Overcrowded households

The main facts and figures show that:

  • in 2014 to 2017, around 679,000 (3%) of the estimated 23 million households in England were overcrowded (that is, they had fewer bedrooms than they needed to avoid undesirable sharing)
  • around 2% of White British households experienced overcrowding, compared with 30% of Bangladeshi households (the highest percentage)
  • across all socio-economic groups, age groups, most regions and income bands, and regardless of whether they owned or rented their home, White British households were less likely to be overcrowded 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 2 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 household overcrowding and how different ethnic groups are affected.

Overcrowding 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 overcrowded if it has fewer bedrooms 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

Overcrowded households by ethnicity

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) that were overcrowded, by ethnicity

Ethnicity % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Asian
Bangladeshi 30 37 121
Chinese 7 9 123
Indian 7 35 517
Pakistani 16 55 338
Asian other 10 20 212
Black
Black African 15 60 396
Black Caribbean 8 23 284
Black other 13 4 34
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 3 2 59
Mixed White/Black African 8 7 78
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 6 6 97
Mixed other 3 1 44
White
White British 2 306 18,816
White Irish 4 8 181
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 7 81 1,152
Other
Arab 15 10 69
Any other 7 16 240

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2014 to 2017, 680,000 (3%) of the 23 million households in England were overcrowded (that is, they had fewer bedrooms than they needed to avoid undesirable sharing)
  • Bangladeshi households had the highest rate of overcrowding, at 30% (around 37,000 households)
  • 2% of White British households (around 306,000 households) lived in an overcrowded home

Overcrowded households by ethnicity and socio-economic group

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) that were overcrowded, by ethnicity and socio-economic group

White British Other than White British
Socio-economic group % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations 1 61 7,652 6 86 1,467
Intermediate occupations 1 56 3,887 10 76 740
Routine and manual occupations 3 157 6,195 12 156 1,346

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in every socio-economic group, White British households were less likely to be overcrowded than households from all other ethnic groups combined

Overcrowded households by ethnicity and income

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) that were overcrowded, by ethnicity and weekly income

White British Other than White British
Weekly income band % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Up to £99 0 0 196 2 1 53
£100 to £199 1 9 1,576 7 22 314
£200 to £299 1 25 2,164 9 37 400
£300 to £399 1 32 2,144 13 59 470
£400 to £499 2 35 1,749 14 55 392
£500 to £599 2 34 1,648 11 42 364
£600 to £699 2 36 1,548 8 27 326
£700 to £799 2 27 1,258 7 20 265
£800 to £899 2 18 1,095 7 16 232
£900 to £999 2 15 887 10 18 186
£1000 and above 2 74 4,439 8 73 917

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in almost every income band, White British households were less likely to be overcrowded than households from all other ethnic groups combined

Overcrowded households by ethnicity and area

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) that were overcrowded, by ethnicity and area

White British Other than White British
Region % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s)
North East 2 18 1,084 6 4 60
North West 1 37 2,732 9 32 351
Yorkshire and the Humber 1 29 2,002 6 14 255
East Midlands 1 19 1,711 9 22 236
West Midlands 2 36 1,963 8 30 385
East 2 35 2,179 7 24 334
London 3 48 1,721 12 198 1,654
South East 2 51 3,204 7 37 507
South West 2 34 2,221 8 13 172

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in almost every region of England, White British households were less likely to be overcrowded than households from all other ethnic groups combined

Overcrowded households by ethnicity and age group

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) that were overcrowded, by ethnicity and age group

White British Other than White British
Age group % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s)
16 - 24 3 19 562 8 16 201
25 - 34 3 65 2,364 10 93 944
35 - 44 3 85 2,855 12 130 1,110
45 - 54 2 89 3,742 11 88 803
55 - 64 1 34 3,295 7 30 436
65 or over 0 14 5,998 4 17 458

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • across all age groups, White British households were less likely to be overcrowded than households from all other ethnic groups combined

Overcrowded households by ethnicity and type of occupancy

Percentage and number of households (in thousands) affected by overcrowding, by ethnicity and type of occupancy (renting or owning)

White British Other than White British
Housing tenure % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s) % Overcrowded households ('000s) All households ('000s)
Owner occupiers 1 103 12,749 5 80 1,602
Social rented housing 4 136 3,071 15 131 852
Private rented housing 2 67 2,996 11 163 1,498

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • White British households were less likely to be overcrowded 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

Overcrowded households - Spreadsheet (csv) 17 KB

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