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The Living Conditions Survey is an annual statistical operation addressed to households that is carried out in all European Union countries.
It is a harmonised statistic which is supported by Regulation (EC) No. 1177/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2003 on Community statistics on income and living conditions.
The LCS was first conducted in 2004. The main objective of the survey is to provide information on the income, level and composition of poverty and social exclusion in Spain and to allow comparisons with other European Union countries.
Among its uses, it stands out for constituting a fundamental reference element for the follow-up of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion.
It also provides longitudinal information as it is a panel survey in which interviewees collaborate four years in a row. In this way, it is possible to know the evolution of the variables researched over time.
Specifically, the LCS is designed to obtain information on:
Includes the income of all private households resident in Spain.
The statistical units considered are the households and the persons who are members of these households.
The population under study are persons resident in Spain, members of private households residing in main family dwellings, as well as these households.
Although all persons are part of the target population not all persons are thoroughly investigated, only those who are 16 years of age or older as at 31 December of the year prior to that of the interview.
Persons living in collective households are not included.
The entire Spanish territory.
Results are published for both the national total and at Autonomous Community level.
The statistics are carried out on an annual basis. There are results available since 2004.
The LCS had its predecessor in the European Union Household Panel (EUHP), during the period 1994-2001, with similar characteristics and objectives.
The first year in which the survey was carried out was 2004.
The majority of the tables have as the unit of measurement the percentage of households or persons.
The amounts are expressed in euros.
The following reference periods are distinguished:
a) The current time, a term that is used primarily in questions related to the activity.
b) The calendar year prior to the conduct of the survey, a period to which some questions of the household questionnaire and the individual questionnaire are referred, related to the income received in the last year. This is the so-called income reference period.
c) The biographical period of the person, since the survey collects biographical information, so the time period will be different for each person.
d) In some isolated questions, information is collected referring to other moments of time, such as, for example, the period of the last twelve months, the last four weeks, the week prior to the week of the interview, etc.
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 2021-2024, approved by Royal Decree 1110/2020, of 15 December, is the Plan currently implemented. This statistical operation has governmental purposes, and it is included in the National Statistics Plan 2021-2024. (Statistics of the State Administration).
In view of the use of the LCS to provide information to the European Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), it is subject to the Community regulations governing the EU-SILC.
The framework regulation is Regulation (EC) No. 1177/2003 of the Parliament and of the Council.
There are also some Commission regulations relating to: ·
Data are disseminated on an annual basis.
All relevant documents related to the LCS (methodology, indicators, etc.) are published at https://www.ine.es/dyngs/INEbase/en/operacion.htm?c=Estadistica_C&cid=1254736176807&menu=ultiDatos&idp=1254735976608
Detailed results are available on this LCS website. There are two bases:
- Base 2004. Household income data are obtained through personal interview.
- Base 2013. A new methodology is adopted in the production of household income data using administrative files.
The following chapters are included in both bases:
There is also a chapter dedicated to the Ad hoc module that changes every year.
Likewise, on the occasion of the adoption in the 2013 survey of a new methodology for the production of data relating to household income, retrospective estimations have been carried out since 2008, comparable with the 2013 data.
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.
Access to the on-line database of the LCS in INEbase is made through the link
The survey provides, free of charge, duly anonymised microdata files that are available on the INE website, via the following link:
(Transversal files and Longitudinal files)
Customised requests are made of exploitations not included in the detailed results that are published.
These customised requests take into account both the confidentiality of the data and their robustness, so that requests that might infringe any of the above points are not dealt with.
The request is made through the User Service Area at the following link: https://www.ine.es/prodyser/informacion
The available methodological documentation is the following:·
The LCS, being the source of the EU-SILC of Spain, produces quality reports for Eurostat.
Article 16 of the Regulation of the Parliament and of the Council on the survey establishes that at the end of year n+1 an EU-SILC quality interim report on cross-sectional data must be provided and at the end of year n+2 a final report on longitudinal and cross-sectional data.
These are available on the Eurostat website:
Fields 10.6 to 17 of this document are the user-oriented quality report for this operation.
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.
The LCS, as source of the EU-SILC of Spain, is based on a framework regulation (1177/2003) which determines the scope, definitions, reference period, data characteristics, sample sizes, sampling, data transmission, and publication of the survey. In addition, Eurostat and the Member States have developed the technical aspects of Regulation (EC) No. 28/2004, in which the EU-SILC quality intermediate and final reports are described in detail.
Eurostat and the member states have developed several methodological studies in different areas. The following is a non-exhaustive list of topics analysed: household definition, negative income, imputation techniques, treatment of single payments, imputed income, data collection, administrative data versus survey data...
Eurostat carries out a review of the survey data before the results are published. Subsequently a comparative quality report is generated showing the strengths and weaknesses of the survey.
One of the weak points of the LCS is the relatively high percentage of proxy interviews (interview with a member of the household responding on behalf of another person). However, this percentage has been decreasing since 2010.
As a strong point of the LCS is the adequate adjustment of the definitions of income variables.
For more information on these aspects, please refer to the comparative quality report prepared by Eurostat:
The main users of the LCS are:
And the main uses of the survey are as follows:·
There is a demand for the production of indicators with a more detailed geographical breakdown. We are studying how to improve the accuracy of the indicators at the Autonomous Community level.
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)
In the user satisfaction surveys carried out to date, the sector "Socio-economic surveys of households. Household Budget Survey, Living Conditions Survey (EPF, ECV) " in which the statistical operation is framed is assessed, which can guide the users' opinion about it.
The LCS covers all the variables required in the survey Regulation.
The rate of available mandatory statistical results is R1=100%.
One of the major difficulties of the survey is the collection of household income. Since the beginning of the survey in 2004, income has been collected by personal interview and individuals generally tend to under-report it.
As of the 2013 survey, a new methodology has been adopted that combines information collected through personal interview with information from administrative files, improving the accuracy of said variable.
In previous studies, a comparative analysis was made in working document 01/2011 “Linking data from administrative records and the Living Conditions Survey” (www.ine.es).
The latest available data of the standard error of the at-risk-of-poverty rate for the national total (2019 survey) is A1=2.9%.
For more information on sampling errors, see the quality reports for Eurostat (section 2.2 of both the Intermediate Quality Report and the Final Quality Report or section 5.2.1 of the ESQRS):
The non-response rates per unit in the new sample relating to the 2019 survey are shown in the following table:
Ra-Proportion of contact with the dwelling
Rh-Proportion of households interviewed accepted for the database
NRh-Household non-response rate (%)
Rp-Proportion of persons interviewed in households accepted for the database
NRp-Individual non-response rate (%)
NRp2-Total individual non-response rate (%)
For more information on non-sampling errors, you can consult the quality reports for Eurostat (section 2.3 of both the Intermediate Quality Report and the Final Quality Report or section 5.3.3 of the ESQRS):
To evaluate the distribution of non-response according to different characteristics of the household and its members, as well as to expand the above information you can access the document on the evaluation of non-response in the link:
The LCS has different reference periods (household income refers to the year prior to that of the survey, another type of information refers to the time of the interview). Taking the time of the interview as the reference period, the final data have been published some TP2=7 months after the data collection.
Each publication has been disseminated on the date announced in the publications calendar.
The processing of this statistic in all its phases is the same for the whole territory. In this way, the results are fully comparable for any geographical breakdown.
In the construction of the variables relating to household income, the tax administrative files in Ãlava have not been used. In order to ensure geographical comparability, corrective factors have been applied in this province.
Likewise, they are comparable with the rest of the European Union countries as they follow the Eurostat recommendations established for all the countries
The LCS was first carried out in 2004.
From 2004 until the 2012 survey there have been no significant methodological changes. As of the 2013 survey there is a significant methodological change consisting of the use of administrative files. For this reason, retrospective estimates have been prepared since 2008, comparable with the 2013 data.
Therefore, the number of comparable elements of the time series is CC2=13 years.
The comparison with external sources presents problems due to the lack of correspondence in the definitions used. These problems are due to the definition of the income component itself, which affects both the comparison of the number of people receiving an income component and the comparison of the average amount.
The comparisons carried out to date have been made with data from the 2019 survey.
As regards income from salaried employment, the amount given by the LCS is 421,719 million euros (2019 survey, with income referring to 2018). The wages and salaries item in the National Accounts takes the value 425,835 (year 2018). The difference between the two can be partly explained by having definitions of net and gross amounts that do not always coincide. Wages in kind other than company cars are also not included in the survey amount. There is also a under-reporting of income in the survey in some cases.
Self-employment income, property income and capital income of the LCS are poorly collected in the interviews and cannot be compared. Property income of the LCS is considered as mixed income in the National Accounts.
Social benefits show a higher degree of adjustment.
The Tax Agency annually produces the publication Labour Market and Pensions in Tax Sources.
There are no important differences between the two sources.
For more information consult the quality report for Eurostat:
Section 4 (Coherence) of the Intermediate Quality Report and Final Quality Report or section 9.1 of the ESQRS.
The estimations of the main LCS indicators have complete internal coherence, since they are based on the same set of microdata and are calculated using the same estimation methods.
The estimated budget appropriation necessary to finance this statistic foreseen in the 2021 Annual Programme is 1,501.80 thousand euros.
In relation to the burden of respondents, the estimated time to respond to the survey is about 30 minutes. This time does not include the extra time devoted to contacting the respondent and explaining the content of the 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 LCS is an annual survey. From the 2010 survey until the 2013 survey, provisional data have been published around October of year n and final data around October of year n+1, so that some indicators were given in two versions (one provisional and one final). As of the 2013 survey, provisional data are no longer published, and the publication of the final data has been brought forward by a few months.
Inclusion of new population data
As of the publication of 22 November 2013, LCS data are calculated using the 2011 Census population.
The Population and Housing Census is an operation carried out by the INE every ten years. The last Census refers to the year 2011 and offers, among other data, updated information on population figures, as well as its age structure and household composition.
This information is fundamental in household surveys to elevate the data obtained to the population as a whole.
The change of populations introduced in the LCS in the publication of 22 November 2013 causes a cut in the series of data published to that date. For this reason, the results of the different years (from 2004 to 2012) have been recalculated taking into account the new population estimates derived from the Population Census.
As of the 2013 survey, provisional data will no longer be published, so there is currently no revision policy.
When provisional data were published, the average size of the revisions (difference between the two estimates) for the reference indicator “at-risk-of-poverty rate” is shown in the following table (2011 data is provided as it is the last comparable data with respect to the population data used):
|Survey||Provisional data||Final data||Absolute difference|
As of the 2013 survey, provisional data will no longer be published, and the publication of final data will be brought forward a few months.
The Living Conditions Survey (LCS) is an annual survey with a rotating panel design in which the sample is made up of four independent sub-samples, each of which is a four-year panel. Each year the sample is renewed in one of the panels.
For each sub-sample a two-stage sample design is followed with stratification of the first stage units. The first stage is formed by the census tracts and the second stage by the main family dwellings. Within them, no sub-sampling is carried out, investigating all households that have their usual residence in said dwellings.
In each Autonomous Community, the first stage units are grouped into strata according to the size of the municipality to which the tract belongs.
The framework used for the selection of the sample is a framework of areas formed by the relation of census tracts used in the Municipal Register of inhabitants (in order to select the new sample, the Municipal Register is used with an approximate reference date of February of the year prior to that of the survey). For the second stage units, the list of main family dwellings has been used in each of the tracts selected for the sample.
In order to cover the objectives of the survey of providing estimates with an acceptable degree of reliability at the national and Autonomous Community levels, a sample of 16,000 dwellings distributed in 2,000 census tracts has been selected.
Starting with the 2016 survey, a sample extension has been carried out in CataluÃ±a in collaboration with Idescat, incorporating 224 additional census tracts.
The tracts are selected within each stratum with probability proportional to their size. The dwellings, in each tract, with equal probability by means of systematic sampling with random start. This procedure leads to self-weighted samples in each stratum.
For more details consult the LCS methodology (Section 8 Sample design):https://www.ine.es/en/daco/daco42/condivi/ecv_metodo_en.pdf
As of the 2014 survey, a change is introduced in the selection of the dwellings of the new sample, which consists of the elimination of substitutions. Instead of having tracts with 8 principal dwellings and 8 reserve dwellings, from 2014 onwards there will be tracts with 12 principal dwellings.
The data collection has an annual character and is normally carried out during the months of March to June of each year.
Exceptionally, the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 surveys have been collected between September and November of the survey year.
Since 2005, the collection method is mainly the personal interview of the members of each of the households under study, the interviewers visit the households and request the information with the aid of portable computers (CAPI), sometimes completing the interviews with telephone calls in order to obtain omitted data or correct erroneous data. In 2004, the PAPI method was used (personal interview using paper questionnaires).
From the 2013 survey onwards, the data relating to household income have been constructed using a mixed methodology combining the information provided by the respondent with the administrative registers of the Spanish Tax Agency, the Social Security, the Navarre Tax Office, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa.
There are four basic questionnaires:·
The questionnaire was designed in such a way as to collect sufficient information to have the target variables included in the Commission Regulation. No additional questions have been included to cover other areas at the national level.
In the design of the questionnaire, the experience of the European Union Household Panel and, above all, of the Pilot Survey of Living Conditions (year 2002) was used.
As of the 2017 survey, data collection is carried out through outsourcing and is exhaustively supervised by the INE.
1. During data collection, an initial cleaning is carried out, controlling some inconsistencies and out-of-range values. On the other hand, some variables are available from the information provided in the previous cycle.
2. Subsequently, an exhaustive control is carried out in the INE Central Services in which various aspects are cleaned in phases.
Imputations are fundamentally made for income variables in cases in which sufficient field information is not available or information is not available in the administrative files. These are carried out after data cleaning.
As the LCS is a panel survey, prior information is already available as of the second cycle. For the imputation of income, this information will be very useful, since it is first checked if there is previous information. If this is the case and it has not been imputed but collected from the field, the current value is the result of multiplying said value by an inflator factor, in order to update it to the year of the survey.
If there was information but it was imputed, or the information did not exist, then we proceed to apply a multivariate sequential regression method based on models implemented by the IVE software.
The procedure is based on creating imputations by means of a sequence of regressions. It is intended to collect the correlation of all variables, both complete and those that have lost values. The program allows different types of regressions (linear, logistics, generalized logistics and Poisson). However, in the case of LCS only linear regression is used to impute income, after applying to it a logarithmic transformation. The explanatory variables can be discrete, continuous or binary.
No adjustments are made.