The Household Finances Survey (HFS) data source was launched in the financial year ending (FYE) 2020 to improve the quality of the ONS's income data. The HFS is a combination of the longitudinal Survey of Living Conditions (SLC) and the cross-sectional Living Costs and Food (LCF) Survey. Both the SLC and LCF are conducted throughout the year and across the whole of the UK.
The SLC and the LCF have harmonised questions and together they provide common variables on income, employment, benefits and pensions. These harmonised variables create the "core" of the HFS output. LCF includes some additional expenditure questions, while SLC contains a policy-relevant module, which is regularly reviewed.
HFS data have been used since 2019 to obtain essential information on household income, its distribution across the population and how it is changing over time (see our Average household income, UK: financial year ending 2022 datasets). HFS data are used to produce our Household income inequality bulletin and Effects of taxes and benefits on household income dataset.
The HFS is an important source of data for a range of government and other research agencies, helping analysts and policy makers to understand how different sections of society are managing. The data are used to monitor and inform policies aimed at combating poverty and social exclusion. Users of the microdata include think tanks, academics and other government departments, who conduct income, taxes and benefits research, for example, using micro-simulation models to predict policy changes.Back to table of contents