The PHF – an encompassing survey on household finances and wealth in Germany

The Panel on Household Finances (PHF) is a panel survey on household finances and wealth in Germany conducted by the Deutsche Bundesbank. It covers the balance sheets, pension claims, savings, incomes and work histories of households, together with some information on consumption patterns, attitudes, expectations and standard demographic characteristics.

A representative sample comprising 3,565 households provide data for the first survey wave between September 2010 and July 2011. Wealthy households were oversampled on the basis of micro-geographic indicators in order to shed light on the distribution and the composition of wealth across households.

The PHF data data provide a comprehensive view of households’ assets and debts and their determinants, thus allowing a better understanding of issues such as saving and consumption behaviour, the distribution of wealth or insolvency risks. The anonymised micro data are available for scientific use. Because the PHF is part of the HFCS, a harmonised survey coordinated by the ECB being carried out in all euro-area countries, it is relatively easy to place the German results in a European context. The high data quality makes it a fruitful resource for researchers and monetary policymakers alike.

The results of the first wave of the PHF and the HFCS at large were published in March 2013, revealing a surprising degree of heterogeneity within Germany and in Europe. The data for the second wave were collected in 2014. As many households as possible from the first wave were recontacted, thereby creating a full panel.

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