Type: Derived variable
Whether a household's accommodation is overcrowded, ideally occupied or under-occupied. This is calculated by comparing the number of rooms the household requires to the number of available rooms.
The number of rooms the household requires uses a formula which states that:
- one-person households require three rooms comprised of two common rooms and one bedroom
- two-or-more person households require a minimum of two common rooms and a bedroom for each of the following:
- married or cohabiting couple
- single parent
- person aged 16 years and over
- pair of same-sex persons aged 10 to 15 years
- person aged 10 to 15 years paired with a person under 10 years of the same sex
- pair of children aged 10 years, regardless of their sex
- person aged under 16 years who cannot share a bedroom with someone in 4, 5 or 6 above
An occupancy rating of:
- -1 or less implies that a household’s accommodation has fewer rooms than required (overcrowded)
- +1 or more implies that a household’s accommodation has more rooms than required (under-occupied)
- 0 suggests that a household’s accommodation has an ideal number of rooms
The number of rooms is taken from Valuation Office Agency (VOA) administrative data for the first time in 2021. The number of rooms is recorded at the address level, whilst the 2011 Census recorded the number of rooms at the household level. This means that for households that live in a shared dwelling, the available number of rooms are counted for the whole dwelling in VOA, and not each individual household.
VOA’s definition of a room does not include bathrooms, toilets, halls or landings, kitchens, conservatories or utility rooms. All other rooms, for example, living rooms, studies, bedrooms, separate dining rooms and rooms that can only be used for storage are included. Please note that the 2011 Census question included kitchens, conservatories and utility rooms while excluding rooms that can only be used for storage. To adjust for the definitional difference, the number of rooms required is deducted from the actual number of rooms it has available, and then 1 is added.
Total number of categories: 5
|1||Occupancy rating of rooms: +2 or more|
|2||Occupancy rating of rooms: +1|
|3||Occupancy rating of rooms: 0|
|4||Occupancy rating of rooms: -1 or less|
|-8||Does not apply*|
*Households with no usual residents.
It is inappropriate to measure change in number of rooms from 2011 to 2021, as Census 2021 used Valuation Office Agency data for this variable. Instead use Census 2021 estimates for number of bedrooms for comparisons over time.
Read about how we developed and tested the questions for Census 2021.
Comparability with the 2011 Census
This variable cannot be compared with the variable used in the 2011 Census. This is because in Census 2021 the data are collected using administrative data instead of data from Census 2021.
What does not comparable mean?
A variable that is not comparable means that it cannot be compared with a variable from the 2011 Census.
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland comparisons
This variable is not comparable as the data is not available for all countries.
What does not comparable mean?
A variable that is not comparable means that it cannot be compared for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Census 2021 data that uses this variable
We use variables from Census 2021 data to show findings in different ways.
Alternatively, you can also create a custom dataset.