The UK Family Expenditure Survey (FES) (held under UK Data Archive generic study number 33057) is a continuous survey with an annual sample of around 10,000 households (about 1 in 2000 of all United Kingdom households) about 60 per cent of which co-operate by providing the interviewers with information about the household, household and personal incomes, certain payments that recur regularly (eg rent, gas and electricity bills, telephone accounts, insurances, season tickets and hire purchase payments) and in maintaining a detailed expenditure record for 14 consecutive days.
- 1. Household Schedule: This schedule is taken at the main interview. Information for most of the questions is obtained from the head of household or housewife, but certain questions of a more individual character are put to every spender aged 15 or over (or 16 or over from 1973 onwards). Until the introduction of the community charge, information on rateable value and rate poundage was obtained from the appropriate local authority, as was information on whether the address was within a smokeless zone. Information was collected about the household, the sex and age of each member, and also details about the type and size of the household accommodation. The main part of the questionnaire relates to expenditure both of a household and individual nature, but the questions are mainly confined to expenses of a recurring nature, e.g.:( i) Household: Housing costs, payment to Gas and Electricity Boards or companies, telephone charges, licences and television rental. (ii) Individual: Motor vehicles, season tickets for transport, life and accident insurances, payments through a bank, instalments, refund of expenses by employer, expenditure claimed by self-employed persons as business expenses for tax purposes, welfare foods, education grants and fees.
- 2. Income Schedule: Data are collected for each household spender. The schedule is concerned with income, national insurance contributions and income tax. Income of a child not classed as a spender is obtained from one or other of his parents and entered on the parent's questionnaire. Information collected includes:- employment status and recent absences from work, earnings of an employee, self-employed earnings, National Insurance contributions, pensions and other regular allowances, occasional benefits - social security benefits and other types, investment income, miscellaneous earnings of a 'once-only' character, tax paid directly to Inland Revenue or refunded, income of a child.
- 3. Diary Records: The diary covers fourteen days. Each household member aged 15 or over (or 16 or over from 1973 onwards) is asked to record all expenditure made during the 14 days. Children aged between 7 and 15 have also now been asked to complete simplified diaries of their daily expenditure. Data from the children's diaries has been included in the survey results for the first time in 1998-99.
The lowest geographical identifier in the data is at the level of government office region.
The Archive holds data from 1961 onwards. However the data for 1964-1967, although held for archival purposes, is unusable due to lack of coding information.