Family Expenditure Survey, 1961-2001

Archive Collection
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1956 FES
  • Dates of Creation
      1961-2001
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English.
  • Physical Description
      Electronic data approximately 100 MBs for each year of the survey.
      Most years are available in a number of formats including SPSS, STATA and ASCII tab-delimited. The data can be converted to other formats such as SAS. Each year of the data consists of approximately 180 separate data files (at the level of household, person or item).Most years are available in a number of formats including SPSS, STATA and ASCII tab-delimited. The data can be converted to other formats such as SAS. Each year of the data consists of approximately 180 separate data files (at the level of household, person or item).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.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.Documentation is primarily supplied in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
  • Direct Link

Scope and Content

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.

Administrative / Biographical History

The original purpose of the survey was to provide information on spending patterns for the United Kingdom Retail Price Index (RPI). The survey is a cost efficient way of collecting a variety of related data that the government departments require to correlate with income and expenditure at the household, tax unit and person levels.

Prior to 1989 the Department of Employment had responsibility for the survey, with the data collection being carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS). In 1989 the Central Statistical Office (CSO) took over the responsibility for the survey, with the OPCS remaining responsible for the data collection. With the amalgamation of the CSO and the OPCS in April 1996, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) became the responsible body, both as principal investigator and data collector.

The annual survey has been in existence since 1957 (with an earlier large scale survey in 1953/54) and was one of the first Department of Employment (DE) systems to be computerised in the early 1960s. In 1968 the survey was extended to include a sample drawn from the Northern Ireland FES and in April 1994 the survey changed from a calendar year to a financial year basis. From April 1998 onwards information from expenditure diaries kept by children aged 7 to 15 is included in the data, and grossing factors are also included.

From 2001, the FES and the National Food Survey (NFS - held at the UK Data Archive under generic study number 33071) will be combined and replaced by a new survey, the 'Expenditure and Food Survey' (EFS). There has previously been considerable overlap between the FES and NFS, with both surveys asking respondents to keep a diary of expenditure. The NFS, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food &Rural Affairs (DEFRA) covers only food expenditure, but in more detail than the FES. The decision to go ahead with the new survey followed successful piloting. Thus, the 2000-2001 survey will be the final FES in its current format. The design of the new EFS is based on the current FES, and the information currently provided by the FES will continue to be provided by the new survey. Further background to this new development may be found in the 'Family Spending' reports for 1999-2000, and 2000-2001.

Arrangement

Component studies of data series are held and supplied separately, usually as annual datasets.

Conditions Governing Access

Available to UK Data Archive registered users.

Acquisition Information

Office for National Statistics

Note

Sources for the information in this record include the UK Data Archive catalogue records.

Record created by Karen Dennison, UK Data Archive.

Other Finding Aids

UK Data Archive web pages:

Search CatalogueMajor Studies

Conditions Governing Use

Users are required to agree to certain conditions of use, including those governing reproduction and those relating to citation, acknowledgement and disclaimer for publications.

Appraisal Information

All datasets available from the UK Data Archive have been reviewed by an Acquisitions Review Committee.

Accruals

The UK Data Archive expects to receive the Expenditure and Food Survey which replaces the Family Expenditure Survey from 2001 onwards.

Related Material

Related datasets held at the UK Data Archive are listed in the appropriate UK Data Archive online catalogue records and include the Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey (NI FES). NI FES is identical to the UK FES and therefore uses the same questionnaires and documentation. However, starting in 1988, a voluntary question on religious denomination was asked of those aged 16 and over in Northern Ireland.

Bibliography

References and publications by principal investigators and resulting from secondary analysis are listed in the UK Data Archive online catalogue records.

Geographical Names