From January next year, the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) will conduct a Household Budget Survey (HBS) to gather data on the income and consumption expenditure of private households.  

According to an official of the BSS, the survey, which is conducted at 10 year intervals, is intended to obtain the basic information required for a revision of the Retail Price Index.  This information is used in determining the list of items to be included in a new basket of consumer goods and services; revising the relative value of all the items in the basket; and reviewing the outlets to be canvassed for the collection of price quotations on the items to be included in the Index.  

“The Retail Price Index is a key economic indicator used for measuring the inflation rate or changes in the purchasing power of money, and is closely monitored by economic planners, policy makers, the business community and labour unions,” the spokesperson explained.

Another objective of the HBS is to provide an independent source of information to estimate and improve the figures on private final consumption expenditure, which is required for a more comprehensive estimation of Gross Domestic Product.

“The survey will be conducted by personal interview of the selected households. The maintenance of a detailed diary of household expenditure over a two-week period by the surveyed households is the main distinguishing feature of the HBS.

“It will be conducted over a period of twelve months to allow for the capture of any season patterns of expenditure by households,” the official stressed. 

The BSS representative also noted that a different sample of households would be surveyed each quarter, to reduce the response burden on individual households. However, the four samples will be selected from within the same geographical area (enumeration districts) which will be chosen randomly throughout the island.

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