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Published on 04 October 2010 08:00 AM

The Continuous Household Survey Bulletin 2009/10 has been published by Central Survey Unit of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

The Continuous Household Survey (CHS) is one of the largest continuous surveys carried out in Northern Ireland. It is designed to provide a regular source of information on a wide range of social and economic issues relevant to Northern Ireland. The survey is based on a random probability sample of the general population resident in private households throughout Northern Ireland. The survey has been running since 1983 and in addition to providing up to date annual figures it now reflects changing trends in Northern Ireland over a period of more than 25 years.

The bulletin provides summary findings from the 2009/10 round of the survey based on the responses of 2,764 Northern Ireland households. It includes information on household structure and families, housing and accommodation, consumer durables, health, finance, educational attainment, environmental issues, sport and leisure and smoking. Some trend information from previous years of the survey are also highlighted.

The survey’s key findings include the following:

Household Structures and Families

  • The average size of household in Northern Ireland was 2.51 persons.
  • Almost three in five households (59%) contained one or two persons.
  • 30% of households contained a child under 16, a decrease from 1983 when the figure was 42%.
  • 72% of families with dependent children were headed by a married couple or cohabiting couple with the remaining 28% headed by a lone parent. This represents a change from 1983 when the respective figures were 89% and 11%.

Housing and Accommodation

  • 70% of households either owned their home outright or with a mortgage. There has been a gradual increase in home ownership since 1983 when the figure was 52%.
  • 13% of households rented their home from the NIHE. The proportion of households renting their homes from the NIHE has been decreasing steadily since 1983 when the figure was 39%.
  • 16% of households were privately renting their homes.
  • Two fifths of households (40%) lived in detached houses. A further 24% of households resided in semi-detached properties.

Consumer Durables

  • Nearly three fifths of all households (57%) had a Broadband Internet Connection. Approximately one in two households in the most deprived areas reported they had broadband access.
  • 77% of households owned or had access to a car. The proportion of households owning or having access to more than one car has more trebled from 11% in 1983 to 35% in 2009/10.


  • One fifth of adults (22%) said that they hardly ever or never had money over at the end of the weekly/monthly budget period.

Educational Attainment

  • 30% of adults, aged 16-69 and who had left full time education, reported that they had higher education qualifications. Since 1983, this proportion has more than doubled from 12% to 30%.
  • One quarter of adults (25%), aged 16-69, said that they had left full-time education with no formal qualifications, a considerably lower proportion than reported in 1983 when the figure was 60%.

Environmental Issues

  • 44% of households said that they had reduced the amount of energy used in the home for environmental reasons in the last 12 months.


  • The vast majority of adults (84%) reported that their health was good or fairly good in the previous 12 month period.
  • One quarter of adults (23%) said that they had a long standing illness which limited their activities.


  • One quarter of adults (24%) were smokers in 2009-10, a figure which has remained at broadly same level over the last five years. Historically, smoking prevalence among adults has declined from 33% in 1983.
  • Since 1983, male smoking prevalence has declined from 39% to 24%. Female smoking prevalence has fallen from 29% to 24% over the same period.
  • Smoking prevalence was higher in 2009/10 among adults living in the most deprived areas (41%) compared to adults living in the least deprived areas (13%).

A copy of the bulletin is available from the Central Survey Unit web site at
opens link in new window The CHS web tables, which contain extensive information on a wide range of topics from when the survey began in 1983, are also available on the Central Survey Unit website at
opens link in new window

Alternatively, copies of the bulletin and tables can be obtained from:

Central Survey Unit
McAuley House
2-14 Castle Street

Tel: 028 9034 8202
Fax: 028 9034 8276

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575