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Household Economic Survey – information for participants

Why are you carrying out this survey?

We carry out this survey to collect information on household income, savings, and expenditure, as well as demographic information on individuals and households.

Government agencies use the information collected in the Household Economic Survey (HES) to help develop policy and make decisions.

For example, HES (Expenditure) data feeds into the consumers price index (CPI), which measures the country’s official inflation rate (rate of price change). The inflation rate is used, among other things, to adjust the benefit and New Zealand Superannuation rates for beneficiaries and retired people.

HES (Income) data is used to estimate the number of households with low income and the number of children living in these households. 

HES (Savings) data is used to estimate how much New Zealand households own and how much they owe. These surveys provide information the government can use to develop ways to help New Zealand families.  

How did you select me?

We use a fair statistical selection method where every household in our country has a known chance of being included to participate in the survey.

You were selected because you meet the criteria of being 15 years old or older and living in the selected New Zealand household.

If your household moves away from this address, we will not contact you at your new address. You will be replaced by the new occupants of the selected address.

When do you carry out the survey?

HES is an annual survey that runs from July to June each year, designed to measure the economic well-being of New Zealanders. While the survey measures household income and housing costs every year, we collect wealth and detailed expenditure data only every three years. 

How can I complete the survey questionnaire?

You’ll be interviewed by one of our field staff, who will fill in the survey questionnaire with the answers you give. This will be a face-to-face interview by an interviewer using a laptop.

If you have been selected for the Expenditure version of the survey, the interviewer will also leave a one-week expenditure diary for your household to fill in.

How long does the interview take?

The interview generally takes about 20 to 40 minutes for each person, depending on which version of the survey your household has been selected for. The total length of this survey varies depending on the size and composition of your household. 

Page updated 2 July 2019

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