Household expenditure

INCOME, EXPENDITURE AND CONSUMPTION OF HOUSEHOLDS - Income, expenditure and consumption of households
Contact organisation

National Statistical Institute

Contact organisation unit

Statistics on Living Conditions Department

Contact name

Irina Tosheva

Contact person function

State expert

Contact mail address

2, P. Volov Str.; 1038 Sofia, Bulgaria

Contact email address

[email protected]

Contact phone number

+359 2 9857 612

Contact fax number
Metadata update
Metadata last certified04 November 2020
Metadata last posted04 November 2020
Metadata last update04 November 2020
Statistical presentation
Data description

The main objective of the household budget survey is to get reliable and scientifically founded data on the income, expenditure, consumption and other elements of the living standard of the population as well as changes which have occurred during the years.

Household income includes all receipts of the household and its members during the surveyed period. The income is estimate in total and monetary form. Monetary income includes regular receipts from: wages and salaries, other earnings, entrepreneurship, property, pensions, social benefits, regular inter-household transfers, as well as sale of property and other irregular receipts. Total income includes monetary and valued income in kind.

Household expenditure includes all resources spend by the household and its members during the surveyed period. The expenditures are estimated in total and monetary form. Monetary expenditure includes consumer expenditure on foods and non-alcoholic beverages; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; furnishing and maintenance of the house; health; transport; communication; recreation, culture and education; miscellaneous goods and services; as well as taxes, social insurance, regular intro-household transfers and other non-consumer expenditure. Total expenditure includes monetary and valued expenditure in kind.

Variables of household incomes and expenditures are estimated average per household and per person and as structure.

Household consumption includes the quantities of main foods and beverages consumed at home. The catering data are not included. The variables are estimated by the household budget survey are calculated by balance method and are presented average per person.

Housing conditions variables are: type of dwelling, number of rooms, availability of water supply system, sewerage, electricity, bath and toilet.

Durables observed are: cars, TV sets, washing machines, refrigerators and freezers, telephones, computers, air-conditioners and others.

Classification system

· Classification on household income;

· Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose;

· International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011);

· National Classification of Occupations and Duties-2011 (NCOD-2011);

· Classification of Economic Activities (CEA-2008, for international use NACE.BG-2008);

· Classification of territorial units for statistical purposes in Bulgaria (NUTS).

Sector coverage

The Household Budget Survey is a sample survey by implementation of two stage cluster. The general population from which the sample for the survey is formed comprises all the households in the country. Institutional households are not studied by the household budget survey. The unit of observation is every randomly chosen ordinary household irrespective of the number of members and their material and personal status. The sample size for the 2002 - 2009 period is 3000 households and since 2010 - 3060 households each quarter.

Statistical concepts and definitions

Gross income

Gross household income is aggregated value of all regular incomes of the household and its members during the surveyed period from wages and salaries, other earnings, entrepreneurship, property, pensions, social benefits and regular inter-household transfers.

Net income

Net household income is calculated from gross income after deduction of tax and contribution to social insurance.

Consumer expenditure

The consumer expenditure of a household includes the expenditure done by the household for satisfaction of the necessities of the household as a whole or some household members.


A private household consists of two or more persons living in a dwelling or part of dwelling and sharing common budget, having their meals together, no matter relatives or not.

One person living in a dwelling, separate room or part of room on his/her own budget also is considered a household.

Statistical unit

Household (ordinary household).

Statistical population

The general population from which the sample is formed comprises all ordinary households in the country.

Institutional households are not studied by the HBS.

Reference area

According to the Classification of territorial units for statistical purposes in Bulgaria (NUTS).

Time coverage

Up to 2009 (Monthly and yearly data), since 2010 - quarterly and yearly data.

Base period

Not applicable.

Unit of measure

BGN, per cent (%), kg, litre, number, number of persons, ccal

Reference period

Month (before 2009); Quarter (since 2010); Year

Institutional mandate
Legal acts and other agreements

Gentlemen agreement with Eurostat.

Data sharing

Not applicable.

Confidentiality - policy

· Law on Statistics;

· Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

Confidentiality - data treatment

Individual data are not published in accordance with article 25 of the Law on Statistics. The publishing of individual data can be performed only in accordance with article 26 of the same law.

Release policy
Release calendar

Dates for release are defined in the Release Calendar presenting the results of the statistical surveys carried out by the National Statistical Institute. Quarterly data on household income, expenditure and consumption is available 45 days after the reference period and annual data - in April of the year following the reference year.

Release calendar access

The calendar is available on the NSI website:

User access

Data is published on the NSI website, section Households Income, Expenditure and Consumption and in the INFOSTAT Information system in accordance with the Law on Statistics and the European Statistics Code of Practice respecting the professional independence and aimed at objectivity, transparency and equal treatment of all consumers.

Frequency of dissemination

Monthly (to 2009), Quarterly (since 2010), Annual

Accessibility and clarity
News release

Household income, expenditure and consumption - quarterly and yearly.


· Publication "Household Budgets in the Republic of Bulgaria" - detailed annual data for different household groups (by place of residence, by number of household members, by number of employed persons, by number of children under 18, by total annual income per person in the household, by presence of pensioners, by professional and economic status of the household head, by decile groups);

· Publication "Average prices and purchased quantities of main foods and non-foods by households" - contains data on the average prices and purchased quantities foods and non-foods by households by years and by quarters. The information from the survey of household budgets is used and because of that these average prices differ from the consumer prices published by the NSI. The purchased quantities foods are computed average per household and the purchased non-foods - average per 100 households. Published are also data on the purchasing power of households calculated by means of total and monetary income, as well as the changes in the purchasing power.

· Booklet "Household Budget Survey";

· General Publications of the NSI.

On-line database

Detailed results on Household Budgets are available to all users of the NSI website under the heading Households Income, Expenditure and Consumption:

and in the INFOSTAT Information system:

Micro-data access

Anonymised individual data can be provide for scientific and research purposes, and for individual request according to the Rules for the provision of anonymised individual data for scientific and research purposes.


Information service on request, according to the Rules for the dissemination of statistical products and services in NSI.

Documentation on methodology

· Methodology and organisation of the household budgets survey:

· Instruction for interviewers of Household budget survey.

Quality documentation

Quality reports for 2005, 2010 and 2015, submitted to Eurostat.

Quality management
Quality assurance

Through checking on field work and control of the thoroughness of the records in the diaries.

Quality assessment

Data are accompanied with quality reports analyzing the accuracy, coherence and comparability of the data.

User needs

The data is of interest to a wide number of users - state authorities, public and international organizations (Eurostat, UN, UNICEF, ILO, etc), students and others.

User satisfaction

Consultations with users:

  • The survey toolkit is updated according to Eurostat's methodological recommendations.
  • The methodology is coordinated with other departments of the NSI using data from the household budget survey.
  • NSI experts participate in working groups of different ministries and departments in order to provide the necessary statistical information.
  • Queries are made regarding household budget survey data, in agreement with the users.

Not applicable.

Accuracy and reliability
Overall accuracy

As with any other sample survey, HBS may be burdened with errors due to sampling and other relating to the inability to be interviewed some of the units in the sample, as well as the errors taking place at the stage of data recording, data processing, etc.

Sampling error

The sampling errors calculated for main variables are published in annual publication "Household Budgets in the Republic of Bulgaria".

Non-sampling error

Like any statistical survey and household budget survey may contain non-sampling errors that arise at different stages of the study and which cannot be completely eliminated.

Such errors are basically:

· coverage errors

· measurement errors that occur at the time of data collection

· processing errors

· non-response errors


In order to reduce non-sampling errors:
· update of the household lists for each of the first stage selection census enumeration areas;
· development of a clear research methodology, ongoing updating of data coding systems;
· using interviewers with experience in collecting, controlling, encoding and inputting data;
· conducting regular training seminars for the interviewers;
· assistance to the interviewers of the survey team at NSI;
· data control at the collection, input, and processing stage.
Timeliness and punctuality

Quarterly data are published 45 days after the reference period.

Annual data are published in April of the year following the reference year.


The deadlines are observed: for quarterly data - 45 days after the reporting period, and for the annual ones - four months after the accounting year.

Coherence and comparability
Comparability - geographical

Not applicable.

Comparability - over time

Long time series.

Coherence - cross domain
Household budget survey is consistent with Consumer Price Index, Purchasing Power Parity and National Accounts. Additional analyzes are carried out to ensure consistency with the survey on income and living conditions.
Coherence - internal
Cost and burden

Every household receive 20 BGN per month of participation. It take part in the survey 4 months per year, average 2-3 hour per month.

Data revision
Data revision - policy

Not applicable.

Data revision - practice

Not applicable.

Statistical processing
Source data

The general population from which the sample for the survey is formed comprises all the ordinary households in the country.

When forming the sample a two stage cluster’s sampling on a territorial principle is implemented as follows:

  • at the first stage the clusters are selected (enumeration areas from the last Census);
  • at the second stage the households to be surveyed are identified.

Up to 2009 the selection of territorial units is done with a probability proportional to their size. Since 2010 non-proportional selection has applied in order to produce more accurate sample data in the small regions where the minimum quarter size of the sample include no less 72 households at the expense of decrease of the number of households in the large regions - Sofia (stolitsa), Plovdiv and Varna.

In the selected enumeration areas (clusters) lists of the household are prepared and they are arranged into ascending order, depending on the number of persons. This indicator has a close correlation with the surveyed indicators - income, expenditure, and consumption per capita. 6 households from these lists are chosen from each cluster with a selection step.

Since 2010 the sample size has been 3 060 households divided in three sub-samples each containing 1 020 households. Each sub-sample is surveyed one month per quarter by application of the method of rotation sample. Each household participates in the survey four months during the 12-month period.

The household budget survey applies the principle of the voluntary participation of households which had randomly come into the sample. Every randomly selected household which is not willing or is not able to cooperate is replaced with another from the same cluster and with the same number of members.

Main documents of the Household budget survey are:

  • Household dairy;
  • Three questionnaires.
Frequency of data collection

Monthly (to 2009), quarterly (since 2010)

Data collection

Data collection methods

· method of writing down the data by one of the members of the observed household

· method of the interview between the interviewer and the members of the household.

The surveyed households keep a regular record in the Household Diary on:

· total daily monetary expenditure per month for food products, non-food products, services and others;

· all monetary incomes from working salary, social insurance, home production and others;

· supply in kind and use of food products and non-food goods;

· manufactured raw materials and products obtained from the processing;

· number of people who had meals.


Since 2010 the households have kept retrospective records on:

· irregular expenditure on non-foods during the previous two months;

· some irregular income during the previous two months.


By interview data are collected on:

· social demographic characteristics of the household and its members

· availability of facilities and durables at the dwelling

· availability of food products at the beginning of the month of observation and residues at the end of the month

· the presence of farm animals in the household.


The interviewers visit the household several times a month. During these visits they have a detailed conversation with the members of the household, check the completeness and reliability of the data entered into the diary.

Data validation
In the process of entering information, logical control of the received information is performed.
Data compilation
Data processing is done with specially developed software for the research.

The information from the household budget survey is processed monthly at the Statistical Survey Departments of NSI regional offices and NSI and is summarized quarterly and annually in the NSI. Monthly control tables, quarterly, and annual estimates are obtained.


Monthly processing includes:

• input and control of collected data for each household observed during the month;

• summarizing the data for the individual household from the different input documents and forming an individual household budget;

• data control for the individual household budgets;

• applying methodologies for calculating additional result variables:

  • in kind expenditures of the household by type of expenditure
  • in kind income of the household by sources of income
  • an equivalent household size

• obtaining tables with control monthly assessments of the main indicators for the survey;


Quarterly processing includes:

aggregation of monthly data;
applying methodologies for assessing individual household data for the two months during which they were not directly observed;
obtaining tables with quarterly estimates of the main indicators for the survey;
calculation of stochastic errors in quarterly assessments.


Annual processing includes:

aggregation of  quarterly data; 

• applying methodologies to add retrospective data for the months when households are not directly observed;

• obtaining tables with final  quarterly estimates of the main indicators for the survey;

• obtaining tables with annual estimates of the main indicators for the survey.


Not applicable.

Metadata Structure Definition in SDMX 2.1: ESMS_MSD+BNSI+2.0+SDMX.2.1.xml
Metadata Structure Definition in SDMX 2.0: ESMS_MSD+BNSI+2.0+SDMX.2.0.xml
  • Total expenditure
    • Quarterly data
    • Annual data
  • Monetary expenditure
    • Quarterly data
    • Annual data
  • Thursday, 14 April 2011 - 11:00

    The average annual income per household member in 2010 is 3 812 BGN or 1.4% less compared to 2009. Greater part of the income - 95.7% is received as current revenue from wages, pensions, social assistance benefits, child allowances as well as from entrepreneurship and sales of property. The rest of the total income reported - 4.3% is due to loans, credits and savings.

  • Monday, 28 February 2011 - 11:00

    The average quarterly total income average per household member during the fourth quarter of 2010 is 924 Levs or by 3.7% less compared to the same quarter of 2009. The main part of this income (82.6%) is received from wages and salaries and pensions. The tendency of increase in pensions persists in similar terms as noted in comparative analyses from past periods. A nominal decrease in wages is registered. Wages and salaries continue to be the main source of household income.

  • Tuesday, 14 December 2010 - 11:00

    Bulgaria falls among the countries with the highest percentage of persons at risk of poverty in the EU together with Latvia, Romania, Greece, Lithuania, Spain and Estonia.

  • Wednesday, 24 November 2010 - 11:00

    The average quarterly total income average per household member during the third quarter of 2010 is 932 Levs or by 2.2% less compared to the same quarter of 2009. The main part of this income (80.7%) is received from wages and salaries and pensions. The tendency of increase in pensions persists in similar terms as noted in comparative analyses from past periods. A nominal decrease in wages is registered.

  • Tuesday, 5 October 2010 - 11:00

    The average quarterly total income average per household member during the second quarter of 2010 is 906 Levs or 0.9% less compared to the same quarter of 2009. The main part of this income (95.2%) is received from wages and salaries, pensions, social benefits, family allowances and entrepreneurship. The rest income (4.8%) is received from sale of property and miscellaneous.