UAE: How much does the average family spend? New survey to reveal expenditure, income distribution

It aims to gather data from around 11,000 households across 260 areas, averaging 850 households per month


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 25 Dec 2023, 5:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Dec 2023, 8:58 AM

A new survey that will help assess the expenditure levels of families within the emirate of Abu Dhabi will be launched in 2024.

It also aims to shed light on the distribution of individuals and families across various income and expenditure categories.

Hanan Ali Al Marzouqi, Director of the Field Surveys Department at the Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre, also highlighted that this ‘Household Income and Expenditure Survey’ is part of a broader nationwide survey that aims to periodically gather data on households, focusing on demographic and family traits.

Marzouqi said, “We want to see the cost of living for different income categories in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra. We want to understand the household size of Emiratis and non-Emiratis and what they spend on. This includes different income groups from low, moderate, upper moderate, and high-income segments.”

Poverty indicators

She also emphasises that another outcome will involve indicators related to poverty, which is a new metric this year.

“One of the results will be poverty indicators. This is a new indicator. How might we address the challenges of poverty in Abu Dhabi?”

“Additional indicators encompass economic factors and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Abu Dhabi, aimed at assessing the primary commodities utilized and determining their adequacy for future needs.”

The Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi in cooperation with the Ministry of Community Development, and the federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC) conducts this survey every five years.

The target sample of this pan UAE survey is 19,000 families. In Abu Dhabi alone, the survey aims to gather data from around 11,000 households across 260 areas, averaging 850 households per month.

This will be within a sample that includes 70 per cent Emirati households and 30 per cent non-Emirati households, with 252 field researchers participating in this study.

Every surveyed family will receive two documents -- one form concerning family characteristics and income levels, and the other focusing on family expenditure to help comprehend consumption patterns.

Improving quality of life

Marzouqi pointed out that the database would serve as indicative information for the country's legislative body and hold significance for executive government agencies aiming to enhance the quality of life.

Examples of indicators measured by the survey include average spending on goods and services, special data on the income of families and individuals in the capital, providing necessary data to build the CPI baskets and their estimated weight classes.

Other yardsticks include providing data on the food budget related to the individual’s calorie consumption and calculating various poverty indicators, including poverty lines, ratios and gaps.

She added, “Within these classifications, various items are identified. These include essential expenditures such as rice, flour, meat, and chicken. Analysing the spending patterns across diverse households will aid the government in understanding the specific expenditure associated with each of these items.”

This survey will extend to labour camps to examine how workers allocate their income.

“It aims to ascertain whether funds are remitted to their home countries and if the current income suffices for their needs. These findings are crucial for evaluating and improving overall quality of life,” noted Marzouqi.

The Household Income and Expenditure Survey is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive surveys.

By calculating the average individual and household spending income, the survey helps identify influencing factors such as education, profession, economic activity, and demographic, social, and economic variables.

Abdulla Gharib Alqemzi, Acting Director General of the Statistics Centre said, “The collected data also serves to support pertinent projects, establish relationships, and estimate national accounts related to income and consumption.”


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