18 May 2024

Last update 10 / 03 / 2020

Methodology of the Housing Statistics









The General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) applies in all its statistical work a unified methodology that conforms with the nature of each statistical product. It depends on the Handbook of Statistical Work Procedures, which is compatible with internationally approved procedures. Statistical products go through eight major stages, in addition to a ninth stage represented in the comprehensive “management” stage which is illustrated in the following figure and the subsequent explanations:














The first three stages (scope, design and organization) are collaborative stages between GaStat and its clients who are data users from development entities. The fourth stage (data collection) is a collaborative stage between GaStat and the statistical population, whether they are households or establishments, to take data and information. The remaining stages (disaggregation, reviewing and publication) are statistical and are undertaken by GaStat. Afterwards, the eighth stage (assessment) is again done in collaboration with the clients. The management stage is administrative and organizational and spans all other stages. Those stages have been applied to the of the Housing Statistics survey as follows:


The first step in the process of producing (housing statistics), it is also the first collaborative stage among GASTAT,  housing statistics system (and partners, such as: Ministry of Housing). Many workshops and meeting have been held between GASTAT and such entities to understand their needs and requirements as they are considered data providers and users at the same time. The feedback of these entities has been taken into consideration to assure the achievement of all housing statistics’ objectives, which can be summarized in: 

  1. Providing statistics about dwellings occupied by households all over Saudi administrative regions.
  2. Studying the impact of housing characteristics and the surrounding environment.
  3. Providing statistics about the numbers of beneficiaries of subsidized housing programs that the Ministry of Housing provides either thorough a housing program or through the Real Estate Development Fund; in addition to providing data on the utilization percentages at the level of Saudi administrative regions.
  4. Creating a housing database to meet the requirements of the state, as well as the planners and researchers who need data on housing characteristics in order to create developmental plans.
  5. Providing housing data and indicators periodically for measuring the change in housing characteristics over time, and carrying out local, regional and international comparisons.
  6. Measuring the progress and development in the housing field, in terms of: building type, as well as the type and age of the dwelling occupied by a household.

This stage will also ensure that the published statistics will contribute to meeting the requirements of Saudi Vision 2030.



This stage is for designing statistical work as an integrated product. It also includes identifying the statistical population, designing the statistical framework and the survey sample along with its questionnaire, identifying the method and tools of data collection and identifying the sampling units. Clients are made partners in all those procedures to benefit from their observations to meet all requirements and ensure that they are part of the statistical product.


Most important outputs of this stage include:

1.    The Statistical Population:

The target statistical population of the housing statistics is composed of all individuals (Saudis and non-Saudis) who reside in Saudi Arabia.


2.    Statistical Sources:

The housing statistics bulletin depends on two main sources for its data. It includes statistics from the household field survey (Housing Survey), which is conducted on an annual basis by GaStat, and the second source is the housing data collected from administrative records provided by relevant government entities so that GaStat can calculate indicators and issue them the field survey indicators in the housing bulletin.

2.1.    First Source of the Bulletin: Housing Survey:

It is a household field survey conducted by GaStat and it falls under the category of (Social Statistics). In this survey, data is collected by visiting a representative sample of households spread out across all administrative regions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and an electronic questionnaire containing multiple questions is completed. Estimates and indicators regarding the housing survey are consequently provided.

2.2.    Second Source of the Bulletin: Administrative Records:

Updated and registered data provided by the Ministry of Housing. This data is derived from the processes of official and electronic registration and documentation carried out by this entity. As the main source of housing data, the Ministry of Housing provides GaStat with its registered data on a regular basis.

The following table shows the type of data provided by each source of the housing statistics bulletin:

Data Sources


Data and Indicators

Household field Survey

General Authority for Statistics

Household and Population Characteristics

Administrative Records

Ministry of Housing

Data of Subsidized Housing



3.   Housing Statistics Bulletin Terminology and Concepts:

  1. Administrative Region: An administrative region is a part of Saudi Arabia that is run by a governmental agency affiliated to the Ministry of the Interior. In each administrative region there is a capital city. The kingdom is divided into 13 administrative regions.
  2. Building: A building is every structure; whether permanent or temporary, single- or multi-storey building, with one or more rooms, and has one or more doors through which it can be accessed. A building might and might not be inhabited; and it could be intended for housing, or for economic, social or religious purposes ... etc, such as: a compound, residential building, palace, villa, old house, government building, shop, mosque...etc, taking into account the facilities of the building such as garage, small shop, and rooms placed outside a villa, shall not be counted as separate buildings. The same applies to bridges, electrical rooms, engine rooms, and water pump rooms.
  3. Dwelling: It is a single- or multi-room unit (in a building or part of building) which is primarily prepared for one household and has one separate door or a number of doors, whether it was still under construction, occupied or inhabited. The dwelling might accommodate one or more households, one or more businesses, or a household and a business simultaneously. Every inhabited building shall be counted as a dwelling, even if it was not set up for that purpose such as:  Shops, workshops and schools ...  etc. Dwelling types also include villas, traditional houses and apartments.
  4. Household: An individual or group of individuals who are or are not bound together by ties of kinship, and who share residence and food in one dwelling during the time of survey. The household includes:
    • Saudis and non-Saudis who are habitually residing with the same family but were not available for temporarily traveling abroad when the survey was underway, such as: businessmen, and individuals traveling abroad either for treatment, tourism, or education.
    • Members who are habitually residing with the same family but were not available when the survey was underway, due to attending night shifts. For example: physicians, nurses, fishermen, airport staff, guards.... etc.
    • Domestic workers residing within a household.
    • Family members who are away on a trip in the Kingdom.
  5. Head of the Household: The head of the household refers to the person regarded by the household members as its chief member. This person is usually responsible for making decisions regarding family affairs, and is not younger than (15) years-old.
  6. Population: All individuals, Saudis and non-Saudis, living in the Kingdom at the time of the survey.
  7. Holding Type: Dwellings inhabited by households during the field researcher’s visit at the time of the survey are classified as (owned - rented - provided by employer - other).
  8. Survey population: Household members selected in the sample, living in the selected dwellings.
  9. Subsidized Housing Beneficiaries: Citizens who signed contracts to own residential units from any housing solution provided either by a housing program or the Real Estate Development Fund, starting from 26/04/2018 to 25/04/2019.
  10.  Independent Construction: It is a financing program for independent construction targeting those who own a land and wish to build their own house as they desire with the help of real estate financing given in installments from relevant funding entities.
  11. Nationality: An individual’s legal status of belonging to a particular state, and it is usually determined by the passport held by the individual who has the right to obtain it.


4.   Indicators:


Calculation Formula

Total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households

= Total housing units occupied with Saudi households

Percentage of housing units occupied with Saudi households

= Number of housing units occupied with Saudi households/ total number of housing units X 100

Percentage of housing units built with reinforced concrete occupied with Saudi households

= Number of housing units built with reinforced concrete occupied with Saudi households / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100

Percentage of the increase in Saudi households

= (( Total number of Saudi households in 2019 - Total number of Saudi households in 2018) / Total number of Saudi households in 2018) X 100

Average size of Saudi households

 = Total number of Saudi individuals / total number of Saudi households

 Percentage of owned housing units built with reinforced concrete and occupied with Saudi households during the researcher’s visit at the time of the survey and excluding other housing units owned by the household in other locations 

 = Number of owned housing units built with reinforced concrete and occupied with Saudi households / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100

 Percentage of owned housing units  occupied with Saudi households during the researcher’s visit at the time of the survey and excluding other housing units owned by the household in other locations 

 = Number of owned housing units occupied with Saudi households / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100

Percentage of rented housing units occupied with Saudi households

= Number of rented housing units occupied with Saudi households / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100

Percentage of rented housing units built with reinforced concrete and occupied with Saudi households

= Number of rented housing units built with reinforced concrete and occupied with Saudi households / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100

 Percentage of housing units occupied with Saudi households that depend on the public network as a source of electricity

 = Number of housing units occupied with Saudi households that depend on the public network as a source of electricity / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100

 Percentage of housing units occupied with Saudi households that depend on the public sewage network

= Number of housing units occupied with Saudi households that depend on the public sewage network / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100

Percentage of housing units occupied with Saudi households that depend on gas for cooking fuel

= Number of housing units occupied with Saudi households that depend on gas for cooking fuel / total number of housing units occupied with Saudi households X 100


5.   Adopted Statistical Classifications:

 The data of the bulletin is based on the following classifications:

  • Classifying dwellings by their types
  • Classifying dwellings by holding type
  • Classifying dwellings by construction material


6.   Design of Survey Questionnaire:

The survey questionnaire was drafted and designed by housing survey experts at GaStat. International recommendations, standards, and definitions issued by the International Labor Organization in the field of housing surveys were taken into consideration during the design of the questionnaire, which was presented to relevant entities to obtain their insights and comments. Questions were redrafted based on a specific scientific approach aimed at unifying question formats used by researchers.

The questionnaire was divided into two thematic sections to improve the efficiency of complying with technical standards during the field work stage.

Geographical and housing data

Demographic characteristics



Examples of what was included in the housing survey questionnaire (first source of the housing statistics bulletin)

Administrative region, governorate, municipality, population name, housing type, approximate age of dwelling (years), construction material, flooring material, dwelling components, holding type, water source, drinking water source, water storage, electricity source, fuel used for cooking, sanitation, use of pesticides, use of insecticides-treated nets, dwelling estimated cost in SAR, total area of dwelling (in square meters), how the dwelling was acquired ( source of finance), was a rental contract signed with a housing program, years of dwelling occupation, as well as the individual's full name, relationship to the head of household, gender, age, nationality, educational status or highest obtained degree, employment status, sector type, and marital status.

The complete questionnaire can be viewed and downloaded through GaStat’s official website:




After being approved, the survey questionnaire will be  transformed into an electronic questionnaire that can be handled through the advanced data collection system using tablet devices. The system has the following features:

  1. Reviewing the work zone of the field researcher (survey sample).
  2. Reaching the sample (household) using the map on the tablet device.
  3. Completing data of high quality using data check rules and navigation (to automatically detect input errors and illogical inputs while the completion of the data is underway).
  4. Establishing communication between supervising entities by exchanging notes with field researchers.


7.   Coverage:

7.1.   Spatial Coverage:

The housing statistics bulletin covers data related to housing in all 13 administrative regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The housing survey (the first source of the bulletin) covers the following regions: (Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Qassim, Eastern Region, Asir, Tabuk, Hail, Northern Borders, Jazan, Najran, Al-Baha, and Al-Jouf). A scientifically selected sample is visited in each region representing the region’s households. While the data collected from administrative records (the second source of the bulletin) covers all the population of the Kingdom whose data are documented in the records of relevant government entities.


7.2  Temporal Coverage:

The data of the housing survey in terms of the number of household members and their demographic, residential and social characteristics are assigned as follows:

  1. Data on the number of household members and their demographic, residential and social characteristics are assigned on the date of the household visit and inspection.
  2. Employees' data are assigned seven days prior to the household visit and inspection.


8.   Statistical Framework:

  • The 2018 updated framework of the Housing and Population Census (1431H. – 2010) has been used as a list that includes all community particulars.
  • The lists, maps and analytical specifications of the units have been developed to select the data providers (households).
  • The required metadata has been identified in order to create the statistical framework and the testing framework, and verify its validity and use for the current survey cycle.


9.   Sample Design:

  • The survey population was divided into separate parts whose units are relatively homogenous. Each part was a layer, and each layer an independent population.
  • Then, a random sample was selected independently from each layer. Finally, all sample units were combined to form the full unit.
  • The selection of the sample units from the statistical frameworks that were designed to cover the targeted statistical population was carried out in two stages. In the first stage, the primary sampling units are selected, and these are the enumeration areas resulting from the process of coding and enumerating buildings and real-estate units. (1,334) enumeration areas were selected out of (36,198) areas which are distributed across all administrative regions of the Kingdom by using a proportional size method and weighting the number of Saudi households. In the second stage, the final sampling units were randomly drawn from the statistical areas, which are the households in the enumeration areas that were chosen in the first stage using the regular random sample. (25) households were chosen from each enumeration area, totaling (33,350) households at the level of Saudi Arabia.
  • The optimal sample unit selection methodology was prepared with the aim of providing high-quality outputs with minimum burden on data providers using well-known statistical methods, such as rotation and controlling overlaps.
  • The descriptive data required for establishing the statistical framework was selected and the sample was specified.
  • The sample was then tested, evaluated, validated and used in the current survey round.

Sampling Units of the Housing Survey:

The basic sampling units are the enumeration areas. They are sampling units drawn in the first stage of designing the survey sample. Households are considered secondary and ultimate sampling units at the same time. They are sampling units drawn in the second stage of designing the survey sample. Each secondary sampling unit is considered a part of the basic sampling units.


Third Stage: Organization

It is the final preparation stage preceding the visits to households and data collection. In this stage, the required workflow procedures are established for preparing the housing statistics, starting with the collection stage and ending with the assessment stage and the organization and grouping of such procedures. The optimal sequence of those procedures is chosen to arrive at a methodology that achieves the objectives of the survey. Those procedures were also described and documented to facilitate any updates to them in future rounds. The statistical workflow procedures were tested and examined to: ensure their compliance with the requirements of preparing the housing statistics in its final form, approve the procedures of the statistical workflow, and put a road map for implementation.

Testing the efficiency of input systems and the process of transmitting, synchronizing and reviewing data through either the tablet or office system of the household health survey are the main procedures in this stage.



Fourth Stage: Data Collection

1.   Data Collection in the Housing Survey (First Source of the Bulletin):

First: The survey’s sample was selected by identifying 33.350 holdings as a representative sample for the survey population in the Kingdom, distributed across administrative regions as follows: 

Administrative Region

Number of Households

Administrative Region

Number of Households

Administrative Region

Number of Households





















Northern Borders




Eastern Region






Second: The workers, who were nominated as field researchers and would later visit agricultural holdings to collect the agricultural production survey data, were chosen on the basis of several practical and objective criteria related to the nature of work, such as:

  • Educational level.
  • Fieldwork experience.
  •  Personal attributes, such as: good conduct, good senses and physical and psychological fitness.
  • Candidate’s success in the training program of the agricultural production survey.
  • The candidate must not be under the age of 20.


Third: All candidates (GaStat staff and collaborators from some government entities) were qualified and trained through special training programs as follows:

  • A training program was held for competent staff members in GaStat’s headquarters for one week.
  • Similar training programs were held for collaborating inspectors, observers, and researchers from all the regions of Saudi Arabia.

The training programs offered to field researchers tasked with collecting the housing survey data include: Practical and hands-on lectures on technical, technological, administrative, and awareness materials that are used in data collection processes. Field researchers are also introduced to the survey’s goals, the data collection method, and how to use maps and reach the holdings. The training programs also include a detailed explanation of all questions on the questionnaire, as well as any technical and administrative tasks. Field researchers are also trained on how to deal with the public and how to ask the questions in record time.

At the beginning of the training program, all trainees are provided with tablet devices that enable them to do the following:

  • Read the instructions manual and know its content as it will guide the researcher during the data collection process.
  • Read the electronic questionnaire of the survey and explore how to fill it during pertinent steps of the workshops that accompany the training program.
  • Log in to the “Training Program’s Automated Assessment System”, where the trainees can express their opinions about the training program through assessing its level in order to improve the quality of future training programs.
  • Log in to the “Trainees’ Automated Assessment System” at the end of the training program, which is used to determine the trainees’ comprehension level of the survey’s concepts and instructions.

    Staff members are nominated to participate in the survey based on their results that are automatically obtained from the “Trainees’ Automated Assessment System” to guarantee promptness, precision, and impartiality upon appointing the candidates and their competences.



Fourth: The method of direct contact with the household was adopted in the process of completing the survey questionnaire and data collection. The field researchers visited the households located within the survey sample after arriving there using the coordinates recorded on the tablets and the guiding maps and introducing themselves and showing official documents proving their statistical identity. They also clarified the aim of their visit, and presented an overview of the survey and its objectives. The electronic questionnaire was then completed orally through direct contact with the head of the household or any adult member of the household who is familiar with its affairs.


Fifth: All field researchers used tablet devices to collect the survey questionnaire data according to timeframes specified based on the number of family members as well as their demographic, social and economic characteristics.


Sixth: Field researchers at all work locations in the Kingdom used the “synchronization” feature available on the tablet devices to download and transfer the completed data of the households directly to the database linked to them at GaStat’s headquarters where they are stored in a specific way to be reviewed and processed at a later stage.


Seventh: Electronic check rules were applied to guarantee the accuracy, consistency, and rationality of the data entered in the housing survey questionnaire. They are electronic rules that identify contradictions and they were designed by using a logical link between the answers of the questionnaire and its variables to help field researchers directly identify any errors upon completing the survey data with the head of the household. Those programmed rules don’t allow any mistakes to go through when an answer contradicts with another piece of information or another answer in the questionnaire.


Eighth: The collected data were verified through being reviewed by the field researcher, their inspector and the survey supervisor in the supervision area. All work areas were subjected to a monitoring and reviewing process from the Data Quality Room at GaStat’s headquarters. The room also controls and monitors the performance of all working groups in the field during the data collection process, starting from the first day and until the last.

Data Quality Room:

It is an operations room that works simultaneously with the field works for the surveys. It is equipped with all sorts of electronic follow-up tools and monitoring and tracking screens. The observers and quality specialists in the room review the consistency of data and detect error cases and extreme values during the data collection process that is taking place in the field. That is done by instantly and immediately following up what is being completed by the field researcher to check the researchers’ commitment to the instructions on the survey, ensure the rationality, accuracy and reliability of data and review some important survey indicators to ensure data accuracy. The room undertakes several tasks, mainly:

Reviewing collected data and sending comments to field teams of all levels through an automated office system connected to the tablet devices used by researchers, so that they can get the comments automatically and instantly on site.

Contacting agricultural holders by phone and asking them some of the questions on the questionnaire to check that the researchers collected the data correctly and complied with instructions during their visits. These calls also seek to obtain any missing data and to thank the holders for their collaboration.

Responding to any field enquiries, whether from field researchers or agricultural holders.

Checking the accuracy of the location where the questionnaire was completed by matching the location’s coordinates to those registered in the sample file.


2.   Obtaining data from administrative records (second source of the bulletin):

GaStat has coordinated with relevant government entities to obtain housing data, including data collected from the administrative records of the Ministry of housing. The data is stored on GaStat’s database. The process of checking and reviewing this data is done according to scientific statistical methodology and recognized quality standards in coordination with the issuer of data.


Fifth Stage: Disaggregation of Data

During this stage, raw data are disaggregated based on classification and coding inputs completed during data collection process, according to geographical classification of data, such as (data distribution at administrative regions level, qualitative and descriptive classification in terms of gender determination and individual’s marital status, or quantitative classification such as the value of the house rent for the lessee (in SAR).

Data of housing statistics are presented in right tables in order to summarize, understand, as well as extract their results. Moreover, to compare them with other data, and to obtain statistical significances about the selected community. However, referring to such data indicated in tables is much easier than going back to check the original questionnaires. Such questionnaires may include some data like names and addresses of individuals, which might violate the confidentiality of the statistical data.

Specialists of housing statistics department at GASTAT processed and analyzed data, as follows:

  • Arranging data in sequence, groups, or categories.
  • Outline detailed data into main points.
  • Linking the different parts of data.
  • Processing missed data.
  • Processing non-logical data.
  • Transferring or exchanging data into statistical data.
  • Organizing and interpreting data.

One of the most important data processing procedures that have been carried out is “data anonymization”. To ensure data confidentiality, GaStat removes identifiers from the input fields for the survey data, such as hiding the name and address of the head of the household and other identifiers to protect people’s privacy.


Sixth Stage: Reviewing

First: Verifying data outputs: 

After reviewing the housing survey data accumulated from administrative records in previous stages, processes of calculating and extracting results were conducted and then outputs were uploaded and stored on the database. The final reviewing processes were conducted by housing statistics specialists using modern technologies and software designed for the purposes of reviewing and auditing.


 Second: Handling of confidential data:

Pursuant to Royal Decree No.23 dated 07/12/1397, GaStat is committed to the absolute confidentiality of all completed data and not using them except for statistical purposes. Therefore, data are safely stored on GaStat’s servers.


No individual data on agricultural holdings or holders shall be disclosed in any way. Materials set for publication are only aggregated statistical tables at the level of the Kingdom, the administrative regions and the major cities.




Seventh Stage: Publication

First: Preparing the results set for publishing:

In this stage, GaStat uploaded the data results from the housing survey database and coordinated, organized and reviewed the administrative records data contained in the bulletin. The Authority then prepared publication tables and graphs for both data and indicators, and added descriptive and methodological information as seen in this bulletin. These were prepared in both Arabic and English.


Second: Preparing media material and announcing the bulletin’s release date:

After announcing the bulletin’s release date on its official website at the beginning of the calendar year, GaStat prepares the required media materials to announce the bulletin’s release on all media outlets, as well as its various social media platforms. The announcement will be made on the date set for publication. The bulletin will be published on the official website in various templates of open data in Excel format which will be available on the website’s statistics library. This guarantees its circulation and access to all clients and parties interested in housing statistics.


Third: Communicating with clients and providing them with the bulletin: 

GaStat pays great importance to communicating with the clients who use the data. Therefore, GaStat communicates with clients upon the publication of the housing bulletin to provide them with it. GaStat also receives the clients’ questions, enquiries and requests with regard to the bulletin and its results through the following communication channels: 

  • GaStat’s official website: www.stats.gov.sa
  • GaStat’s official email: info@stats.gov.sa
  • Client support email: cs@stats.gov.sa
  • Visiting GaStat’s headquarters in Riyadh or one of its branches in the regions of the Kingdom.
  • Official Letters.
  • By Statistical Phone (920020081).


Fourth: Preserving the published content:

GaStat’s Documents and Archives Center stored and archived the data of this bulletin to refer to it at any time upon request. GaStat took that step out of its awareness of the importance of electronically preserving this data to easily refer to it when needed.


Eighth Stage: Assessment.

After the bulletin is released and received by all GaStat’s clients, the clients are contacted again in this stage which allows for assessing the whole statistical process that was carried out, with the aim of constant improvement to obtain high-quality data. The improvements may include  methodologies, processes, systems, statistical researchers’ skills and statistical frameworks. This stage is done in collaboration with data users and GaStat’s clients through a number of steps:

First: Collecting measurable assessment inputs:

Main comments and remarks are collected and documented from their sources at all stages, including those collected and documented during the collection stage, such as: comments and remarks presented by data collectors and their field supervisors, in addition to data collected and documented during the assessment stage such as the remarks deduced by specialists concerned with reviewing, checking and analyzing data collected from the field and administrative records. Finally, comments and remarks presented by data users are collected and documented after publication, in addition to what is being monitored via media outlets or the clients’ remarks which GaStat receives through its main channels.


Second: Making the assessment:

Collected assessment inputs are analyzed, and the results of this analysis are compared with pre-anticipated results. Accordingly, potential improvements and solutions are identified and discussed with experts and housing stakeholders. In this stage, the performance of clients’ use of housing statistics results and their satisfaction with them is measured. Based on that, recommendations are developed to enhance the quality of the results of the next housing statistics.


Ninth Stage: Management:

A comprehensive stage that spans over all the stages of producing housing statistics. This stage determines the general production plan, including the feasibility study, risk management, means of funding, disbursement mechanisms, as well as developing performance indicators, quality parameters, human resources map necessary for production, following up on the execution of tasks assigned to all departments in every stage, and making reports to ensure that GaStat fulfills its commitments towards its clients.

عنوان الملف: 
Housing Survey Questionnaire

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