Transforming the ONS’s household financial statistics

Closed 23 Feb 2023

Opened 1 Dec 2022


We are seeking views on our ambitious plans for the transformation of our household financial statistics.  

These statistics cover the income, expenditure and wealth of UK Households and are a vital source of information for understanding people’s finances including the effects from the rising cost of living. 

Our aim is to ensure that the household financial statistics and analysis we produce continue to meet the evolving needs of policy makers, citizens and other data users. Our ambition is that our statistics and analysis should provide inclusive, coherent, timely and granular insights into wide aspects of the financial wellbeing of households with improved coverage and accuracy.  

Improving the coherence of our measures of income is also an important goal within our plans. Previous feedback from users has informed us that a better understanding of the differences between measures of income and greater coherence in these estimates is important.  

We have a longer-term aim to make much greater use of other existing UK Government data sources, known as administrative data. Our ambition is to put these at the heart of our income statistics, supported by data from our surveys, which continue to be fundamental for measuring aspects of household finances not covered in other sources.  

This proposed approach essentially constitutes a shift from predominantly survey based estimates supported by administrative data to the converse position. This is in line with our broader plans for more frequent, timely and inclusive population and social statistics.

This consultation sets out our plans for the next two and half years, laying out necessary transformation steps, consistent with that longer term aim and building on our existing research in this space.  Recognising that in the shorter term we will continue to rely more heavily on surveys, particularly for data on expenditure and wealth. Therefore, this consultation seeks views on plans for both the transformation of our surveys and further development of our use of administrative data.   

Our ambitious plan outlines how, through the combination of survey, administrative data and statistical imputation we aim to develop a cross-cutting suite of data on income, expenditure, and wealth at a household level.  We will also explore introducing a new online first point of contact for respondents, aiming to reduce respondent burden and facilitate targeted follow ups. We aim to improve estimates of household spending through the development of a new digital collection tool to replace the diary element of expenditure data collection and adopt the latest international standards of expenditure classification. 

We ask you to consider our proposals for the transformation of household financial statistics and to provide your responses to this consultation by Thursday 23 February 2023.  A better understanding of your needs and priorities will help us shape our ambitions and plans for these important statistics. 

We also invite you to join us at our online event on 17 January 2023. This is an opportunity to further discuss the proposals in the consultation, ask questions and share thoughts about the uses and priorities for these key statistics. 

Thank you.


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