2013 Household Expenditure Survey Begins

May 20, 2013

The Department of Statistics announced that roughly 70 interviewers will begin to visit households from May 21st until August 31st, 2013 to conduct the fifth Household Expenditure Survey [HES]. This type of Survey is conducted every eight to ten years with the last HES undertaken in May 2004.

Similar types of expenditure surveys are also conducted in other countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and countries in the Caribbean Region.

The information below was provided by the Department:

Why is an Expenditure Survey Needed?

The primary aim of the 2013 HES is to obtain household income and expenditure data for a broad range of consumer goods and services purchased by households. These include: food, beverages, clothing, furniture, motor vehicles, travel, medical, household and personal services.

Information on householders’ demographic characteristics and their employment status, as well as ownership of consumer durables will also be collected.

The data and information from the Survey will be used to:

  • Revise the basket of goods and services for the Consumer Price Index [CPI] which measures the annual rate of inflation.
  • Develop new benchmark values for household consumption for use in estimating the annual growth of the economy or Gross Domestic Product [GDP].
  • Assess the level of economic well-being for households in Bermuda.

The Consumer Price Index measures the annual rate of inflation. The market basket of goods and services was last updated in 2004. Since then, spending tastes have changed due to shifts in income levels and advancement in technology. Households are now buying new types and brands of consumer goods and services and many purchases such as clothing, music, movies, computer software, etc. are bought on-line using the internet. Therefore, the CPI market basket must be updated to reflect these new spending patterns and tastes.

Also, as consumers’ lifestyles and spending habits change over time, the weighting pattern, that is, the relative importance of consumer items in the CPI, needs to be reviewed to reflect up-to-date spending patterns. The current CPI weighting dates back to 2006.

Assessing the level of Economic Well-Being for households will be critically important. Since the downturn in the economy, several individuals are unemployed and out of work. This negatively impacts the level of household income available and consequently adversely affects the well-being of household persons. The data from the HES survey will be used to determine the prevalence of households below the Low Income Threshold. This information informs the Government with statistical facts of households needs in terms of economic well-being.

Household Participation in the Survey

A total of 700 households have been chosen to participate in the Survey using an established sampling method that ensures representation from all types of households across all nine parishes in Bermuda. Since this is a sample survey, not all households in the same parish have been selected to participate.

Interviewers will be using netbooks to administer an electronic questionnaire to each member of the household 16 years and older, who will be asked questions about their expenditures during the past year.

All 700 households will also be asked to keep a diary record of their daily expenditures for a period of two weeks to include:

  • Every expenditure purchase, no matter how small the amount spent.
  • All purchases whether made by cash, debit or credit card.

The survey interviewers will provide specific guidance to household persons on how to complete the diary expenditure booklets for the two-week period. Additional information on regular household expenses such as telephone and electricity bills, school fees, and medical and health bills will also be collected.

If the interviewer visits a household at an inconvenient time, a more suitable time can be arranged for their return. Some households will also be contacted by a Survey Supervisor who will perform spot checks on the work of the interviewers. Accuracy is of utmost importance.

How to Identify a Survey Interviewer?

All HES interviewers will be wearing a fluorescent green sash and carrying a black canvass bag stamped Department of Statistics. Interviewers will possess an official photo ID Card signed by the Director of Statistics, and a letter of authenticity issued by the Department. Householders should request to see both the ID and letter to verify that the interviewer does represent the Department of Statistics before commencing the survey interview.

Members of the public who have queries about the survey may contact the Department of Statistics between 8.30 am and 5:30 pm from Monday to Friday, at 297-7630, 297-7689 or 297-7895.

Confidentiality of Data

The 2013 HES is conducted under the authority of the Statistics Act, 2002 which ensures that all information provided by households will be kept in strict confidence. All survey data will be published in aggregate format. Any survey interviewer who violates the rules of confidentiality under the Actcan be taken to court, fined and possibly imprisoned. However, all interviewers have been trained in the importance of confidentiality and have taken an oath of secrecy.

Participation in the Survey is mandatory under the Statistics Act which means by Law selected households are required to provide the information requested. Both Bermudian and non-Bermudian households have been selected to participate in the Survey.

How Everyone Can Help?

Households selected to participate in the HES were sent an information packet in the mail comprising: a notification letter from the Department, a survey information flyer and a checklist to use for preparing in advance for the survey interviewer.

We are asking selected households to do three things:

  • Make sure you keep your dog tied up until after all persons in your household have been interviewed and survey diary expenditure booklets have been collected.
  • Complete the checklist of items received in the mail before an interviewer visits; note the two different ranges of dates on the checklist when completing the list.
  • Assign one household person responsibility to keep this information readily available as an interviewer might not reach your home for several weeks after May 21st.

The participation of every household member is crucial to ensure that the data collected on expenditure and related items is representative of an average household in Bermuda.

Therefore, the Department of Statistics seeks the full support and cooperation of all selected households which is critical to ensure the success of this survey.

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  1. Household Expenditure Survey Report Released | Bernews.com | January 24, 2014
  1. Truth is killin' me... says:

    After all the flack they’ve been taking recently…they’ve got to make it look like they’re doing something!!!!Time to trim the fat in this Dept….last survey done in 2004…why every 8 to ten years???????!!!!!!!!!