Concepts and definitions


The concept household is used in interview surveys. The corresponding information in the population register is a household-dwelling unit. The household is defined at the beginning of the interview when the interviewee explains who are the actual members of the household.

Persons who live and share meals together and use their income together belong to the same household. A household-dwelling unit is based on address information and includes persons who permanently reside in the same apartment. For example, subtenants are included in the household-dwelling unit but not in the household.

The household-dwelling unit concept is used in statistics when the data are compiled from administrative registers and interview data are not available.

Persons living permanently abroad and the institutional population (e.g. long-term residents of old-age homes, care institutions, prisons or hospitals) are not included in the household population .

Consumption expenditure

The household's consumption expenditure includes all goods and services bought for own consumption in Finland and abroad.It also containes own and received harvest products as well as housing expenditure (actual and imputed). Goods and services received from other households as well as current transfers comparable with consumption are also included. Amortisations of housing and other loans are excluded from the consumption expenditure.

A household's consumption expenditure is formed as follows:

purchases of consumer goods and services
+ own products (agricultural, gardening and natural products)
+ imputed dwelling income from owner-occupied dwellings or dwelling provided as a benefit in kind
+ goods and services received
+ current transfers comparable with consumption (e.g. church taxes, trade union contributions and interests of consumption credits)
= total consumption expenditure

Consumption unit

The consumption of households that differ in size and structure can be compared when the expenditure is calculated by consumption unit. This is a way to standardise the size and age differences of households. The OECD's adjusted consumption unit scale is currently in use, where the first adult of the household receives the weight 1, other over 13-year-olds receive the weight 0.5, and children receive the weight 0.3 (0 to 13-year-olds). When the consumption expenditure of the household is divided with the sum of weights of the persons belonging to the household the result is the adjusted consumption expenditure with which households of various sizes can be compared.

Durability classification

Households' purchases are also classified based on their durability into four groups: services, consumer non-durables, consumer durables and semi-durable consumer goods.

The difference between consumer non-durables and durables is based on whether the goods can be used only once or if they are used repeatedly or continuously for over a year. Consumer durables like cars, refrigerators, washing machines and televisions usually have a relatively high purchase price. The service life of semi-durable consumer goods is clearly shorter and the purchase price is lower than for consumer durables.

Own products

Own products refer to food produced or picked by the household for its own consumption. Such products include agricultural and gardening products like potatoes and apples, and picked products like berries and mushrooms. Fishing catches and hunted game are also included in household consumption.