UK Data Service series record for:
The Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey (NIFES) was conducted in Northern Ireland from 1967-1998, and was the counterpart to the Family Expenditure Survey (FES), which was conducted annually in Great Britain from 1961-2001. It aimed to provide reliable data on expenditure and income in relation to household characteristics. From 1968 the Great Britain FES incorporated a sample drawn from the NIFES to become the UK FES. The FES was replaced in 2001 by the Expenditure and Food Survey (EFS), covering the whole of the UK. The EFS subsequently became the Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF) from 2008.
GN 33240 | Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey, 1968-1998
You can find links to the datasets in the DATA ACCESS section above. When you follow the link to a dataset you will be taken to its catalogue record which contains the following information:
Most survey data may be downloaded as SPSS, Stata or tab-delimited files. There is a download button near the top right of each catalogue record. Most datasets can be downloaded after you login to your UK Data Service account. See our Access pages for more information about how to access data.
See our Use data pages for more advice about getting started with analyses. These pages contain advice and training; guides about datasets, topics and methods and software including SPSS and Stata; information about how others have used the data and how to cite datasets. See also our Events pages for courses and webinars about how to find, use and manage data.
The Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey (NIFES) was conducted in Northern Ireland from 1967-1998, and was the counterpart to the Family Expenditure Survey (FES), which was conducted annually in Great Britain from 1957-2001. The FES/NIFES provided reliable data on expenditure and income in relation to household characteristics. The results of the survey show how expenditure patterns of different kinds of households vary, and the extent to which individual members of a household contribute to the household income. Although originally commissioned to provide expenditure details for the calculation of weights for the Retail Price Index, the FES/NIFES collected much additional information was also collected on the characteristics of co-operating households and the incomes of their members. It thus became a multi-purpose survey, and provided a unique fund of important economic and social data.
From 1968 the Great Britain FES incorporated a sample drawn from the NIFES to become the UK FES. The FES was replaced in 2001 by a new survey series, the Expenditure and Food Survey (EFS) covering the whole of the UK. The EFS is an amalgamation of the previous National Food Survey (NFS) and UK FES.
The NI FES is available annually from 1968 to 1981 and from 1992 to 1997/1998. Until 1993, the data is available on a calendar year basis (i.e. running from January to December). From 1993, the data is supplied on a financial year basis (i.e. from April to March). The NI FES uses the same questionnaires and documentation as the FES.
Most years of the NI FES are available in SPSS, STATA and ASCII tab-delimited formats.
Although the basic unit of the survey is the household, detailed questions are asked about the income of each adult member of the household. In addition, personal information such as age, sex and marital status is recorded for each household member. Each individual aged 16 or over in the household is asked to keep diary records of daily expenditure. Information about regular expenditure, such as rent and mortgage payments, is obtained from a household interview along with retrospective information on large infrequent expenditures.
Information was collected about the household, the sex and age of each member, and also details about the type and size of the household accommodation. The main part of the questionnaire related to expenditure both of a household and individual nature, but the questions were mainly confined to expenses of a recurring nature, e.g.:
Data were collected for each household spender. Apart from page 1, the schedule was concerned with income, National Insurance contributions and income tax. Information collected included: employment status and recent absences from work, earnings of an employee, self-employed earnings, National Insurance contributions, pensions and other regular allowances, occasional benefits - social security benefits and other types, investment income, miscellaneous earnings of a 'once-only' character, tax paid directly to Inland Revenue or refunded, income of a child.
Each diary covered fourteen days. Each household member aged 15 or over (or 16 or over from 1973 onwards) was asked to record all expenditure made during the 14 days.
The NIFES was identical to the UK FES and therefore used the same questionnaires and documentation. However, starting in 1988, a voluntary question on religious denomination was asked of those aged 16 and over in Northern Ireland.
Variable lists and PDF user guides (including questionnaires) are freely available on the catalogue page for each survey. You can see a list of all the NI FES surveys in the DATA ACCESS section of this webpage.
These are published in the official ONS reports Family Spending and are available from a good academic library or from The Stationery Office. The current Family Spending report is also freely available from the Office for National Statistics website.
NI results are also published in a separate report, The Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey Report. Further information and copies of this report can be obtained from:
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Central Survey Unit
2-14 Castle Street
Belfast BT1 1SY
Tel: 02890 348 215
The GB counterpart to the NI FES was the Family Expenditure Survey (FES), which was conducted annually in Great Britain from 1957-2001. In 2001, the FES was merged with the National Food Survey (NFS) to create the Expenditure and Food Survey. The Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF) replaced the Expenditure and Food Survey (EFS) from 2008.
Using the Northern Ireland Family Expenditure Survey for teaching
See our teaching pages for practical information, exemplars, and tips for using UK Data Service data in teaching, including: