Households under-occupying their home

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The main facts and figures show that:

  • around 8 million (37%) of the estimated 22.6 million households in England were under-occupying their home in the time period studied

  • Mixed White and Asian, White Irish and White British households were most likely to be under-occupying their home

  • Black African, Mixed White and Black African, Arab, Bangladeshi, Mixed White & Black Caribbean, Other Asian, Chinese, Pakistani and Other White households were least likely to be under-occupying their home

  • across all socio-economic groups and regions in England, and regardless of whether they owned or rented their home, White British households were more likely than ethnic minority households to be under-occupying their home

Things you need to know

Compared with White British households, ethnic minority households tend to:

  • be younger
  • have lived in England for a shorter time
  • be located in urban areas
  • live in larger households
  • live in rented accommodation

To ensure that there is a large enough number of ethnic minority households to produce reliable findings, the data is drawn from the English Housing Survey (EHS) 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Information about households available from the EHS Headline and Annual Reports is normally based on a 12-month period (April to March) of the survey. Because of this some of the statistics cited here may not match those in the Headline and Annual Reports.

The commentary only includes findings based on subgroups of at least 30 households to ensure that we report reliable findings. For this reason, information is not provided about Gypsy or Irish Traveller households.

The EHS is a ‘sample survey’: it collects information from a random sample of the population to make generalisations (reach 'findings’) about the total population.

For example, EHS findings might include the percentage of households who get help from their family to buy their own home.

The commentary for this data only includes reliable, or ‘statistically significant’, findings.

Findings are statistically significant when we can be confident that they are reflective of the total population rather than just the survey sample.

What the data measures

This data measures households under-occupying their home and how different ethnic groups are affected.

Under-occupation is measured using the bedroom standard. This is the difference between the number of bedrooms needed to avoid undesirable sharing (based on the age, sex and relationship of household members) and the number of bedrooms actually available to the household.

For example, each married or cohabiting couple would be allowed a bedroom, as would an individual aged 21 or over and each pair of adolescents or children of the same sex. The bedroom standard is described in detail in the English Housing Survey Headline Report 2015-16 (PDF).

A household is counted as under-occupied if it has at least 2 bedrooms more than it needs according to the bedroom standard.

The figures are drawn from the 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 English Housing Survey (EHS). The survey involves face-to-face interviews with about 13,300 randomly selected households every year.

These are used to make estimates for the 22.6 million households in England as a whole.

The EHS is a national survey of people's housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of homes in England.

The information relates to households. A household is one person or a group of people (not necessarily related) who have the accommodation as their only or main residence. If they are a group they also must share cooking facilities and a living room, sitting room, or dining area.

The EHS has ethnicity information on the household reference person as well as all other members of the household. The household reference person is the person in whose name the dwelling is owned or rented or who is otherwise responsible for the accommodation.

Some households contain people from different ethnic backgrounds; in these circumstances, we have used the ethnic background of the household reference person to define the ethnic background of the household.

Nearly all the household reference persons – more than 99.8% interviewed – provided information on their ethnicity.

The data is shown for the 9 regions of England: North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East, London, South East and the South West.

The ethnic categories used in this data

For comparisons made at national level, this data uses the standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census.

White:

  • English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy, Traveller or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any other Black/African/Caribbean background

Other ethnic group:

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group

For data analysed both by ethnicity and by income, socio-economic group and area, the following 2 ethnic categories have been used:

  • White British
  • Other – all other ethnic groups (including White ethnic minorities and all other ethnic minorities)

This is because the number of people surveyed to generate estimates for the population as a whole becomes too small to be reliable when also broken down by ethnicity and by another factor.

Data is therefore grouped to a size where estimates become reliable. In this case, information which is broken down by ethnicity and another factor compares White British with Other.

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity

Percentage and number of households under-occupying their home by ethnicity

Ethnicity % Under-occupying households All households
Asian
Bangladeshi 13 14,046 108,241
Chinese 17 22,654 132,162
Indian 29 140,390 486,845
Pakistani 18 59,415 327,347
Asian other 16 34,988 213,555
Black
Black African 11 40,049 360,219
Black Caribbean 22 63,030 285,256
Black other 27 9,175 33,438
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 42 26,641 64,126
Mixed White/Black African 12 9,084 75,210
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 15 15,083 98,107
Mixed other 21 9,246 43,212
White
White British 40 7,506,473 18,827,771
White Irish 41 82,525 202,418
White Gypsy/Traveller withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
White other 18 193,299 1,052,401
Other
Arab 12 7,603 64,164
Any other 21 48,308 233,069

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • 8 million (37%) of the households in England were under-occupying their home in the time period studied

  • Mixed White and Asian, White Irish, and White British households were most likely to be under-occupying their home at 42%, 41% and 40% of households respectively

  • ethnic groups least likely to be under-occupying their home were Black African (at 11% of households), Mixed White and Black African, and Arab (both at 12%), and Bangladeshi (at 13%)

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and socio-economic group

Percentage and number of households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and socio-economic group

White British All other ethnic groups
Socio-economic group % Under-occupying households All households % Under-occupying households All households
Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations 49 3,724,097 7,583,359 28 390,377 1,376,604
Intermediate occupations 40 1,561,244 3,908,430 18 133,695 734,328
Routine and manual occupations 29 1,832,193 6,274,838 14 176,488 1,283,093

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • across all socio-economic groups, White British households were more likely to be under-occupying their home than ethnic minority households

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and income

Percentage and number of households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and weekly income

White British All other ethnic groups
Weekly income % Under-occupying households All households % Under-occupying households All households
Up to £99 12 26,637 219,652 10 6,057 63,678
£100 to £199 27 446,301 1,658,642 19 61,740 333,662
£200 to £299 34 792,798 2,330,425 21 84,410 401,075
£300 to £399 38 814,150 2,167,669 17 79,896 474,903
£400 to £499 37 662,469 1,769,992 16 69,911 426,782
£500 to £599 38 628,328 1,640,197 13 44,352 332,926
£600 to £699 40 613,156 1,540,292 19 55,519 296,515
£700 to £799 41 525,389 1,283,624 22 56,320 261,015
£800 to £899 42 454,357 1,076,614 19 39,636 210,022
£900 to £999 43 365,716 854,316 21 36,527 170,613
£1000 and above 51 2,176,286 4,284,737 30 242,799 814,503

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • in all income bands except the lowest, White British households were more likely to be under-occupying their home than ethnic minority households

  • although the survey estimates show differences in the rates of under-occupying for those earning less than £99 a week, the number of households surveyed was too small to draw firm conclusions

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and area

Percentage of households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and area

White British All other ethnic groups
Region % Under-occupying households All households % Under-occupying households All households
North East 36 386,464 1,083,531 22 12,552 57,729
North West 38 1,046,505 2,732,893 24 78,247 321,434
Yorkshire and The Humber 39 784,867 2,014,231 20 44,906 230,373
East Midlands 41 700,232 1,710,066 23 51,740 227,931
West Midlands 42 839,358 1,982,713 25 85,621 339,739
East of England 42 918,946 2,169,371 27 86,927 321,024
London 33 570,629 1,723,591 16 267,655 1,643,031
South East 41 1,304,316 3,193,654 24 115,898 486,885
South West 43 955,156 2,217,722 21 33,623 157,547

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • in every region of England, White British households were more likely to be under-occupying their home than ethnic minority households

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and age group

Percentage of households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and age group

White British All other ethnic groups
Age group % Under-occupying households All households % Under-occupying households All households
16 - 24 yrs old 13 73,236 573,254 9 18,703 202,590
25 - 34 yrs old 19 452,056 2,396,932 10 91,403 901,571
35 - 44 yrs old 25 748,349 2,941,139 15 154,343 1,044,794
45 - 54 yrs old 35 1,321,586 3,766,221 21 160,913 761,583
55 - 64 yrs old 52 1,685,733 3,249,826 32 133,835 413,099
65 yrs old or over 55 3,225,512 5,900,399 47 217,971 462,057

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • across all age groups except 16 to 24 years old, White British households were more likely to be under-occupying their home than ethnic minority households

  • although the survey estimates show differences in the rates of under-occupying for households in the 16 to 24 age group, the number of households surveyed was too small to draw firm conclusions

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and type of occupancy (renting or ownership)

Percentage of households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and type of occupancy (renting or ownership)

White British All other ethnic groups
Housing tenure % Under-occupying households All households % Under-occupying households All households
Owner occupiers 53 6,702,018 12,733,724 38 593,837 1,574,662
Social rented housing 11 325,811 3,109,053 6 50,082 804,976
Private rented housing 16 478,644 2,984,994 10 133,250 1,406,057

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • White British households were more likely to be under-occupying their home compared with ethnic minority households, regardless of whether they owned or rented their home

Methodology

Methodology

The EHS consists of:

  • face-to-face interviews with a random sample of about 13,300 households a year
  • a physical inspection of the homes of about 6,000 of the interviewed households – these are selected at random and carried out by a surveyor

The surveyor also inspects a random sample of about 200 properties identified by the interviewer as vacant.

Weighting:

Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population.

For example, a survey which contains 25% females and 75% males will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know is around 50% male and 50% female.

Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.

In the EHS, weighting makes the results more representative of the 22.6 million households in England.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Estimates based on less than 30 households have not been included in these statistics, because small numbers of households make it impossible to draw meaningful conclusions. The analysis has been done by binary classification only where broken down by socio-economic group, income, region or age. This prevents small numbers appearing in the table and avoids the potential for identification of individuals.

More detailed data, including some potentially disclosive data, is protected by a range of disclosure controls. See the guidance on English Housing Survey: datasets for information accessing this data.

Rounding

Estimates in the charts and tables are given to the nearest whole number. You can get more detailed estimates to 1 decimal place if you download the data.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The English Housing Survey (EHS) is a continuous national survey commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It collects information about people’s housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing in England.

Download the data

Households under-occupying their home - Spreadsheet (csv) 17 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, age group, NS-SEC (socio-economic group), income, region, housing tenure, value, denominator, numerator and sample size