Household Finance and Consumption Network

The Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN), which was established in December 2006, consists of survey specialists, statisticians and economists from the ECB, the national central banks of the Eurosystem and a number of national statistical institutes. The HFCN conducts the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) and carries out research based on HFCS data.

Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS)

The Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) is a harmonised survey that collects micro-data on European households’ assets, liabilities, employment, income and consumption. 

The HFCS dataset provides insights into:

  • the heterogeneous behaviour of households observed in issues such as wealth distribution, debt allocation under financial pressure, household finance and credit constraints and saving decisions;
  • the impact of policies and institutional changes on households’ balance sheets;
  • how households respond to macroeconomic shocks; and
  • how monetary policy and financial stability decisions impact on household's behaviour.

The first wave of the HFCS was conducted mainly in 2010 in 15 euro area countries, with a total sample of 62,000 households. The second wave was conducted mainly in 2013-2014 in 18 euro area countries, as well as in Poland and Hungary, with a total sample of over 84,000 households.

The first wave of the HFCS in Greece was conducted in 2009 with a sample of 2,971 Greek households, whereas the second wave took place in 2014 with a sample of 3,003 households. The key characteristics of the Greek sample of households in the first HFCS wave are described  in Issue 38 of the Bank of Greece's Economic Bulletin. A paper published in Issue 45 of the Economic Bulletin investigates the impact of the Greek crisis on households, by comparing the two waves of the Greek HFCS conducted in 2009 and 2014, respectively.

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