In late September 2023, the Croatian National Bank will begin with the implementation of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey, with field research being entrusted to Ipsos d.o.o., a market research and public opinion agency.
The Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) is a scientific survey on finances and consumption of households and is a part of the project conducted every three years in euro area countries and some other countries of the European Union. The methodological consistency of the survey is coordinated and ensured by the European Central Bank. The first survey wave was conducted between 2009 and 2011 and the second in 2013 and 2014 in most of the euro area countries. The Croatian National Bank joined the project during the third survey wave that took place in 2017 and 2018 and also participated in the fourth wave of the statistical survey that took place in 2020 and 2021. In September this year, it will begin its participation in the fifth survey wave.
The results of the surveys conducted thus far are available on a collective basis, individually by countries and in total for the euro area on the website of the European Central Bank, while survey results for Croatia for the 2017 wave are published in the Statistical and Methodological Papers publication on the website of the Croatian National Bank (available in Croatian only).
Four thousand households are planned to be included in the survey, which is to take place in Croatia from 25 September 2023 to 25 January 2024. These households were randomly selected in a scientific procedure from the database of the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2021 of the Central Bureau of Statistics. Such a selection of survey sample makes it possible to make a relatively reliable estimate of household finances and consumption on the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia based on a relatively small number of households. Household participation in the survey is voluntary and cooperation of households is very important for giving a correct picture of financial lives of households in Croatia and indirectly a whole picture of the financial lives of households in the European Union.
The HFCS questionnaire consists of two parts, one relating to households as a whole and the other to their individual members. Questions relating to individual household members aged 16 and over cover demographics, employment, future pension entitlements and life insurance policies and income. Questions relating to the household as a whole include questions on real assets and their financing, other liabilities and credit constraints, private businesses, financial assets, intergenerational transfers and gifts and consumption. A special set of questions relating to the effect of change of energy prices on household finances and consumption was added to this survey wave. To assist them in providing replies to questions, respondents may use bank statements and other information obtained from banks, insurance companies, employers and other entities.
The method used in interviewing is the Computer Assisted Personal Interview, which implies face-to-face interviews administered by an interviewer by coming to a household and using a computer to record the replies provided by respondents. The representatives of Ipso d.o.o. agency who will conduct the survey will prove their identity by company identification card and letter from CNB Governor.
Individual replies to the questions in this interview are classified as confidential in accordance with the Official Statistics Act (Official Gazette 25/2020) and are protected by a number of technical and organisational measures such as the removal of direct identifiers of households or household members, participants in the survey (such as name or address) very shortly upon completion of the field part of the survey. Information collected by survey will be used exclusively for statistical and research purposes and will be published on an aggregate (collective) basis that prevents disclosure of confidential personal information.
Data from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey will be used to supplement national accounts data, i.e. to support CNB analyses for the purpose of implementing macroprudential policy and preserving the country's financial stability. The results of the survey will also serve to provide a more precise financial and social picture of the Croatian society.