Households under-occupying their home

The main facts and figures show that:

  • in 2014 to 2017, around 8.3 million (36%) of the estimated 23 million households in England were under-occupied (that is, they had at least 2 bedrooms more than they needed)
  • households from the Mixed White and Asian, White British, White Irish, Indian, and Any other Black ethnic groups were most likely to be under-occupied
  • 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 to under-occupy their home than households from all other ethnic groups combined
Things you need to know

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

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) for 3 years combined: 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.

You should avoid comparing these findings with those from last year. This is because last year’s findings were based on EHS data from 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16, so the source for last year’s and this year’s findings overlap.

Information published in the EHS headline report and other annual reports is usually based on a 12-month period, rather than the 3 years’ combined data used here. As a result, the statistics shown here may not match those in the EHS reports.

The commentary has focused on findings based on subgroups of at least 30 households to ensure that only reliable findings are reported.

The number of Gypsy or Irish Traveller households in the data is very small. To avoid disclosing personal information about individuals in those groups, information about them is not presented in some of the tables and charts.

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

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

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

Specifically, the statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 19 times out of 20 we would get similar findings.

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.

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 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 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 23 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.

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 it is a group, they must share cooking facilities and also share a living room, sitting room or dining area.

Some households contain people from different ethnic backgrounds. In these circumstances, the ethnic background of the ‘household reference person’ (usually the person in whose name the home is owned) is used to define the ethnic background of the household.

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

Data is shown for the following 9 regions:

  • North East
  • North West
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands
  • East of England
  • London
  • South East
  • South West
The ethnic categories used in this data

For comparisons made at national level, this data uses the following 18 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 socio-economic group, income, area and age, 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 becomes too small to be reliable when broken down by both ethnicity and another factor like socio-economic group or income. Data is therefore grouped to a size where estimates become reliable.

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) under-occupying their home by ethnicity

Ethnicity % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Asian
Bangladeshi 14 17 121
Chinese 18 22 123
Indian 29 152 517
Pakistani 19 66 338
Asian other 18 39 212
Black
Black African 9 35 396
Black Caribbean 22 63 284
Black other 36 12 34
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 41 24 59
Mixed White/Black African 18 14 78
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 19 18 97
Mixed other 18 8 44
White
White British 40 7,521 18,816
White Irish 37 67 181
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 17 195 1,152
Other
Arab 11 8 69
Any other 17 42 240

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2014 to 2017, 8.3 million (36%) of the households in England were under-occupying their home in the time period studied (that is, they had at least 2 bedrooms more than they needed)
  • households from the Mixed White and Asian (41%), White British (40%), White Irish (37%), Indian (29%), and Any other Black ethnic groups (36%) were most likely to under-occupy their home

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

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) under-occupying their home by ethnicity and socio-economic group

White British Other than White British
Socio-economic group % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations 50 3,803 7,652 27 397 1,467
Intermediate occupations 40 1,537 3,887 18 130 740
Routine and manual occupations 29 1,783 6,195 14 184 1,346

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • across all socio-economic groups, White British households were more likely to under-occupy their home than households from all other ethnic groups combined

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and income

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) under-occupying their home by ethnicity and weekly income

White British Other than White British
Income band % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Up to £99 14 27 196 12 6 53
£100 to £199 27 432 1,576 16 50 314
£200 to £299 34 742 2,164 20 81 400
£300 to £399 37 794 2,144 16 76 470
£400 to £499 37 648 1,749 15 59 392
£500 to £599 38 629 1,648 15 54 364
£600 to £699 40 614 1,548 20 64 326
£700 to £799 42 525 1,258 19 51 265
£800 to £899 45 490 1,095 16 37 232
£900 to £999 43 377 887 20 37 186
£1000 and above 50 2,203 4,439 29 265 917

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in all income bands except the lowest (£99 a week or less), White British households were significantly more likely to under-occupy their home than households from all other ethnic groups combined

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and area

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) under-occupying their home by ethnicity and area

White British Other than White British
Region % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s)
North East 37 400 1,084 18 11 60
North West 38 1,041 2,732 21 75 351
Yorkshire and the Humber 39 782 2,002 20 50 255
East Midlands 41 710 1,711 22 52 236
West Midlands 42 830 1,963 24 91 385
East 42 911 2,179 27 90 334
London 32 558 1,721 16 260 1,654
South East 41 1,329 3,204 24 119 507
South West 43 958 2,221 21 36 172

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • in every region of England, White British households were more likely to under-occupy their home than households from all other ethnic groups combined

Households under-occupying their home by ethnicity and age group

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) under-occupying their home by ethnicity and age group

White British Other than White British
Age group % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s)
16 - 24 12 70 562 8 17 201
25 - 34 20 471 2,364 10 96 944
35 - 44 25 708 2,855 15 168 1,110
45 - 54 35 1,305 3,742 20 162 803
55 - 64 50 1,646 3,295 33 143 436
65 or over 55 3,321 5,998 44 199 458

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 significantly more likely to under-occupy their home than households from all other ethnic groups combined

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

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

White British Other than White British
Housing tenure % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Under-occupying households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Owner occupiers 53 6,721 12,749 37 600 1,602
Social rented housing 10 298 3,071 6 50 852
Private rented housing 17 502 2,996 9 134 1,498

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • White British households were more likely to under-occupy their home compared with households from all other ethnic groups combined, regardless of whether they owned or rented their home

Methodology

Methodology

The English Housing Survey involves face-to-face interviews with a random sample of about 13,300 households a year.

The dwellings of about 6,000 of the interviewed households are randomly selected to take part in the physical survey element carried out by a qualified surveyor. In addition, a random sample of around 200 of the dwellings identified by the interviewer as vacant are also included in the physical survey element.

Weighting:

Weights are applied to the sample to produce estimates for the 23 million households in England as a whole.

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 using 2 broad ethnic groups 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

Percentages shown in the charts and tables are rounded to the nearest whole number. Download the data to see figures rounded to 1 decimal place.

Figures for the numerator and denominator are weighted and rounded to the nearest whole number in the download files. Therefore, calculations of the percentages using these values may differ to the percentage figures shown on this page, which have been calculated using unrounded figures.

Related publications

English Housing Survey information and publications.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

English Housing Survey

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 is a continuous national survey commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). 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, time, age group, NS-SEC (socio-economic group), geography, income, region, housing tenure, value, denominator, numerator and sample size