Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Household Expenditure Survey (HES)?

The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is conducted by the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS) once in every five years since 1972/73.

The HES2017/18 collects detailed information on households’ expenditure and data on demographic and socio-economic characteristics as well as ownership of consumer durables. It is carried out over a one-year period from October 2017 to September 2018 to cover households’ expenditure on all festive seasons.

Is Singapore the only country conducting the Household Expenditure Survey (HES)?

Surveys of a similar nature to the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) are conducted in other parts of the word, including United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Further information on the surveys conducted by other countries may be found on the website of the International Labour Organization or via the websites of the respective National Statistical Offices.

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Which agency is responsible for the management of the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18?

The Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS), under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is responsible for the management and operations of the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18.

Why does the Department of Statistics (DOS) conduct the Household Expenditure Survey (HES)?

The main objective of conducting the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is to update the weighting pattern and the basket of goods and services for the compilation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The CPI is an indicator of inflation and measures the price changes of a fixed basket of selected consumer goods and services commonly purchased by households.

The HES also provides insights to how consumers’ lifestyle and spending habits change over time. Findings from the HES are published for use by public and private sector organisations as well as members of the public.

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How is the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) conducted?

The Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS) conducts the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) once in every five years.

For the ongoing HES 2017/18, survey officers will visit all selected households to explain the details and assist them in the survey. They will carry an official identification card and a Letter of Authorisation from our Department.

Households selected for the survey may choose to provide their responses via the HES Online Submission form. For more information on how to proceed with the online submission, please refer to the online User Guide.

The HES is conducted under the provisions of the Statistics Act (Chapter 317). All information supplied by respondents will be kept in confidence in accordance with the Statistics Act.

Who is required to take part in the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18?

For the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18, a sample of some 13,100 dwelling units will be surveyed. All persons staying in the selected dwelling units will be required to take part in the HES 2017/18.

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Who will be required to keep the expenditure records for the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18?

All members of the selected households who are aged 14 years and above (as at 1 October 2017) are required to keep the expenditure records for the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18.

How are the households covered in the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) selected?

The sample for the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18 was selected from a sampling frame comprising all residential dwelling units in Singapore.

The sample was selected based on a stratified design with disproportionate allocation. Dwelling units in the sampling frame were divided into different groups (or strata) using information such as broad dwelling type and geographical region. A random sample was then selected from each group and combined to form the required sample of 13,100 dwelling units.

As the HES is a sample survey, while a particular household may be selected to participate in the HES, the neighbouring household(s) may not also be selected.

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What information is collected in the Household Expenditure Survey (HES)?

The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) collects information on:

Regular household expenses

  • Food, bus/train fares, mobile phone bills, school/tuition fees, premiums paid on term insurance etc.

Major but less frequent expenses

  • Household appliances, furniture, cars, renovation etc.

Expenditure incurred on overseas vacation travel and significant events such as wedding

Household-related information

  • Household composition, home ownership, ownership of additional properties and access to consumer durables

Income from various sources such as employment, business, rental.

Savings and loans

The detailed list of data items covered in the previous HES 2012/13 is shown in Annex B of the Report on the Household Expenditure Survey 2012/13.

How long would it take to complete the Household Expenditure Survey (HES)?

The duration for completing the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18 questionnaire depends on the number of persons in each household. For a typical household of 3 – 4 persons, the average time taken to complete the initial questionnaire is expected to be about 45 – 60 minutes.

Members of the households aged 14 years and over will also be required to complete the expenditure recording over a two-week survey period. During this period, survey officers will visit the households to assist with the recording.

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What are the different ways to participate in the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18?

Households can choose to submit the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18 survey forms via the HES Online Submission form and/or face-to-face interviews.

Is the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) compulsory?

Households covered in the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18 are selected using an established sampling method to ensure accurate representation of the population. Each household’s participation in the HES 2017/18 is crucial to ensure that representative data are collected.

HES 2017/18 is conducted under the Statistics Act (Chapter 317) which requires all selected households to provide the necessary information for the survey. Information collected will be kept in the strictest confidence in accordance with the Statistics Act.

We value and seek the understanding and co-operation of all selected households in participating in the HES 2017/18.

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What safeguards are there to ensure that my information provided for the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is kept in confidence?

The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is conducted under the Statistics Act (Chapter 317) which requires all selected households to provide the necessary information. All responses will be kept in the strictest confidence in accordance with the Statistics Act.

All our Department’s survey officers handling the individual survey information are required to sign the undertakings under the Statistics Act as well as the Official Secrets Act. They are fully aware of the provisions and the need to safeguard such information. The information collected will be used solely for statistical purposes.

How reliable, accurate and comprehensive will be results of the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18 be?

The accuracy of the results of the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2017/18 will depend on the responses provided by the respondents. The full co-operation of the respondents is therefore very critical to the success of this national survey.

Where can I find data from the Household Expenditure Survey (HES)?

Latest available data on the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) are available in the Report on the Household Expenditure Survey 2012/13

The HES 2012/13 data are also available on the SingStat Table Builder. View them via the selections on the page:

  • Population
  • Household Income and Expenditure
  • Household Expenditure Survey 2012/13

Reports on the HES 2002/03, 2007/08 and 2012/13 are available on the SingStat website.

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