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Estimating Personal Transfers. Planning a Household survey in the UK Stuart Brown Office for National Statistics, UK June 2009. Background in the UK. personal transfers can be sent and received via banks money transfer companies unofficial channels no bank reporting data available

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estimating personal transfers

Estimating Personal Transfers

Planning a Household survey in the UK

Stuart Brown

Office for National Statistics, UK

June 2009

background in the uk
Background in the UK
  • personal transfers can be sent and received via
    • banks
    • money transfer companies
    • unofficial channels
  • no bank reporting data available
  • many money transfer companies
  • many communities likely to remit, many corridors
  • but not all potential remitters live in communities
  • receivers of personal transfers spread throughout UK
background in the uk1
Background in the UK
  • qualitative research indicates significant use of informal channels
  • and larger total amounts sent and received than official figures show
  • current estimates not based on robust methodology
  • recognised as important components for BoP statistics and International Development policy
uk household survey
UK Household survey
  • best approach for UK
  • qualitative research
    • help develop a quantitative survey design
    • very useful for broad information on patterns and scale
  • national statistics based on statistical surveys
  • opportunity offered by a new Integrated Household Survey (IHS)
  • IHS integrates various Government household surveys into one continuous survey
    • greater harmonisation of concepts, classifications, questions and outputs
    • Core questionnaire and Modules
structure of the ihs
Structure of the IHS

Labour Force and Population


Sample Size

General Lifestyle

Living Costs & Food

Interview Length

design of ihs
Design of IHS

Sample Size

  • achieved annual household interviews (core): 207,000
  • target response rate: around 60%

Sample Frame

  • Postal Address file: 100% coverage of every address in UK

Sample Design

  • addresses stratified geographically by postcode
  • systematic, unclustered sample of addresses for Core
  • Some modules are clustered for the time being
sample size estimate for remittances
Sample size estimate for Remittances

Based on very broad estimates from Census, Migration statistics and Labour Force surveys:

  • 6.6m foreign-born people in UK
  • 55% of these are potential remitters
  • qualitative research indicates 25% potential h/holds are likely to remit
  • target achieved sampling fraction of IHS Core is around

1 in 120 h/holds

  • so aiming for an annual sample size of remitting h/holds of around 4000 h/holds
  • should be adequate for reliable aggregate estimates
sample size estimate continued
Sample size estimate continued
  • could be fewer: people grouped by h/holds
  • could be more: 2nd, 3rd generation remitters born in UK
  • harder to estimate figures for receiving h/holds
  • not in communities
  • use partner country data
  • but we need to get questions on the Core questionnaire
questions on personal transfers
Questions on Personal Transfers
  • limited number of questions on IHS for each module
  • space on questionnaire is tight, particularly on Core
  • many Government Departments are sponsoring survey
  • all very new, period of settling down
  • pilot questions on
    • recipient/sender and country
    • frequency and amounts


    • channels used
    • proposed use of the funds
estimating total personal transfers
Estimating total Personal Transfers
  • from IHS we aim to estimate
    • average annual amount sent/received per sending/receiving household, and
    • proportion of total household population sending/receiving
  • apply these to population totals (maybe different for different migrant communities)


  • the IHS weighting may include the population data so may be able to use the data direct from the IHS
timeline and costs
Timeline and Costs

6 months: qualitative research, develop questions

6 months: test, pilot questions ready for IHS

1 year: fieldwork

6 months: first annual estimates

set up costs: £75K to develop the questions, pilot them

and incorporate them into the HIS


annual running costs: £0.5m for fieldwork, processing and


funding is difficult
Funding is difficult

but there might be some alternatives:

  • feasibility of a UK Migration Survey being assessed, targetting relevant population
  • use household questions already tested in other countries (H/hold Survey Network Question Bank)
  • put into Omnibus module for a year: cheap and quicker, small achieved sample (maybe 250-300 remitting housholds a year) but at least some broad estimates could be made
longer term plans
Longer term plans
  • probably benchmark estimates on IHS every 5 years: a rotating Core is envisaged
  • update for quarters/years in between using migration figures, population estimates, propensity proportions based on HIS
  • cross-Government programme to improve migration statistics
  • investigate any data available from bank systems, money transfer companies, partner countries to validate/update survey estimates
  • important to keep up with developments in other countries