The Survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Households (ICT_H), it was co-funded by the European Union, is a panel-type research focusing on people aged 10 and over living in family homes, which collects annual information on ICT products in households (fixed and mobile telephone, computer, Internet...) and the degree and form in which people use these, especially with regards to the use of the Internet, e-government, and e-commerce.
This information is broken down by demographic variables: sex, age, size of the municipality of residence, type of home, and Autonomous Community of residence and socioeconomic variables: monthly net household income, nationality, level of education, employment, and professional situation and main occupation.
It is a sampling survey in which the first stage units are the census tracts. The second stage units are the main family dwellings. In the third stage, a person aged 16 or over is selected from each dwelling.
Likewise, information is also obtained for all children aged 10 to 15 in the dwelling and about the age group of people aged 75 and over.
For the education level, the 2014 National Classification of Education (CNED-2014) is used to the level of one digit to break down the information into:
- Illiterate and incomplete primary education studies.
- Primary Education
- First stage of Secondary Education and similar
- Second stage of Secondary Education and similar (Spanish Baccalaureate and Intermediate Vocational Training)
- Post-secondary non-tertiary education
- Higher Vocational Training and university non-official diploma and degree courses with a duration of 2 years or more
- University degrees of 240 ECTS (Bologna) credits, short-cycle degree graduates, university own qualifications of expert or specialist level and similar
- University degrees of over 240 ECTS (Bologna) credits, long-cycle degree graduates, Master's and specialities in Health Sciences through the residence system and similar
- It is not possible to codify
With regards to the employment and professional situation, the data are aggregated according to people's own classification of themselves:
- Employed by others with a fixed-term contract
- Household work
- Other situation.
The 2011 National Classification of Occupations (CNO-2011) is used to classify those employed as:
- Manual workers (CNO=6,7,8 and 9)
- Non-manual worker (CNO=0,1,2,3,4 and 5)
and also as:
- ICT Worker (CNO=1321, 2325, 27, 38 and 7533)
- Non-ICT Worker (rest)
Classifications by nationality and Autonomous Community follow the INE standards. For the purpose of tabulation by nationality, a distinction is made between people with Spanish nationality (including those who have dual nationality) and those with foreign nationality.
All correspond to the classifications used.
The survey includes the sector of main family homes, meaning that collective homes and second-residence homes are outside of its scope.
Main family households and people aged 10 and over that live in these.
The survey investigates main family households and people living in these aged 16 or over when being surveyed.
Furthermore, if there are also children aged 10 to 15 in the home, a smaller set of questions are given to them in relation to this topic.
In order to achieve greater comparability with the data published by Eurostat, the results that are presented since the first quarter of 2006 refer to homes inhabited by at least one person aged between 16 and 74 and people from this age group. However, the microdata files provide complete results of the survey's target population.
The geographical scope of the research is comprised of the entire Spanish territory.
The survey is carried out annually. Results are available from 2002.
However, the methodological recommendations of the European Statistical Office (EUROSTAT) were not embraced until 2006.
The base period is 2006, the year in which the survey was converged with European methodology.
The unit of measurement of the total column (first column) of the results tables is the number of people and the unit of measurement for the rest of the columns (disaggregation of the total according to different variables) is percentages of the total.
. 1.Survey results period: from the 2nd of March to the 15th of September.
2.Reference period: generally, the ICT variables reference period is the three months prior to the interview. Nevertheless, some online purchases include both the preceding 12 months and the preceding 3 months as reference period, Interactions with public authorities and computer-related tasks are referred to in the last 12 months as well. Finally, the information about the household equipment and the Internet of Things takes the moment of the interview as a reference time point.
Data referred to the period: Anual A: 2020
The compilation and dissemination of the data are governed by the Statistical Law No. 12/1989 "Public Statistical Function" of May 9, 1989, and Law No. 4/1990 of June 29 on “National Budget of State for the year 1990" amended by Law No. 13/1996 "Fiscal, administrative and social measures" of December 30, 1996, makes compulsory all statistics included in the National Statistics Plan. The National Statistical Plan 2009-2012 was approved by the Royal Decree 1663/2008. It contains the statistics that must be developed in the four year period by the State General Administration's services or any other entity dependent on it. All statistics included in the National Statistics Plan are statistics for state purposes and are obligatory. The National Statistics Plan 2017-2020, approved by Royal Decree 410/2016, of 31 October, is the Plan currently implemented. This statistical operation has governmental purposes, and it is included in the National Statistics Plan 2017-2020. (Statistics of the State Administration).
The ICT_H survey is included in the Community statistics on the information society, therefore it is subject to the following Community regulations:
- Regulation No 808/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 21st of April 2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society.
- Commission Regulation No 2019/1910 of the 7th of November 2019 implementing the previous Regulation.
This survey was co-funded by the European Union.
For more detail, visit:
INE collaborates with the Statistics Institute of Catalonia (IDESCAT) in the scope of this Autonomous Community.
There are also collaboration agreements with the Institute of Statistics and Cartography of Andalusia (IECA) and the Government of Aragon for the harmonisation of their respective surveys with that carried out by the INE, which provide microdata from the survey in the scope of their respective Communities. A collaboration agreement has also been signed with Comunidad de Madrid and the City Council of Madrid for the transfer of information disaggregated by their area of competence.
As well as these three Autonomous Communities, eleven other Autonomous Communities' statistics offices receive the survey microdata file under their respective scope.
There is also a collaboration agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Business through the public corporate entity RED.ES for the investigation of certain indicators on the information society included in the Spanish Digital Agenda.
Finally, the completed survey file is sent to Eurostat in order to aggregate the results at the European level for the preparation of the Community survey on the household use of ICT.
In the microdata files, the variables that may allow for direct or indirect identification of respondents are removed. Furthermore, personal data and contact data are only available during the information collection stage.
The data are released annually.
All the information relating to the ICT_H survey is published at:
Furthermore, other INE publications such as España en cifras (Spain in Figures) or the Anuario Estadistico de España (Statistical Yearbook of Spain)contain information on ICT-H. Furthermore, in May 2009 and May 2012 a monograph of Cifras INE (INE Figures) with information from the survey was published to coincide with World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (Internet Day) and in January 2014, another monograph on e-commerce and the use of new technologies was published.
INEbase is the system the INE uses to store statistical information on the Internet. It contains all the information the INE produces in electronic formats. The primary organisation of the information follows the theme-based classification of the Inventory of Statistical Operations of the State General Administration . The basic unit of INEbase is the statistical operation, defined as the set of activities that lead to obtaining statistical results on a determined sector or subject based on the individually collected data. Also included in the scope of this definition are synthesis preparation.
The database with information from the survey can be accessed through INEbase, in the Science and Technology section, or directly at:
There are anonymised microdata files available to the public from 2002, comprising the survey's complete information. These files can be downloaded at:
Users can request specific of tailored data, carried whilst preserving the confidentiality of the data in all cases, through the Information area at:
A description of the methodology is available at:
Fields 10.6 to 17 of this document are the user-oriented quality report for this operation.
On the one hand, a report on the evaluation of non-response has been published annually since 2004. See:
On the other hand, the sampling errors of the survey's main estimates have been published in the detailed results tables since 2008. See:
IFurthermore, to comply with the Community regulation, INE annually prepares a quality report on the ICT-H for Eurostat, which is approved by this body.
Quality assurance framework for the INE statistics is based on the ESSCoP, the European Statistics Code of Practice made by EUROSTAT. The ESSCoP is made up of 16 principles, gathered in three areas: Institutional Environment, Processes and Products. Each principle is associated with some indicators which make possible to measure it. In order to evaluate quality, EUROSTAT provides different tools: the indicators mentioned above, Self-assessment based on the DESAP model, peer review, user satisfaction surveys and other proceedings for evaluation.
Quality is guaranteed at all stages of the survey with control and error detection mechanisms.
Thus, the ICT_H survey collection applications are designed to ensure maximum quality in the collected information, as the recording of information is intelligent and allows for the detection and correction of range, flow, and inconsistency errors. Furthermore, from the beginning of the collection, detected errors/inconsistencies are analyzed and, they are immediately communicated to all collection centers which may lead to the repetition of some interviews.
There is a continuous platform throughout the collection period for the resolution of all existing methodological doubts. On this platform, any interviewer, interviewer inspector, or survey inspector can raise a doubt or issue arising from the collection process and is immediately responded to by the corresponding service for its resolution.
Furthermore, the response levels are monitored daily at the provincial level to detect any problem with the collection, as well as the main indicators of the survey at the sample level, which are compared with those of the preceding years with the aim of detecting gaps or irregularities in the collection of information, which are immediately communicated to those responsible for collection.
Once the collection is finished, a codification control is carried out, then the erroneous codes are modified and the partial non-response is analyzed, which, in theory, according to the specifications of the collection programs, should be zero, with the exception of household incomes (which are not imputed in order to provide the users with the most primary information possible).
The total non-response in the survey is addressed through the application of calibration techniques.
Once the elevation factors are obtained, the elevated results are compared with those from the previous year in order to detect possible inconsistencies at the macro level.
This survey's collection application is fundamental in ensuring its quality. For this reason, every year it is tested to ensure that it does not contain computer errors that would lead to a loss of information or biased information.
Furthermore, as this survey is carried out within the regulatory framework of the European survey, the microdata are submitted to Eurostat's error and inconsistency detection programme, which is designed differently to that applied in INE's collection programmes. This Eurostat programme guarantees that the survey's results do not have any range, flow or inconsistency errors. In other words, the results are submitted to a double control, INE's collection application and the Eurostat programme.
In addition to the internal checks detailed in the results tables, Eurostat provides annually the Y2Y inform in which are analysed the inter-annual variations of the submitted files. This guarantees the justification and explanation of the variations in two ways, making the results both coherent and comparable.
Results are traditionally released in the four months following the end of the collection. However, due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID19 pandemic and the declaration of a state of alarm the data collection period was extended until 15th September. For this reason, in 2020 the results were released in the two months following the end of the collection, which gives an idea of the survey's opportunity as the results from one year are published in that same year.
To avoid an increase in the non-response rate due to respondents' fatigue, the questionnaire is managed so that it follows a logical flow of questions and, in this way, questions that are not needed for the purposes of the survey are omitted.
The non-response rate may also be higher depending on the organisation responsible for collection. From 2011, collection has been outsourced and the non-response rate increased compared to previous years. For this reason, in the draft of the public contraction documents there was made a lot of effort to reduce the non-response rate
The survey's main user is the European Commission and Eurostat in particular, to whom all legally required obligatory information is provided. With this information, along with that of other Community countries, the European Digital Agenda's monitoring indicator is prepared, which shows the entrenchment of the information society in Europe.
Another important user is the National Observatory of Telecommunications and the Information Society of the Ministry of Economy and Business. Every year, they are provided a first draft of the questionnaire so they can propose the inclusion of some indicators for the Spanish Digital Agenda which are not included at the European level. However, these requests for additional questions can only be partly addressed as the Eurostat survey is already very extensive, especially in the case of phone interviews
The 14 Autonomous Communities' statistics and the one from the Madrid City Council offices are also users of the survey results and they are provided the microdata file of their area of competence for their own purposes.
Additionally, certain variables are included in order to meet the information requests of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the indicators for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Finally, our users include telecommunication businesses and Internet service providers, researchers, university professors, and individuals.
The INE has carried out general user satisfaction surveys in 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 and it plans to continue doing so every three years. The purpose of these surveys is to find out what users think about the quality of the information of the INE statistics and the extent to which their needs of information are covered. In addition, additional surveys are carried out in order to acknowledge better other fields such as dissemination of the information, quality of some publications...
On the INE website, in its section Methods and Projects / Quality and Code of Practice / INE quality management / User surveys are available surveys conducted to date.(Click next link)
All the obligatory information required annually by Eurostat is collected in the survey, which issues a report endorsing the data provided and their quality.
The needs of the other main users are met according to their appropriateness and the length of the questionnaire, as the information required by Eurostat is already very extensive and partly collected by phone.
Completed information on the obligatory variables is provided, which is indicated annually by the Commission regulation.
The rate of available obligatory statistical results is 100%.R1=100%
The sample design attempts to minimize sampling errors and the different survey processes are aimed at eliminating or reducing survey errors as much as possible, both in the collection stage (response rate and filtering control) as well as in the later stages of editing and imputation.
Because of the specific features of the survey, the youth sample is under-represented whilst groups such as older people, retired and early retired and, to a lesser degree, people dedicated to household work, etc. are over-represented. The application of calibration techniques has solved these problems.
Furthermore, people with Spanish nationality responded to a considerably greater extent than foreigners. Consequently, the calibration by nationality was included along with the traditional calibration by age and sex.
On the other hand, the survey uses terms that are difficult to understand for people who do not use these technologies. For this reason, the option “I don't know/No response” is included for the questions on the household equipment variables
From the information on sampling, response rate, and analysis of non-response errors that are published on the INE web page, the users can assess the problems associated with this survey.
Since 2008, the sampling errors of the survey's main estimates have been published at the end of the detailed results tables. These can be accessed at:
In previous years, sampling errors were published in the survey's methodological note. See:
The standard errors (estimates of estimators' standard deviations) expressed in percentage for the national total in the 2020 survey for the most significant characteristics are:
Homes with at least one person aged 16 to 74 :
A1(Homes that have a computer): 0.52
A1(Homes that have Internet access): 0.38
A1(Homes with a broadband connection): 0.39
Persons aged 16 to 74:
A1(Persons who have used the internet in the last three months): 0.23
A1(Persons who have used the Internet at least once a week in the last 3 months): 0.28
A1(Persons who have used the internet daily): 0.39
A1(Persons who have made a purchase over the internet in the last 3 months): 0.57
For the special section of minors aged 10 to 15:
Additional information about persons aged 75 or more:
A1(Persons who have used the internet in the last three months): 1.20
A1(Persons who have used the Internet at least once a week in the last 3 months): 1.08
A1(Persons who have used the internet daily): 0.94
A1(Persons who have made a purchase over the internet in the last 3 months): 0.67
Sampling errors can be found in the survey's methodology. These can be accessed at:
The initial theoretical sample consisted of 25,837 households, of which 21,890 (84.7%) were surveyable.
Of the 21,890 households considered to be surveyable at the start, 15,343 households completed the questionnaire in full (Households surveyed or Net Sample). Thus, the non-response rate stands at 29.9%. A4=29.9%
The main and almost only partial non-response occurs with the variable on household monthly income, with a percentage of 18.4% of the effective sample. A5=18.4%
In 2020, the time interval between the end of the reference period and the publication date of the definitive results was 62 days. TP2=62 days.
The survey is released according to the INE structural statistics availability calendar.
Although the procedures are the same throughout the national territory, which means that the results from each Autonomous Community are completely comparable, due to the sample size in the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla, the sampling errors in these cities were much higher than in the rest of the Spanish territory, meaning that the results obtained for these Cities should be treated with caution.
Moreover, as this survey follows Community regulations in this field, the results are comparable with those of other EU countries.
The number of comparable years in the time series published in 2020 is 15 (since 2006, the year in which the survey's methodology was converged with European methodology). CC2=15
The coherence of the information obtained is analysed against other public or private sources, with no problem with coherence detected that was not justifiable by the different methodology used. Thus, the following sources are consulted:
- the Red.es Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT) Household Panel for monitoring Internet penetration in households and the technology for accessing this, as well as the use of the Internet by individuals.
- CMT reports with information on businesses providing ICT services.
The obtained results are completely internally coherent as the software application for the collection of information controls possible inconsistencies in each questionnaire from the start. Moreover, once the information is aggregated in tables, the results are analysed in order to eliminate any inconsistencies that were not detected in the collection stage.
The estimated budgetary appropriation required to finance this statistical operation, as provided for in the 2020 Annual Programme, is 1,481.18 thousand euros.
The Community Framework Regulation that regulates this survey imposes a limit on the response burden on respondents in the European questionnaire and this regulation is also followed in the Spanish survey.
The INE of Spain has a policy which regulates the basic aspects of statistical data revision, seeking to ensure process transparency and product quality. This policy is laid out in the document approved by the INE board of directors on 13 March of 2015, which is available on the INE website, in the section "Methods and projects/Quality and Code of Practice/INE’s Quality management/INE’s Revision policy" (link).
This general policy sets the criteria that the different type of revisions should follow: routine revision- it is the case of statistics whose production process includes regular revisions-; more extensive revision- when methodological or basic reference source changes take place-; and exceptional revision- for instance, when an error appears in a published statistic-.
The results are definitive when they are published and they are not subject to revision.
In case that an error is detected and data subsequently modified, it will be addressed an explanatory note with this information in order to inform the users.
The results published each year are definitive.
The data are obtained from a sample survey. Three-stage sampling was used with stratification by first stage units. The first stage units are the census tracts. The second stage units are the main family homes and in the third stage, a person over 15 years old is selected from each home. Furthermore, in each home, all minors between 10 and 15 are investigated.
A framework of areas made up of the list of existing census tracts with reference to November 2015 and including changes that are made over time was used when selecting the sample.
The list of main family homes in each one of the survey's selected sections obtained from the most recent available Continuous Register of inhabitants was used to select second-stage units.
Within each Autonomous Community, the sections were grouped into strata according to the size of the municipality to which they belong.
For each Autonomous Community, an independent sample was designed that represented it, as one of the survey's objectives was to provide data to that level of disaggregation.
To meet this survey’s objectives of providing estimates with a certain degree of reliability, a sample size of 2,500 census tracts has been established at the national and Autonomous Community level, with 13 initial households selected in each census tract. The distribution of the sample by the Autonomous Community is established through a compromise between uniform allocation and allocation that is proportional to the size of the Community. In this way, an attempt is made to guarantee a sufficient sample size that can provide reliable estimates for each Autonomous Community.
This research is a continuous survey that is carried out annually. In order, on the one hand, to incorporate the changes that occur in census tracts and, on the other, to avoid tiring the collaborating families and to give the opportunity for new families to be selected, the tract and household sample is partially renewed, establishing a rotation shift system. Rotation shifts are groups of sample tracts that are used to gradually incorporate changes into the sample. The number of sample tracts by stratum in each Autonomous Community is distributed between rotation shifts so that these are representative. This survey is a rotating panel with four rotation shifts.
To estimate the survey characteristics, the following types of estimators are considered:
Estimator for household data
Estimator for data on persons aged 16 and over.
Estimator for data on persons aged 10-15.
Ratio estimators are used in all cases, calibrated according to the information from external sources.
For more detail on the sample design, see the methodological report, which can be accessed at:
The ICT_H survey is an annual survey.
In 2017, for the first time, data were collected using three procedures:
- Computer Assisted Web Interview (CAWI): The interviewee completes the questionnaire through the internet at any time during the collection period.
- Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI): The interviewer does not use paper questionnaires, but rather has a portable computer in which the questionnaire is available and the interviews are completed using this portable computer.
Using this method, households from the sections with a new sample and households that were already included in the sample of the previous year that do not have a contact telephone are interviewed if they have not completed the questionnaire through the Internet.
- Telephone interview in a CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) centre: the households included in the previous year's sample that have not responded through CAWI are interviewed by telephone from a CATI centre, wherever a telephone number is available. The interviewer does not use paper questionnaires, but rather directly records the respondent's responses in an electronic questionnaire.
As a measure taken because of the COVID19 pandemic, in the 2020 survey personal interviews (CAPI) have been replaced by phone interviews (CATI)
For more information, see the following link to this survey's methodology:
A filtering system is used to filter entered data that detects errors and inconsistencies. Then a second filtering process is applied in each collection centre and, finally, a centralised filtering is carried out with a special focus on the homogenisation of the codification of variables that need it and the comparison of results with those obtained in previous years.
The filtered CAWI, CAPI and CATI files are integrated in a single file and then the codification of the variables that need reviewing are reviewed. To obtain the results, ratio estimators are used, calibrated according to information from external sources.
For the results of households, the final estimator is obtained by applying reweighting techniques using CALMAR software. The estimate of the total main household classified according to their size (5 sizes) for each Autonomous Community, with reference to 15 June 2020, was used as an auxiliary variable. Until 2012, the distribution of households used came from the Labour Force Survey. Since 2013, this information is an exogenous source and comes from the updated estimate of the total households that the last population and household censuses and the Population Figures use as their information base.
For the results of people aged 16 and over, reweighting techniques are applied to the age, sex, and nationality groups at the level of the Autonomous Community (using CALMAR). The population used is an estimate of the population residing in main family homes on 1 June 2020 deduced from the Population Figures.
The estimator used to obtain information about these people is similar to that described in the section about households, with the exception that the auxiliary variables used for calibration are estimates of the population residing in main family households aged 10-15 by sex in each Autonomous Community, deduced from the Population Figures.
No seasonal adjustment is applied. Calibration techniques are applied in an attempt to correct non-response and its possible biases.