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Overcrowding and Under-occupation in England and Wales This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 17 April 2014 Download PDF

Key Points

  • Of the 23.4 million households in England and Wales in March 2011, over a million households (1.1 million) were considered to be overcrowded, having fewer bedrooms than the notional number recommended by the bedroom standard.

  • Overcrowding was most common among rented households, with similar proportions of socially rented (8.7%) and privately rented (8.6%) households in overcrowded homes, almost four times the proportion (2.3%) among owner occupied households.

  • There were 16.1 million households with at least one spare bedroom, of which 8.1 million had one spare bedroom and a further 8.1 million had two or more spare bedrooms.

  • More than 8 in 10 (82.7%) owner occupied households had at least one spare bedroom, compared with 49.5% among privately rented households and 39.4% among socially rented households.

  • Over half (51.9%) of socially rented households had the notional number of bedrooms for the size of the household and composition of people living there (zero occupancy rating). This was the highest across the tenure categories.

  • Excluding London, at least 7 in 10 households across all English regions and Wales had one or more spare bedrooms.

  • In London more than 1 in 10 households (11.3%) were overcrowded, and about 4 in 10 households (39.3%) had the recommended number of bedrooms (zero occupancy rating), the highest across all the regions and Wales.

  • The top five local authorities with the highest percentage of their households overcrowded were all in London; Newham had the highest with a quarter (25.2%) of its households overcrowded.

  • Of the five local authorities with the lowest proportions of overcrowded households, four can be found in the East Midlands, with the lowest proportion (1.1%) in North Kesteven.

  • Of the 1.1 million overcrowded households in England and Wales in March 2011, over two thirds (724,000) were households with dependent children, while the remaining 32% (338,000) were without dependent children.

Introduction

There were 23.4 million households in England and Wales in March 2011. Of this number 15.0 million (64.3%) were owner occupied and 8.3 million (35.7%) were rented. In a previous analysis, ONS reported that the average household size in England and Wales was 2.4 people, and the average number of bedrooms per household was 2.7. Three bedrooms was the most common number of bedrooms for all households in England and Wales, however, this differed between owner occupied and rented households, with 3 bedrooms being the most common among the former and 2 bedrooms among the latter. A closer look at the number of bedrooms per household showed that owner occupied households tend to have more bedrooms than people living within the household, compared with rented households.

Information on bedroom occupancy rating was collected in the 2011 Census for the first time. For each household, a bedroom occupancy rating is derived by subtracting the notional number of bedrooms recommended by the bedroom standard1 (a recommended notional number of bedrooms for each household, based on the size of the household, age, sex, marital status and relationship among members of the household) from the number of bedrooms actually available. An occupancy rating could indicate overcrowding or under-occupation within a household as follows:

  • Occupancy rating of zero: implies that a household has the precise notional number of bedrooms recommended by the bedroom standard, for the number and composition of people living within the household.

  • Occupancy rating of -1 or less: indicates that a household has at least one bedroom too few for the number and composition of people living in the household and is considered overcrowded by the bedroom standard.

  • Occupancy rating of +1: indicates that a household has one bedroom more than is recommended for the number and composition of people living in the household and is considered under-occupied by the bedroom standard.

  • Occupancy rating of +2 or more: indicates that a household has two or more bedrooms more than is recommended for the number and composition of people living in the household and is also considered under-occupied.

This analysis focuses on occupancy rating for bedrooms, however, data on occupancy rating for rooms is also available from the 2011 Census.

Please note that the standard used by local authorities in England and Wales for the purpose of applying the removal of the spare room subsidy2, commonly known as the ‘bedroom tax’, on households may differ from that used in this analysis. These differences may include variations in age thresholds requiring separate bedrooms, and the inclusion of bedroom provisions for carers and those with disability in the bedroom standard used by local authorities.

Among the 23.4 million households in England and Wales in March 2011, a majority (16.1 million, 69.0%) had an occupancy rating (bedroom) of +1 or more, half of which had one bedroom above the standard (8.1 million) and half (8.1 million)3 with two or more bedrooms above the standard. Of the remaining households, 6.2 million (26.4%) had an occupancy rating (bedroom) of zero, while 1.1 million (4.5%) had an occupancy rating (bedroom) of -1 or less so considered to be overcrowded based on this definition.

Figure 1: Percentage of Households by Occupancy Rating for Bedrooms, England and Wales, 2011

Population: All Households in England and Wales

Figure 1: Percentage of Households by Occupancy Rating for Bedrooms, England and Wales, 2011
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics

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Notes for Introduction

1. See background note 1 for definition of bedroom standard.

2. More information on the removal of the spare room subsidy is available on YouGov.

3. Figures do not sum to 16.1 million due to rounding.

Occupancy Rating by Tenure

Of the 23.4 million households in England and Wales in March 2011, 64.3% (15.0 million) lived in owner occupied homes, while 18.0% were privately renting (4.2 million), with a similar proportion socially renting (17.6%, 4.1 million)1. This section examines the distribution of households within each tenure category, across the occupancy rating groups.

Table 1: Percentage of households by occupancy rating for bedrooms and tenure, England and Wales, 2011

Population: All households in England and Wales

Tenure Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of +2 or more Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of +1 Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of 0 Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of -1 or less
Owner Occupied        
  Percentages 46.5 36.2 15.1 2.3
  Number (thousands)                           6,992                           5,434                           2,265                               341
Private rented or living rent free        
  Percentages 15.1 34.4 41.9 8.6
  Number (thousands)                               636                           1,450                           1,768                               362
Social rented        
  Percentages 10.9 28.5 51.9 8.7
  Number (thousands)                               450                           1,173                           2,136                               360

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Some percentage rows do not sum to 100 due to rounding.

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Under-occupation within Tenure Categories

8 in 10 owner occupied households have a spare bedroom

More than 8 in 10 owner occupied households (82.7%, 12.4 million), had at least one spare bedroom. This compares with half of households privately rented (49.5%, 2.1 million) and just fewer than 4 in 10 socially rented households (39.4%, 1.6 million).

There was a large difference in the percentage of households with two or more spare bedrooms across the tenure categories, with owner occupied households, at 46.5%, three times as likely as private renters (15.1%) and four times as likely as social renters (10.9%) to be in this category.

The percentage of households with one spare bedroom was less varied across the tenure categories, at 36.2% of owner occupied households, 34.4% of private renters and 28.5% of social renters.

The prevalence of households with spare bedrooms among owner occupied households supports a previous analysis which reported that owner occupied households tend to have more bedrooms than people living within them, compared with rented households.

Occupancy ratings change over time as household size and composition changes, for instance, the bedroom standard2 recommends children of different sex to have separate bedrooms once one child reaches the age of 10, reducing the household’s occupancy rating if a bedroom is not immediately available. Although these changes can affect all households, some reasons why owner occupied households are more likely to be under-occupied compared to rented households could include:

  • Some home owners whose children have moved out of the family home may continue to live there, than move to smaller houses or rent out their spare bedrooms.

  • Home buyers may be more likely to consider long-term household growth when buying homes, as it is relatively more difficult and expensive for owner occupied households to change homes than for rented households.

  • Inherited houses could have more bedrooms than the immediate needs of the households inheriting and living in them.

Overcrowding within Tenure Categories

Over two-thirds of overcrowded households were either privately or socially rented

Of the 1.1 million households with an occupancy rating of -1 or less, over two-thirds (67.9%) were rented, while the remaining 32.1% were owner occupied. Among those renting, there was an almost equal split between privately (362,000) and socially rented (360,000) households.

Within the tenure categories, owner occupied households had the lowest percentage of overcrowded households, at 2.3%, while privately and socially rented households had similar proportions, 8.6% and 8.7% respectively.

The prevalence of overcrowding among rented households compared with owner occupied could result from one or a combination of reasons, which may include:

  • An inability of households to afford to rent homes with more bedrooms.

  • Some renters may decide to remain in smaller homes while they save towards a mortgage.

  • There could also be an unavailability of suitable rental houses especially for large families, in certain localities.

Zero occupancy rating within Tenure Categories 

Half of socially rented households had the recommended number of bedrooms for their size and composition 

More than one in four households (26.4%, 6.2 million) in England and Wales in 2011 had an occupancy rating of zero, indicating that they had the notional number of bedrooms for the number and composition of people in the households, based on the bedroom standard. Of this number, 3.9 million (63.3%) were rented, while 2.3 million (36.7%) were owner occupied. Among those renting, 54.7% were socially rented, with the remaining 45.3% privately rented.

Within the tenure categories, over half (51.9%) of households socially renting had zero occupancy rating, the highest among the tenure categories. Around 4 in 10 privately rented households (41.9%) had zero occupancy rating, while owner occupied households had the lowest percentage of households (15.1%) in this category.

Reasons why socially and privately rented households were the most common in this occupancy rating category compared with owner occupiers could include:

  • The allocation of social housing based on household needs restricts the number of socially rented households having under-occupied or overcrowded homes.

  • Among private renters the additional rental cost of having unused bedrooms may encourage shared living or act as a restraint against renting houses with more bedrooms than required.

  • The relative ease with which privately rented households could change dwellings to meet changes in household size or composition, compared with owner occupied households.

Notes for Occupancy Rating by Tenure

  1. Figures do not sum to 23.4 million due to rounding.

  2. See background note 1 for full description.

Occupancy rating Across the English regions and Wales

Table 2: Percentage of households by occupancy rating for bedrooms, the English regions and Wales, 2011

Population: All households in England and Wales

Percentages
Country/Region Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of +2 or more Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of +1 Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of 0 Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of -1 or less
England and Wales 34.6 34.5 26.4 4.5
North East 33.5 39.3 24.3 2.9
North West 34.5 37.1 24.8 3.6
Yorkshire and The Humber 35.3 36.9 24.3 3.6
East Midlands 38.8 36.1 22.0 3.1
West Midlands 36.0 34.5 25.1 4.5
East of England 37.7 34.5 24.4 3.4
London 21.1 28.3 39.3 11.3
South East 37.1 33.6 25.7 3.6
South West 38.7 34.7 23.9 2.8
Wales 39.8 35.5 21.7 2.9
 

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Some rows do not sum to 100 due to rounding.

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Under-occupation

Excluding London, 7 in 10 households across the English regions and Wales had at least one spare bedroom

At least 7 in 10 households had one or more spare bedrooms across all English regions and Wales, except for London, where just under half (49.4%) of households had spare bedrooms. Three-quarters of households in Wales (75.3%) and the East Midlands (74.9%) had at least one spare bedroom, the highest among the regions and Wales. Excluding London, there was little difference in the percentage of households with spare bedrooms across the regions and Wales. Compared with the rest, London had the lowest percentage of owner occupied households (50%), who are more likely to have spare bedrooms.

When looking at the columns in Table 2 (above) for one spare bedroom (occupancy rating (bedrooms) +1), and those with two or more spare bedrooms (occupancy rating (bedrooms) +2 or more), the rates were relatively similar across all English regions and Wales, except in London which had markedly lower rates in each category.

Overcrowding

One in ten households in London is overcrowded

London had the highest percentage (11.3%) of households with an occupancy rating of -1 or less, more than double the proportion of the next highest region - the West Midlands, at 4.5%. The relatively higher house prices and rents in London could encourage more sharing among families and individuals who would otherwise have occupied separate bedrooms, leading to a higher prevalence of overcrowding.

Apart from higher housing costs, other factors could contribute to the higher likelihood of overcrowding in London compared with other regions, including:

  • London had the highest percentage of rented households (50%), and therefore more likely to have households with occupancy rating of -1 or less, compared with regions with higher rates of owner occupied households who are more likely to have spare bedrooms.

  • London had the highest population density (number of people per hectare)1 at 52 people per hectare, compared with 5 people per hectare in the North West - the second highest densely populated region, and 4.5 people per hectare in the South East2.

Zero occupancy rating

The percentage of households with zero occupancy rating across the English regions and Wales was highest in London, with almost 4 in 10 (39.3%) households. The South East, at 25.7% had the second highest rate, while the East Midlands and Wales had the lowest percentage of households in this category, at 22.0% and 21.7% respectively.  This occupancy rating is most common among rented households, of which London has the highest share, compared with other regions.

Notes for Occupancy rating Across the English regions and Wales

  1. 2011 Census data on population density is available in table QS102EW – Population density; and in KS101EW – Usual resident population.

  2. The East Midlands, South West and Wales have the lowest population densities at 2.9, 2.2 and 1.5 people per hectare respectively.

Occupancy rating among local authorities in England and Wales

Under-occupation

The five local authorities with the highest percentage of households with an occupancy rating of +2 had at least half of their households with two or more spare bedrooms. These five areas are rural areas, compared with the five local authorities having the lowest percentage which were all urban areas in London.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for England shows that the four English local authorities with the highest percentage of households with two or more spare bedrooms are among the least deprived areas, while those with the lowest percentage are ranked high on the deprivation index1. Monmouthshire in Wales also ranks among the least deprived local authorities in Wales2. The English Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is used to determine deprivation in local areas in England; the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) is used in Wales. The IMD and WIMD are calculated differently.

Table 3: Highest and lowest ranked local authorities by occupancy rating, England and Wales, 2011

Population: All households in England and Wales

Percentages
Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of +2 or more Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of +1 Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of 0 Occupancy rating (bedrooms) of -1 or less
England and Wales 34.6 England and Wales 34.5 England and Wales 26.4 England and Wales 4.5
Highest
Rutland (East Midlands) 53.1 Hyndburn (North West) 43.3 City of London (London) 62.2 Newham (London) 25.2
South Northamptonshire (East Midlands) 50.5 Bolsover (East Midlands) 42.7 Islington (London) 52.8 Brent (London) 17.7
Hart (South East) 50.1 Burnley (North West) 42.5 Westminster (London) 51.4 Tower Hamlets (London) 16.4
Rushcliffe (East Midlands) 49.6 Tendring (East of England) 42.1 Hackney (London) 50.7 Haringey (London) 15.9
Monmouthshire (Wales) 49.3 Gateshead (North East) 41.7 Tower Hamlets (London) 50.4 Waltham Forest (London) 15.4
Lowest
Tower Hamlets (London) 8.0 Newham (London) 21.9 North Kesteven (East Midlands) 13.6 North Kesteven (East Midlands) 1.1
City of London (London) 8.2 Hackney (London) 22.9 South Northamptonshire (East Midlands) 14.3 South Northamptonshire (East Midlands) 1.2
Hackney (London) 11.2 Brent (London) 23.6 Rutland (East Midlands) 14.7 Broadland (East of England) 1.2
Westminster (London) 11.4 Haringey (London) 23.7 West Lindsey (East Midlands) 14.8 Rutland (East Midlands) 1.2
Islington (London) 11.8 City of London (London) 23.8 Rushcliffe (East Midlands) 14.8 West Lindsey (East Midlands) 1.2

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Among the five local authorities with the highest percentage of households having just one spare bedroom, at least 4 in 10 households had one spare bedroom. There was a mix of urban and rural3 areas within the five local authorities, with Hyndburn and Burnley in the North West and Gateshead in the North East being urban, and Bolsover in the East Midlands and Tendring in the East of England being rural. On the other hand, all five local authorities with the lowest shares of households with just one spare bedroom were urban areas in London, with Newham having the lowest percentage, at 21.9%.

Local authorities with a high percentage of households with spare bedrooms are likely to be among those with the lowest percentage of overcrowded and zero occupancy rated households.

Overcrowding

The five local authorities with the highest percentage of overcrowded households were in London. Newham was at the top of the local area ranking, with a quarter (25.2%) of its households overcrowded. All other areas had less than a fifth of households overcrowded, with Brent and Tower Hamlets, at 17.7% and 16.4% respectively having the next highest rates.

Of the five local areas with the lowest percentage of overcrowded households, four were situated in the East Midlands. All five areas are rural and also appear among those with the lowest percentage with zero occupancy rating, except for Broadland. North Kesteven, at 1.1%, had the lowest percentage of overcrowded households among all local authorities in England and Wales. This area also had the lowest percentage of households with zero occupancy rating.

Zero occupancy rating

The five local authorities with the highest percentage of households having zero occupancy rating were in London. This reflects the earlier finding that almost 4 in 10 households in London were in this occupancy rating category. The City of London had the highest percentage, at 62.2%, while the lowest of the top five was Tower Hamlets with half (50.4%) of its households having zero occupancy rating.

Conversely, the five local areas with the lowest percentage of households with zero occupancy rating had less than 15% of their households in this category. The lowest of these was North Kesteven in the East Midlands with 13.6%.

Notes for Occupancy rating among local authorities in England and Wales

  1. Other domains used to determine the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) include income, employment, health and disability, education, skills and training, crime and living environment.

  2. The IMD for England is the 2010 IMD published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, while that for Wales is the 2011 WIMD published by the Welsh Government. The methods calculating and ranking of deprived areas used in England differs to that used in Wales.

  3. Definitions of urban and rural areas can be found on the ONS website.

Household composition across Occupancy Rating Categories

By examining the composition of households in different occupancy rating categories, we are able to determine those who are most likely to be at risk of overcrowding, and those who are most likely to be under-occupied. Household types have been categorised into those with dependent children and those without. Of the 23.4 million households in England and Wales in March 2011, 16.6 million (71%) were households without dependent children, while 6.8 million households (29%) had dependent children.

Household composition among under-occupied households

The composition of under-occupied households with one spare bedroom is found to be similar to those with two or more spare bedrooms. Therefore, this section combines the two occupancy rating categories, as there is little difference when analysed separately.

One or more bedrooms above standard

Of the 16.1 million households with spare bedrooms in England and Wales in 2011, over three-quarters (78%) were households without dependent children. Couples without dependent children (41%) and one-person households (32%) were the most common household types with spare bedrooms.

Table 4: Household composition by tenure - One or more bedrooms above standard, England and Wales, 2011

Population: All households in England and Wales with occupancy rating of +1 or more

Percentages
One or more bedrooms above standard
  All households Owner occupied Socially rented Privately rented
With dependent children¹ 22 22 19 23
   Lone parent 4 2 10 8
   Couple 17 19 8 14
   Other 1 1 1 1
Without dependent children² 78 78 81 77
   One person 32 28 48 38
   Lone parent 3 3 6 1
   Couple 41 45 26 30
   Other 3 2 2 8
Total³ 100 100 100 100

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Households with dependent children include lone parents, couples and other household types with dependent children.

  2. Households without dependent children include one person households, lone parents with all children non-dependent, couples with none or non-dependent children, and Other household types (including all full-time students and all aged 65 and over without dependent children).

  3. Some columns do not sum to 100 due to rounding.

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Households without dependent children were the most likely to have spare bedrooms across all the tenure categories, however, there were differences in the most common household type.  Couples without dependent children (45%) were the most common household type among owner occupied households with spare bedrooms, whereas one-person households were the most common among socially (48%) and privately (38%) rented households.

The prevalence of under-occupation among owner occupied households comprising couples whose children are non-dependent supports an earlier suggestion that home owners are likely to continue living in their homes after their children have moved out.

Household Composition among overcrowded households

Of the 1.1 million overcrowded households in England and Wales in March 2011, over two-thirds (68%, 724,000) were households with dependent children, while the remaining 32% were without dependent children.

Couples with dependent children were the most common household type among overcrowded households, accounting for almost 3 in 10 (28%) overcrowded households, while lone parents and ‘other’ households with dependent children each accounted for around a fifth. Among overcrowded households without dependent children, those in the ‘other’ household category were the most common household type, accounting for over a fifth (22%) of overcrowded households. This household type includes multi-person and student households.

Table 5: Household composition by tenure - Overcrowded households, England and Wales, 2011

Population: All households in England and Wales with occupancy rating of -1 or less

Percentages
Overcrowded households
  All households Owner occupied Socially rented Privately rented
With dependent children¹ 68 70 79 56
   Lone parent 19 8 32 17
   Couple 28 33 29 22
   Other 21 29 18 18
Without dependent children² 32 30 21 44
   One person 0 0 0 0
   Lone parent 5 5 8 3
   Couple 5 10 4 2
   Other 22 15 10 39
Total³ 100 100 100 100

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Households with dependent children include lone parents, couples and other household types with dependent children.

  2. Households without dependent children include one person households, lone parents with all children non-dependent, couples with none or non-dependent children, and Other household types (including all full-time students and all aged 65 and over without dependent children).

  3. Some columns do not sum to 100 due to rounding.

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Overcrowding was most common among socially and privately rented households, however, the composition of households most affected varies between them. Of all socially rented households that were overcrowded around 8 in 10 (79%) had dependent children, and 7 in 10 (70%) of overcrowded owner occupied households had dependent children. However, for privately rented households, only 56% of those overcrowded had dependent children.

Among overcrowded households socially rented, one-person households with dependent children (32%) was the most common household type, whereas, ‘other households’ without dependent children, at 39%, was the most common household type among those privately rented. Couples with dependent children were the most common household type among overcrowded owner occupied households, accounting for a third (33%).

Household Composition among those with zero occupancy rating

About a third (32%) of all households in England and Wales with zero occupancy rating were one-person households, followed by couples with dependent children, at 24%.

The most common household types with zero occupancy rating vary across tenure categories. Among owner occupied households, 37% of households with this occupancy rating were couples with dependent children, compared with one-person households which accounted for almost half (47%) of social renters with zero occupancy rating.

Table 6: Household composition by tenure - Zero occupancy rating, England and Wales, 2011

Population: All households in England and Wales with occupancy rating of zero

Percentages
Zero occupancy rating
  All households Owner occupied Socially rented Privately rented
With dependent children¹ 41 51 36 36
   Lone parent 14 8 18 15
   Couple 24 37 16 18
   Other 4 6 2 3
Without dependent children² 59 49 64 64
   One person 32 17 47 34
   Lone parent 5 7 5 2
   Couple 13 18 10 13
   Other 8 8 3 15
Total³ 100 100 100 100

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Households with dependent children include lone parents, couples and other household types with dependent children.

  2. Households without dependent children include one person households, lone parents with all children non-dependent, couples with none or non-dependent children, and Other household types (including all full-time students and all aged 65 and over without dependent children).

  3. Some columns do not sum to 100 due to rounding.

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Background notes

  1. The Housing (Overcrowding) Bill of 2003 defines the bedroom standard as: “(4) For the purposes of the bedroom standard a separate bedroom shall be allocated to the following persons— 
    (a)  A person living together with another as husband and wife (whether that other person is of the same sex or the opposite sex) 
    (b)  A person aged 21 years or more 
    (c)  Two persons of the same sex aged 10 years to 20 years 
    (d)  Two persons (whether of the same sex or not) aged less than 10 years 
    (e)  Two persons of the same sex where one person is aged between 10 years and 20 years and the other is aged less than 10 years 
    (f) Any person aged under 21 years in any case where he or she cannot be paired with another occupier of the dwelling so as to fall within (c), (d) or (e) above.”

    Please note that while the 2011 Census uses the bedroom standard definition stated above, the Housing Bill of 2003 also takes account of uninhabitable bedrooms and rooms with less than 50ft2 floor space in determining bedrooms or rooms available to a household. The census does not collect this information and it is therefore not used in deriving the 2011 Census bedroom occupancy ratings.

  2. Households with one bedroom include those which indicated having no bedrooms in their census responses.

  3. Estimates of occupancy rating for rooms are available from the 2001 and 2011 censuses.

  4. Estimates of bedroom occupancy rating using census data are published for the first time in the 2011 census5. Prior to the census, the English Housing Survey (EHS) published estimates of overcrowding and under-occupation, for households in England.

  5. The 2011 Census asked respondents to identify who their landlord is and the results reflect the responses they gave. In the past decade half of the local authorities in Wales have transferred the management of all their local authority housing stock to other social landlords. Individuals responding to the census will report their understanding of their landlord and this may not reflect the actual management arrangements in all cases.

  6. The average household size was derived by dividing the number of people living in households in England and Wales (usual residents), by the number of households.

  7. The broad ownership category includes those who own their homes outright, those who have bought with a mortgage, and those with shared ownership – part owned and part rented.

  8. The broad renting category covers households in homes rented from private landlords or letting agents, local authorities, housing associations or registered social landlords, and other private renters – including those living rent free.

  9. Private rented, Other: Accommodation that is ‘private rented, other’ includes accommodation that is rented from an employer of a household member, relative or friend of a household member, or other non-social rented accommodation – including those living rent free.

  10. Household reference person (HRP): The concept of a household reference person (HRP) was introduced in the 2001 Census (in common with other government surveys in 2001/2) to replace the traditional concept of the 'head of the household'. HRPs provide for an individual person within a household to act as a reference point for producing further derived statistics and for characterising a whole household according to characteristics of the chosen reference person.

    For a person living alone, it follows that this person is the HRP.

    If a household contains only one family (with or without ungrouped individuals) then the HRP is the same as the family reference person (FRP).

    For families in which there is generational divide between family members that cannot be determined (Other related family), there is no FRP. Members of these families are treated the same as ungrouped individuals.

    If there is more than one family in a household, the HRP is chosen from among the FRPs using the same criteria used to choose the FRP. This means the HRP will be selected from the FRPs on the basis of their economic activity, in the priority order:

    Economically active, employed, full-time, non-student

    Economically active, employed, full-time, student

    Economically active, employed, part-time, non-student

    Economically active, employed, part-time, student

    Economically active, unemployed, non-student

    Economically active, unemployed, student

    Economically inactive, retired

    Economically inactive, other

    If some or all FRPs have the same economic activity, the HRP is the eldest of the FRPs. If some or all are the same age, the HRP is the first of the FRPs from the order in which they were listed on the questionnaire.

    If a household is made up entirely of any combination of ungrouped individuals and other related families, the HRP is chosen from among all people in the household, using the same criteria used to choose between FRPs.

    Students at their non term-time address and short-term migrants cannot be the HRP.

  11. Definition of terms used in this paper can be found in the 2011 Census Glossary.

  12. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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