Census & Surveys

Role: The Census and Surveys Division is responsible for:

  • Conducting household surveys.
  • Producing Labour Force statistics.
  • Producing the Retail Price Index.
  • Conducting field operations related to population censuses with assistance from other Divisions.


The Division is responsible for the conduct of all household surveys. 

Organization Structure: 
The Division is headed by a Senior Statistician, who is assisted by a Statistician. It consists of:

  1. Field Staff, now located at our Hincks Street Office, consisting of three (3) Senior Field Investigators and fourteen (14) Field Investigators;
  2. A Processing Staff, located at our HQ, consisting of two (2) Statistical Assistants and four (4) Clerical Officers as well as one (1) Field Investigator.

  Publications Produced: 

  • Quarterly Labour Force Bulletin is produced with Statistics on the Labour Force (Employed and Unemployed) and the Adult Population.
  • Monthly Index of Retail Prices Bulletin.

The Household Budget Survey:

The Household Budget Survey (HBS) is being conducted during the course of this year (February 2009 - January 2010). Field investigators from the Statistical Service will commence interviews of a sample of households in selected Enumeration Districts from March 2009.


What is a Household Budget:
The Household Budget Survey (HBS) is a comprehensive survey of a representative sample of private households in Barbados, gathering data on income and consumption expenditure. In the past, it has been undertaken at 10 year intervals - since 1988. It is an expensive exercise, requiring great resources. This factor has limited it from being conducted more frequently. The strength of the survey is that it allows data users to relate the expenditures and income of consumers to the characteristics of those same consumers.

The main objectives of the survey are as follows.

  1. To obtain the basic information required for a revision of the Retail Price Index (RPI) with respect to:
    • Determining the list of items to be included in a new basket of consumer goods and services.
    • Revising the ‘weights’ (relative proportion to the total budget) of all the items in the basket. These weights are required for the computation of the index.
    • Reviewing the outlets to be canvassed for the collection of price quotations on the items to be included in the Index.
  2. To provide an independent source of information to estimate and improve the figures on private final consumption expenditure, as required for a more comprehensive estimation of Gross Domestic Product and other National Accounting aggregates.
  3. To gather information to facilitate the estimation of income distribution in the island.

The Continuous Labour Force Sample Survey:
The Continuous Labour Force Sample Survey (CLFSS) as undertaken by the Statistical Service Department (by law, under the provisions of the Statistics Act CAP 192) collects on a continuous, quarterly basis current socio-economic data from persons in randomly selected households across Barbados. It obtains data on the adult population, 15 years and over, who may be in the Labour Force (employed and unemployed) or classified as Inactive (i.e. not in the Labour Force). It covers the civilian non-institutional population of the island.

Reasons for conducting the Survey:

  • To determine the National Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment levels and rates in the country.
  • To look at the distribution of skills / professions in the different sectors of the economy and inequalities in the distribution of wealth, income and living conditions of households throughout the country.
  • To supply statistical information to users for social and economic planning and for the determination of related needs and targets.

The most common users are: government ministries and departments, political parties unions, economic planners, researchers, international donor countries or bodies (e.g. UN, IDB, CDB, UK, USA), interested individuals, etc.

The Retail Price Index

The Retail Price Index is a measure of changes in the general level of retail prices (inclusive of VAT) of a fixed ‘basket’ of goods and services, or a mix of consumer goods and services, purchased by the average household.

No two households are exactly alike in their spending habits. Each purchases a different combination of goods and services for consumption. For example, it would be unusual for one household to use electricity, natural gas, as well as bottled gas (LPG), for cooking. However, these three types of fuel are all priced and included in the Index, since they are important in the expenditure of households in Barbados. Indeed, each household may experience a different rate of inflation.

Generally speaking, therefore, the ‘basket’ includes those goods and services, which are used by the majority of households and those, which are important in terms of the size of the expenditure made on them by households in the island.

The items in the ‘basket’, in addition to being representative of the spending habits of households, must also have their prices associated with specific quantities. Without the quantity/price relation, it would be extremely difficult to measure pure price changes.