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Background Notes

A CSO Frontier Series Output- What is this?

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Purpose of the Data Collection Initative and Reference Period

An online questionnaire for the Pulse Survey ‘Life at Home’ was conducted by the CSO from Monday 24 May to Monday 7 June 2021.  The questionnaire was open to anyone aged 18 and over who was living in private accommodation in the Republic of Ireland.  As part of the CSO ‘Take Part’ Campaign the online Pulse Survey electronic questionnaire was available on the website and on all CSO social media platforms.  There were 10,454 responses.

The questionnaire asked for information on the following topics:

  • respondent demographics
  • division of household tasks in couples
  • satisfaction with household tasks in couples
  • who makes the most important decisions in couples
  • satisfaction with most important decision
  • freedom to spend money on oneself
  • the experiences of those living alone, lone parents and those house sharing
  • the relationship between parents and adult children who live together
  • household pets

The results in Pulse Survey - ‘Life at Home’: Snapshot of Results publication reflect only the responses of those who completed the Pulse survey questionnaire. While results are benchmarked to Irish population totals, the findings cannot be generalised to the entire Irish population, as the people who answered the questionnaire were not chosen at random from the population. Even with this caveat however, we hope that this report provides a valuable insight into life at home in Ireland.


Sample-selection is not applicable as responding to this online pulse survey is voluntary for anyone aged 18 years and older and living in Ireland.

Data Collection

Data collection for this reference period: 24 May to 7 June 2021

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents through the Pulse Survey online electronic questionnaire.

Error detection

Each variable is assessed by the CSO to identify implausible submissions.

Disclosure control

The CSO is prohibited, under the Statistics Act, from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.


The following process was devised to counteract some of the potential bias within the survey respondents, and to make the final callibrated distribution of respondents as representative as possible of the population.


The Q4 2020 LFS population estimates were used to benchmark the dataset across key characteristics for calibration. The individual weights were inflated to match overall  population total and then calibrated using CALMAR[1], to ensure that benchmarked respondent totals matched the Q4 2020 benchmark totals for a number of key characteristics such as sex, age, principal economic status, tenure and region.

Population distributions from LFS Q4 2020 (the most recent estimates available at the time of analysis) were compared with the respondent distribution across key characteristics both before and after weighting (see table below).

Benchmarking calibration has been used to adjusts to key population totals to try and match current population distributions with respondent distributions. However, given the voluntary nature of the data collection tool and the non-random nature of respondents, it is unlikely that we can fully account fully for bias inherent in the data.  For this reason, caution should be taken when attempting to make inferences to the entire population from these results.

  Pulse Survey - Distribution of Respondents Pulse Survey - Calibrated Distribution LFS Q4 2020
State 100% 100% 100%
Female 70.7% 49.0% 49.0%
Male 29.3% 51.0% 51.0%
Age Group      
18 to 34 22.6% 27.4% 27.4%
35 to 44 17.2% 20.6% 20.6%
45 to 54 22.5% 18.0% 18.0%
55 to 69 28.7% 20.7% 20.7%
70+ 8.8% 13.3% 13.3%
Principal Economic Status      
Working for payment or profit 62.3% 56.1% 56.1%
Unemployed 4.7% 6.5% 6.5%
Student or pupil 3.9% 7.0% 7.0%
Retired from employment 19.6% 16.2% 16.2%
Unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability 2.9% 4.8% 4.8%
Engaged on home duties 3.9% 7.7% 7.7%
Other 2.7% 1.7% 1.7%
NUTS3 Regions      
Border 4.8% 8.1% 8.1%
West 7.2% 9.4% 9.4%
Mid-West 6.8% 9.9% 9.9%
South-East 8.1% 8.8% 8.8%
South-West 18.1% 14.5% 14.5%
Dublin 36.4% 29.2% 29.2%
Mid-East 14.7% 14.2% 14.2%
Midlands 3.9% 5.9% 5.9%
Owner-occupied 82.6% 76.9% 76.5%
Rented 17.4% 23.1% 23.5%


The questionnaire covered a number of topics relating to ‘Life at Home’ such as: division of household tasks in couples; satisfaction with household tasks in couples; who makes the most important decisions in couples; satisfaction with most important decision; freedom to spend money on oneself; the experiences of those living alone; supports for lone parents; the relationship between parents and adult children who live together; and household pets.

Data analysis

Respondents were asked for information relating to their demographic characteristics as well as the subject matter of the survey. Characteristics include: sex, age, county of residence, gender identity, Principal Economic Status (PES), general health status. Respondents were also asked for details of their living arrangements, such as whether they are: living with a spouse or partner; the PES of their spouse/partner; have children living in the household; live with a parent(s); living with an adult child; living with non-family member. 

Not all demographic characteristics are investigated in this publication but will be in further analyses. They include:

Sex: Female or male

Tenure Status: Owned outright,Owned with a mortgage, Rented, Rent free, Other type of housing situation (e.g. homeless, nursing home, direct provision) 

Principal Economic Status: Respondents were asked which of the following best represents their situation.

  • Full-time employed
  • Part-time employed
  • Unemployed or on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
  • Retired
  • Unable to work due to longstanding health problems
  • Student, pupil
  • Fulfilling domestic tasks
  • Other

Highest level of education completed: This classification is derived from a single question in the Pulse Life at Home Survey. Respondents were asked what their highest level of education or training they have ever successfully completed from the following options:

  • No formal education or training
  • Primary education or equivalent
  • Junior Certificate or equivalent
  • Leaving Certificate or equivalent
  • Technical or Vocational (e.g. PLCs SOLAS/Fás certificate) or equivalent
  • Advanced Certificate - Craft/Higher Certificate or equivalent
  • Diploma or Ordinary Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 7) or equivalent
  • Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8) or equivalent
  • Masters Degree or Post-Graduate Diploma (NFQ Level 9)
  • Doctoral Degree (NFQ Level 10)

 Self-perceived General Health Status: Respondents were asked how their health is in general from the following options: 

Very good; Good; Fair; Bad; or Very bad

Gender Identity: Respondents were asked whether the the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?

If they answer 'Yes' they were asked to describe their gender identity.

NUTS3 Regions

NUTS3 region are derived from respondents county of residence.

These regions are comprised as follows:

Northern & Western NUTS2 Region Southern NUTS2 Region Eastern & Midland NUTS2 Region
Border Cavan Mid-West Clare Dublin Dublin City
  Donegal   Limerick    Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
  Leitrim   Tipperary   Fingal
  Monaghan       South Dublin
    South-East Carlow Mid-East Kildare
West Galway   Kilkenny   Meath
  Mayo   Waterford    Wicklow
  Roscommon   Wexford   Louth
        Midland Laois
    South-West Cork    Longford
      Kerry   Offaly

Analysis Groups

Couples: Respondents who said they live with a spouse or partner.

Same Sex Couple: Respondents who reported they live with a spouse or partner of the same sex.

Opposite Sex Couple: Respondents who reported they live with a spouse or partner of the same sex.

Living Alone: Respondents who reported not living with anyone else.

Lone Parent: Respondents not living with a spouse or partner who have a child(ren) 18 years and under living with them and not living with other family members. 

House Sharing: Respondents: Respondents living in rented accomodation with others who are not family members.

Adults Living with one Parent of both Parents: Respondents who reported living with one or both of their parents but not with a spouse or partner.

Living with Adult Children: Respondents who live with an adult child and not a child(ren) under 18 years of age. 

Pets: Respondents were asked if they had a pet or pets in the household. Further details were collected on the type of pet(s) they had, whether they got a new pet since the onset of the pandemic and whether having a pet(s) impacts their mental health and well-being.

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