Survey of Household Spending (SHS)

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Have you been invited to participate in this survey via email or mail? To log in to the survey, complete the following steps.

Step 1: Visit the electronic questionnaire portal and select Start my survey.

Step 2: Enter your secure access code (you will find this code in the invitation letter or email you previously received from Statistics Canada).

Step 3: Complete the survey.

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The Survey of Household Spending (SHS) is a national, biennial survey that gathers information on the spending habits of Canadians. It looks at how much households pay for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, health care and other items. Your participation allows Statistics Canada to measure the changing spending patterns of all Canadian households. This information will help governments, economic and social policy analysts, community groups and businesses serve you better.

Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Collection period:
Data for reference year 2021 are collected monthly from January 1, 2021 to February 15, 2022.
Collection methods:
Electronic questionnaire, telephone interview and paper diary
Survey participation:

Voluntary

Your participation in the Survey of Household Spending is voluntary. However, since each household can represent up to 1,100 similar households depending on the province or the territorial capital, it is important that all the selected households participate. This ensures that accurate information is available. For statistical reasons, we cannot replace your household with another one. Every household that does not participate reduces the amount of collected data.

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    Confidentiality

    Data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. Your information will be kept strictly confidential.

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    Record linkage

    To enhance the data from this survey and to reduce response burden, Statistics Canada will combine the information you provide with information from personal tax data. Statistics Canada may also combine the information you provide with data from other surveys or administrative sources.

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    Topics covered in the survey

    The survey asks questions about:

    • household and dwelling characteristics
    • household spending by category
    • household income
    • household equipment.
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    Published data

    Statistics Canada publishes the results of its surveys in many formats. To find all the documents related to this survey, follow the links below and type the name of the survey in the search engine located at the left of your screen to filter the results.

    Data: You will find tables, profiles of a community or region, thematic maps, public use microdata files, and data visualization tools.

    Analysis: You will have direct access to Stats in brief (e.g., releases from The Daily, fact sheets), articles and reports, and journals and periodicals.

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    Survey-specific questions

    What is the purpose of this survey?

    The Survey of Household Spending collects detailed information about household expenditures for consumer goods and services by conducting an electronic questionnaire or a follow-up telephone interview. Participating households will also receive a one or two week diary to record their spending for goods and services purchased over that period. The survey also collects information about housing conditions, household equipment and income. The spending data in combination with the housing, equipment and income data, is used to measure the changing spending patterns of all Canadians. Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

    Who is surveyed?

    About 48,570 households are surveyed across the 10 provinces and 3 territorial capitals.

    How was my household selected to participate in this survey?

    It would be very expensive, and not very practical, to survey every household in Canada. Instead, Statistics Canada uses a statistical method called "sampling" to select your household. It is an established way to determine the characteristics of an entire population with the answers from a randomly chosen sample. For this survey, it is your address that was chosen and not you personally. To ensure that the sample is an accurate reflection of the spending patterns of the population as a whole, it is important that all selected households participate.

    Who uses the information? Why is it important?

    Your responses provide essential input to government policy decisions that affect all Canadians. Many groups, including federal government departments such as Statistics Canada and the Department of Finance Canada use the information from this survey. Also, The COVID-19 pandemic may have affected the prices of certain goods and services as well as the finances of many Canadians. Collecting data on household spending will help provide an accurate picture of what is happening in the country.

    The results from the Survey of Household Spending are used to:

    • Update the calculation of the basket weights of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) often referred to as the rate of inflation. The CPI is used to adjust the payments of social programs (Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and the Canada Child Benefit), as well as wage and salary settlements.
    • Assist in the calculation of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the System of National Accounts at Statistics Canada.
    • Measure how much households spend on basic expenses such as shelter, food and clothing.
    • Show trends in household spending such as education and health care.
    • Help government agencies identify the needs of low-income, senior-citizen and lone-parent households.
    • Compare spending habits of different types of households (low-income, senior citizen, lone-parent, single member households, etc.).
    • Help monitoring housing adequacy, suitability and affordability.

    How to get ready to fill out the questionnaire?

    Gather your most recent regular bills or statements (water, electricity, gas, communication services, rent or mortgage) and any receipts you may have for large purchases you made in the last 12 months, such as furniture and appliances, home renovations, trips, etc.

    Having them available will make it easier for you to answer some of the questions.

    Why do I need to complete a diary, and is it complicated to do?

    The diary focuses on the large variety of frequent or less important expenses that are made by all members of the household. These expenses are more easily forgotten. A diary that is filled in daily is a better way of collecting these types of expenditures.

    The diary portion of the survey should take no longer than 5 minutes a day, on average, depending on the number of expenses in the day.

    Why do you need information about income if this is a survey about spending?

    We collect income information to help us study how households at various income levels spend differently. For instance, the cost of essentials such as food, shelter, and clothing is a concern for everyone but for some low-income families, slight changes in income could affect their ability to pay rent or buy food. The income information helps identify the needs of different types of households.

    Where does Statistics Canada get my tax data?

    Statistics Canada will get your tax information from the Canada Revenue Agency. Your tax information will only be used for statistical and research purposes.

    How will Statistics Canada access my income tax information?

    We will use information you have provided us, such as your name, address, date of birth, marital status, gender and postal code, to find your tax records on various Canada Revenue Agency files.

    When will the results be available?

    Survey results are released in The Daily, Statistics Canada's official release bulletin. The results of the 2021 Survey of Household Spending will be available by the end of 2022.

    Consult Published data for survey data and analysis.

    Where can I get more information about the survey?

    For more information on the Survey of Household Spending, contact us.

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    Diary

    Survey of Household Spending 2021 - Your diary of daily expenses

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    Brochure

    PDF Version (PDF, 627.86 KB)

    The Survey of Household Spending

    Where does all our money go?

    Sometimes the answer is surprising. In 2017, Canadian households spent on average $8,527 on food, $12,707 on transportation and $18,637 on shelter. But what about clothing, taxes and all the rest?'

    The Survey of Household Spending (SHS) is a national survey that gathers information on the spending habits of Canadians. It looks at how much households pay for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, health care and other items. Your participation allows Statistics Canada to measure the changing spending patterns of all Canadians, for example, changes in spending patterns due to a pandemic. This information will help governments, economic and social policy analysts, community groups and businesses serve you better.

    You can make a difference

    Information from the SHS is used to improve social and economic programs. By taking part in this survey, you help to ensure that these programs will meet the real needs of Canadians.

    You can help us answer these questions...

    • Do we have access to affordable housing?
    • Do single parents, senior citizens, and low-income households have the necessary resources to meet their basic needs
    • Do we change our grocery shopping habits when food prices go up?
    • Do increases to the cost of energy impact our spending for other necessities such as food, clothing and transportation?
    • Do we pay more for out-of-pocket health care as we get older?
    • Do our incomes keep pace with price increases?

    ... and provide information for the Consumer Price Index:

    The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is Statistics Canada’s monthly measurement of price changes for the goods and services typically purchased by Canadians, and is an indicator of inflation.

    Changes in the CPI have an effect on:

    • Old Age Security payments, pensions, Canada Pension Plan payments, and other social assistance or income assistance payments.
    • Rental agreements, spousal and child support payments and other contractual and price-setting arrangements.
    • Income tax brackets.

    How households in Canada spent their money in 2017

    • Food 10%
    • Shelter 22%
    • Clothing and accessories 4%
    • Transportation 15%
    • Health and personal care 5%
    • Household operations,furnishings and equipment 8%
    • Income taxes 18%
    • OtherFootnote 1 19%

    Participating is easy

    To access your online questionnaire, please visit Statistics Canada’s electronic questionnaire portal. Use the secure access code provided in the letter you received.

    In the questionnaire, you will be asked questions about your household characteristics and expenses. You will also be asked to track your household expenses in a diary.

    How to prepare

    Gather your most recent regular bills or statements (water, electricity, gas, communication services, rent or mortgage).

    Collect any receipts for large purchases you made in the last 12 months, such as furniture and appliances, home renovations, and trips. Having these bills and receipts available will make it easier for you to answer some of the questions.

    Please inform other people living in your home that Statistics Canada will combine their responses from this survey with information from their tax records. Statistics Canada may also add information from other surveys or administrative data sources.

    Your privacy is important to us

    This survey is being conducted under the authority of the Statistics Act, which ensures the information you provide will be kept confidential. We do not release any information that could identify you, or any member of your household.

    Contact us

    Telephone: 1-866-977-8287
    TYY: 1-866-753-7083
    Email: STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca

    For more information

    Visit Statistics Canada and click on "Information for survey participants."

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  • For more information about this survey (questionnaires, definitions, data sources and methods used): survey number 3508
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