Economics

Household Finance and Consumption Survey

The Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) is carried out by the Central Bank of Malta as part of a euro area project coordinated by the European Central Bank (ECB). The HFCS aims to be representative both at national and euro area level and was designed to develop a profile of the households by gathering detailed information on their assets and liabilities. The HFCS was conducted for the first time in Malta in 2010.  

The statistical information collected from the survey provides interesting insights into the financial characteristics of Maltese households and their consumption and saving patterns. This information is used solely for statistical, economic analysis and research projects conducted by the Bank, or for other research initiatives taken by the ECB. All data is fully anonymised and treated as strictly confidential. Moreover, data is processed in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act (Cap. 440).

The questionnaire is grouped in two main parts: one targeted to the household as a whole and the other part targeted to individual household members. The block covering household-level questions encompasses:  real assets and their financing, other liabilities/credit constraints, private businesses, financial assets, intergeneration transfers and gifts and consumption/savings. Questions on individuals cover the following sections: demographics, employment, future pension entitlements and labour-related income.

This statistical information is essential for policy-makers concerned with inflation, unemployment, retirement benefits, interest rates, national saving and other areas related to the financial characteristics of households. The HFCS provides the Bank and the ECB with micro-level data on households' finances and consumption trends. These data provide important insights into the economic behaviour of households and their response to policy changes. This information is essential for both the conduct of monetary policy and for financial stability purposes. For example, an interest rate change may affect households' saving and consumption decisions and in turn these influence monetary policy transmission throughout the economy.

The HFCS also allows international comparisons of the same data as well as a comprehensive national picture in each country.

National implementation of the survey

This project stems from the Bank's participation in the ECB's Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN). The survey's targeted reference population consists of all resident households in Malta. The sample is composed of a panel component, i.e. households that would have participated in the previous wave, and a systematic sample of new households.

Each household selected represents many other households in the population. Even though participation is voluntary, each household is important as participation is a way for the targeted reference households to be sufficiently represented.

Many respondents will perceive various survey questions as personal. However, in order to understand what factors influence the financial decisions of Maltese and euro area households, it is vital that the Bank asks a broad range of households a set of financial questions. The answers to these questions can then be used to inform the policy-making process.

Main results for the 2010, 2013 and 2016 Survey

The main results of the HFCS carried out in Malta in the three waves have been published by the Central Bank of Malta and can be accessed from the links below. 

Household finance & consumption survey in Malta: Main results of 2010 exercise

Household Finance and Consumption Survey - Malta vs. Euro Area (2010 exercise)

Household Finance and Consumption Survey in Malta: The results from the second wave (2013 exercise)

The Household Finance and Consumption Survey 2013 - Salient results for Malta

HFCS: A comparison of the main results for Malta, the euro area and other participating countries (2013 exercise)

Income and Wealth Inequality in Malta: Evidence from Micro Data

Household Finance and Consumption Survey in Malta: The results from the third wave (2017 exercise)

Household Finance and Consumption Survey in Malta: A comparison in the main results for Malta with the euro area (2017 exercise)

For more information you can visit the European Central Bank website.

The Household Finance and Consumption Questionnaire:

Questionnaire (1.20MB)

For more information:

You may wish to contact the Central Bank of Malta to get more information on the HFCS at the following e-mail addressShould you not hear from us within three working days, kindly contact us by phone to ensure that your email was, in fact, received by the Bank.