of design weights is to eliminate the bias induced by unequal selection probabilities.

These design weights were then adjusted for non-response. This eliminated the bias introduced by discrepancies caused by non-response, particularly critical when the non-responding households are different from the responding ones in respect to some survey variables as this may create substantial bias in the estimates. Design weights are adjusted for non-response by dividing the design weights of each responding unit in the final/achieved sample by the (weighted) response probability of the corresponding group or strata.

To obtain the final household weights for the results, after the previous steps were carried out, the distribution of households by deprivation, NUTS3 region, sex and age was calibrated to the population of households in Quarter 1 2018 (as derived from the LFS Survey). The CALMAR2-macro, developed by INSEE, was used for this purpose.

Note on Tables

The sum of row or column percentages in the tables in this report may not add to 100.0% due to rounding.

Percentage breakdowns exclude cases where the interviewee did not respond.

Disclosure Control

Estimates for number of persons where there are less than 30 persons in a cell are too small to be considered reliable. These estimates are presented with an asterisk (*) in the relevant tables.

Where there are 30-49 persons in a cell, estimates are considered to have a wider margin of error and should be treated with caution. These cells are presented with parentheses [ ].

In the case of rates, these limits apply to the denominator used in generating the rate. In the case of annual changes, both the current year and the preceding year are taken into account when deciding whether the estimate should be suppressed or flagged as having a wider margin of error.

Reliability of Estimates Presented

Data are subject to sampling and other survey errors, which are relatively greater in respect of smaller values.

Classifications Used

Principal Economic Status Classification

The Principal Economic Status (PES) classification is based on a single question in which respondents are asked what is their usual situation regarding employment and given the following response categories:

  • At work
  • Unemployed
  • Student
  • Engaged on home duties
  • Retired
  • Other

Degree of Urbanisation

This classification is created from an aggregation of population density estimates derived from the Census of Population. The categories included in each aggregate are explained below:

  • Thinly populated area refers to rural areas
  • Intermediate density area refers to towns and suburbs
  • Densely populated area refers to cities, urban centres and urban areas


The regional classifications in this release is based on the NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units) classification used by Eurostat. Until Q4 2017, the NUTS3 regions corresponded to the eight Regional Authorities established under the Local Government Act, 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Establishment) Order, 1993, which came into operation on 1 January 1994 while the NUTS2 regions, which were proposed by Government and agreed by Eurostat in 1999, were groupings of those historic NUTS3 regions.

However, the NUTS3 boundaries were amended on 21st of November 2016 under Regulation (EC) No. 2066/2016 and have come into force from Q1 2018. These new groupings are reflected in the LFS results from Q1 2012 onwards. The changes resulting from the amendment are that County Louth has moved from the Border to the Mid-East and what was formerly South Tipperary has moved from the South-East to the Mid-West, resulting in the new NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions:

NUTS2 Code
NUTS2 Name
NUTS3 Code
NUTS3 Name
Northern & Western
Eastern & Midland 

Deprivation Index

The Pobal Haase-Pratschke Deprivation Index is used to create the underlying sample and is used to analyse the data. The Index uses Census data to measure levels of disadvantage or affluence in a geographical area. More detailed information on the index can be found here:

The results are presented by quintiles, five equal-sized groups of households, with the first quintile representing the the most disadvantaged areas and the fifth quintile representing the least deprived/most affluent area.

The five quintiles are described below:

First Quintile - Very disadvantaged

Second Quintile - Disadvantaged

Third Quintile - Average

Fourth Quintile - Affluent

Fifth Quintile - Very affluent (least deprived)

Household composition

For the purposes of deriving household composition, a child was defined as any member of the household aged 17 or under.  Households were analysed as a whole, regardless of the number of family units within the household.  The categories of household composition are:

1 adult aged 18+ with no dependent children

2 adults aged 18+ with no dependent children

3 adults aged 18+ with no dependent children

1 adult aged 18+ with dependent children aged <18

2 adults aged 18+ with dependent children aged <18

3 adults aged 18+ with dependent children aged <18

QNHS Social Modules

While the main purpose of the QNHS was the production of quarterly labour force estimates, there is also a provision for the collection of data on social topics through the inclusion of special survey modules. The selection of the major national modules undertaken to date has been largely based on the results of a canvass of users (over 100 organisations) that was conducted by the CSO in 1996, 2002, 2006, 2008 and most recently 2011. The results of the canvass are presented to the National Statistics Board and they are asked to indicate their priorities for the years ahead.

The schedule for social modules in any given year is based on the following structure:

Quarter 1   Accidents and Illness module and  Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Survey

Quarter 2   EU module (always covered under EU legislation)

Quarter 3   National module

Quarter 4   National module

Some of the social modules published to date in the QNHS are outlined below:

Q2 2017  Households and Family Units

Q2 2016  Households and Family Units

Q2 2016  Union Membership

2015  Irish Health Survey

Q4 2015  Pensions

Q3 2015  Crime and Victimisation

Q2 2015  Households and Family Units

Q3 2014  Equality Module

Q2 2014  Environment Module

Q3 2013  Volunteering and Wellbeing

Q2 2013  Sport and Physical Exercise

Q3 2012  Effect on Households of the Economic Downturn

Q2 2012  Retirement Planning

Q2 2012  Parental Involvement in Children’s Education

Q2 2012  Union Membership

Q1 2012  Unemployment Thematic Report

Q2 2011  Response of Households to the Economic Downturn - Pilot Module

Q2 2011  Voter Participation

Q4 2010  Equality

Q3 2010  Health Status and Health Service Utilisation

Q2 2010  Cross Border Shopping

Q2 2010  Educational Attainment

Q1 2010  Crime and Victimisation

Q4 2009  Pension Provision

Q3 2009  Carers

Q2 2009  Union Membership

Q2 2009  Cross Border Shopping

Q3 2008  Lifelong Learning

Q4 2007  Childcare

Q3 2007  Health Status and Health Service Utilisation

Q3 2006  Sport and Physical Exercise

More historical social modules published are available at:

QNHS - Special Modules Archive


The Central Statistics Office wishes to thank the participating households for their co-operation in agreeing to take part in the ICT 2019 Household Survey and for facilitating the collection of the relevant data.


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