Family Resources Survey

The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is a study of the living standards and circumstances of people living in the UK today, including Northern Ireland. The study provides vital information which helps the Government develop and monitor policies that help everyone.

Details of the Survey

The FRS was launched in Great Britain in October 1992 for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). In April 2002 the survey was extended to Northern Ireland is carried out by Central Survey Unit on behalf of the Department for Communities (DfC).

The primary purpose of the FRS is to provide the DfC with data to inform the development, monitoring and evaluation of social welfare policy. The survey is used by many other government departments and is used for tax and benefit policy modelling by HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs. The FRS is also used extensively by academics and research institutes for social and economic research.

If you have received a letter asking you to take part in the Family Resources Survey you may have some further questions.

Received a letter?

Please note that you do not need any special knowledge to take part in the survey. Many of the questions are factual and the interviewer will be able to provide any explanations or further details as required. Most people who are chosen agree to take part!

The information leaflet explains all about the survey in detail. A letter is sent out to households who have been selected to take part in the survey to inform the residents that an interviewer will be calling at the address.

Our interviewers will present their official NISRA ID when they call.

If you have any questions please phone or email Karl McMinn on 02890 255086,


The annual sample for Family Resources Survey in Northern Ireland consists of a systematic random sample of 3,840 addresses selected from the POINTER address database. The Pointer database is managed by the Land & Property Services (LPS) and Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI) with input from Royal Mail. Across the UK over 40,000 addresses are selected each year to take part in the FRS.

Each month approximately 320 addresses are selected for interview across Northern Ireland. The FRS aims to interview all adults aged 16 or over in each of the households selected to take part. Although people aged 16-19 in full-time non-advanced education or on a government scheme for employment training are, for survey purposes, regarded as children and not interviewed.


Topics include:

General information about those living in the household Tenure type
Details of rented/owned accommodation and mortgage details Household Insurance Policies
Household Rates payments and property charges Rent within conventional and shared households
Income from sub-letting Healthy start vouchers, free school milk, meals, travel and childcare
Help given and received Health and ability to work
Education, awards and loans Children outside the household
Employment status and details of employment Employee pay details and Self-employed earnings
Tax credits Pension schemes
State and other benefits and pensions Income from Pensions, Trusts, Royalties and Allowances
Maintenance, Allowances, Other Income and Children’s Income Adult and child social deprivation
Television ownership Adults and Children’s savings and investments

Results / Publications

The Department for Communities (DfC) publish a number of reports based on the information collected on the Northern Ireland FRS. Links to the most recent publications can be found below:

Northern Ireland poverty bulletin

Northern Ireland households below average income

Family Resources Survey report - Northern Ireland

Family Resources Survey reports and publications for the whole of the UK are also available.

Microdata / Datasets

Access to anonymised FRS datasets is available for registered users at: UK Data Service Family Resources Survey


For more information of the Family Resources Survey please contact:

Karl McMinn 
Tel: 02890 255086 

For more information on the results from the Family Resources Survey please contact:
Professional Services Unit

Level 6 Causeway Exchange
1-7 Bedford Street

Tel: 028 9051 5424

Central Survey Unit

About the Central Survey Unit