Study on the financial behavior of households - Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS)
The Household Finance and Consumption Survey provides the National Bank of Belgium with unique microeconomic information about the financial situation of private households in the broad sense. This information supplements the aggregate macroeconomic data.
For the fourth time, the National Bank of Belgium is organising a survey on household finance patterns. More than 10,000 households have been selected at random. Some of them will be invited to take part in the survey in 2020.
The survey is also been carried out at euro area level under the Household Finance and Consumption Network.
The fieldwork for the Household Finance and Consumption Survey, which took place in 2020 and 2021, has now been finalised. The National Bank of Belgium is deeply grateful to all the households that took part in this particularly challenging wave of the survey. Thanks to the information that they have provided, we will be able to learn more about the financial situation of Belgian families and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Households taking part in the survey are given a small reward, which, if they choose, can be donated to one of these five NGOs: Amnesty International, Belgische Vereniging voor Strijd Tegen Muvoviscidose, Handicap International, Oxfam and Plan International.
Thanks to our respondents’ generosity, following this wave of the survey, the NBB has given € 14 540 to these organisations on their behalf, distributed as follows:
- € 1 990 for Amnesty International (Flanders/French-speaking Belgium)
- € 4 970 for Belgische Vereniging voor Strijd Tegen Muvoviscidose / Association Belge de Lutte contre la Mucoviscidose
- € 2 950 for Handicap International
- € 1 780 for Oxfam
- € 2 850 for Plan International
For any additional information about this wave of the survey, you may contact Ipsos, the firm in change of the interviews, directly at:
For additional information on how the data are analysed and the contribution of this survey to our knowledge of the Belgian economy, you may contact the National Bank of Belgium:
Tel: 02 221 44 66
Results of the previous waves of the survey
The third wave of the survey took place in 2017. 2,329 Belgian households participated in it. The results of the analysis were published on this website in May 2020.
At the euro area level, the results of the third wave of the HFCS were published on the ECB website in March 2020.
The second wave of the survey, launched in 2014, enabled an in-depth analysis of Belgian households’ assets and debts. The results of the analyses have been given wide coverage in the press and can be consulted by clicking here.
The results of the first wave (2010) can be consulted by clicking here.
Other NBB publications using the HFCS data are:
- Bover O., J.M. Casado, S. Costa, Ph. Du Caju, Y. McCarthy, E. Sierminska, P. Tzamourani, E. Villanueva and T. Zavadil (2016), “The distribution of debt across euro area countries: the role of individual characteristics, institutions and credit conditions”, International Journal of Central Banking, 12(2), 71-128.
- De Backer B., Ph. Du Caju, M. Emiris and Ch. Van Nieuwenhuyze (2015), “Macroeconomic determinants of non-performing loans”, NBB, Economic Review, December, 47-67.
- Du Caju Ph., Th. Roelandt, Ch. Van Nieuwenhuyze and M.-D. Zachary (2014), “Household indebtedness: evolution and distribution”, NBB, Economic Review, September, 65-85.
- Du Caju Ph., F. Rycx and I. Tojerow (2016), Unemployment risk and over-indebtedness: a microeconometric perspective, ECB, Working Paper 1908.
The European Central Bank also devotes an English-language webpage to it (click here to consult it), on which it compiles and compares the findings gathered during the first wave by the central banks belonging to the Eurosystem.
The National Bank of Belgium can be contacted by e-mail or by telephone for any inquiries about the survey, except for questions relating to the ongoing survey:
Tel: 02 221 44 66