The Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development is announcing to the public that the Central Statistical Office (CSO) will be conducting the Household Budget Survey and Survey of Living Conditions, beginning Sunday 12 February, 2023 to conclude in January of 2024.

The Household Budget Survey (HBS) is designed to collect very detailed information regarding the household budget as the name implies, that is, expenditure and income data of the household. The first Household Budget Survey was conducted by the Central Statistical Office in 1957. The most recent survey was carried out in 2008/2009.

This year, for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago, the Household Budget Survey will be combined with the Survey of Living Conditions (SLC) resulting in reduced cost and decreased respondent burden. The Survey of Living Conditions has been utilized as the main source of robust quantitative data to generate key poverty, inequality and vulnerability indicators and to evaluate living conditions at a point in time.

The HBS/SLC will be the first such exercise in Trinidad and Tobago in which both surveys are merged in order to yield better quality expenditure data, while also providing detailed information on health, education, labour and other characteristics of living conditions.

The main objectives of the HBS/SLC are:

1.                  To collect information to develop a current basket of household goods and services. This data forms the basis for the revision of the Index of Retail Prices which is used to monitor the inflation rate.

2.                  To provide detailed data on household expenditure and income.

3.                  To facilitate the construction of poverty lines and produce indicators of deprivation for social research and poverty analyses.

4.                  To assess, gauge and monitor the national progress toward the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2023 HBS/SLC is a nationally representative survey with coverage across all Cities, Boroughs and Regions in Trinidad and Tobago. A sample of 7200 randomly selected households spread across the length and breadth of the country will be visited.

CSO field staff will utilise a questionnaire to capture both household and individual information. A diary will also be issued to the household to keep records of all food items, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, tobacco and readymade meals purchased over a two-week period. If a household falls within the sample, an experienced field interviewer will visit the address and administer the survey. A responsible household member will be asked to keep a log of purchases in the diary provided.

Some types of information to be collected are: demographic data, the condition of dwellings and availability of utilities; expenditure on health, education, entertainment, personal care etc.; data on mortality and migration, social behaviour, satisfaction with life, fertility, adult literacy and more. This data will help to monitor Trinidad and Tobago’s progress in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the National Development Strategy, Vision 2030.

The public is asked to note that all field staff will be dressed in khaki coloured T-shirts for identification purposes with the CSO and HBS/SLC logos. The field staff will also have CSO ID cards and tablets for interviewing households. Approximately 40 Field Enumerators, 14 Field Supervisors and 1 Zone Coordinator will comprise the team administering the survey.

The success of the survey and the quality of the resulting data is largely dependent on the cooperation of citizens who fall within the survey sample. Citizens are urged to cooperate with the CSO field staff, so that the correct information can be provided if their household is indeed selected. The Central Statistical Office respectfully requests your cooperation, time and patience, as they try to obtain crucial data which can be used to improve our country’s socio-economic policies and the nation’s future.

All information collected during these exercises will follow strict confidentiality protocols and will not be shared outside of the exercise.  Citizens can contact the CSO at 624-7001 ext. 258 to verify field officers or if there are any queries or concerns.

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