Routes into social housing
1. Main facts and figures
- in every ethnic group, the most likely route into social housing was applying directly – 46.3% of all households got into social housing this way
- the second most likely route was being nominated by a local housing authority, with 25.4% of all households getting into social housing this way
- these have remained the most likely routes into social housing since 2015/16
Things you need to know
Social housing is provided by local authorities and private registered providers (mainly housing associations).
This data relates to new, permanent lettings of social housing. It excludes lettings where a tenant starts a new tenancy agreement but stays in the same property (after their previous tenancy agreement ended).
The data only includes lettings where the tenant reported their ethnicity. This means that figures for new lettings published here may be different from other published figures on social housing.
There were 312,989 new lettings in 2017/18. The ethnicity of the main tenant was known for 297,565 of these new lettings (95%), and refused or missing for 15,655 lettings (5%).
The raw data has been taken from the Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing (CORE) system. The statistics presented on this page have not been published separately by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
There may be some inaccuracy in the administrative data used to compile these statistics due to missing responses or reporting errors when the data was entered.
What the data measures
This data measures the percentage of new social housing lettings by type of referral, and shows the results for each ethnic group.
The type of referral is the main route that tenants use to get social housing. For example, they may have applied directly themselves, or been referred by a local housing authority.
Sources of referral include:
- internal transfer – a household is given a new letting by their current housing association or local authority, or their fixed-term tenancy is renewed in their existing home
- nominated by a local housing authority – a household is formally nominated for social housing by their local authority (often used for households in statutory homelessness)
- referred by a local authority housing department – a household is referred by their local authority, but not under a formal nominations agreement
- police, probation, prison – a household is referred by one of these agencies
Some routes have been combined under the category ‘Other’, including when the tenant is:
- relocated through a recognised housing mobility scheme
- referred by a youth offending team
- referred by a community mental health team
- referred by a health service
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.
The data uses the ethnicity of the main tenant. For a single tenancy, this is the named tenant.
For a joint tenancy, the main tenant is:
- the economically active or working person
- the oldest person, if both tenants are working or both are not working
These figures are drawn from the Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing (CORE) system in 2017/18. CORE is a complete census of new social housing lettings.
The ethnic categories used in this data
This data uses the standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census.
- Any other Asian background
- Any other Black/African/Caribbean background
Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:
- White and Black Caribbean
- White and Black African
- White and Asian
- Any other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background
- English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
- Gypsy, Traveller or Irish Traveller
- Any other White background
Other ethnic group:
- Any other ethnic group
2. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||Tenant applied direct||Nominated by local housing authority||Internal transfer||Referred by local authority housing department||Social services||Voluntary agency||Police, probation, prison||Other social landlord||Other|
|Mixed White/Black African||44.3||27.6||10.9||5.3||2.9||1.7||0.6||0.6||6.0|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||36.9||28.1||11.8||7.1||3.5||3.0||1.0||0.7||8.0|
|White Gypsy/Traveller||44.2||27.4||10.0||5.6||2.4||2.4||withheld to protect confidentiality||withheld to protect confidentiality||6.7|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)
Summary of Routes into social housing By ethnicity Summary
This data shows that:
- in every ethnic group, the most common route into social housing in 2017/18 was applying directly (at 46.3% of all new lettings)
- the second most common route was being nominated by a local housing authority (at 25.4% of all new lettings)
- in every ethnic group, these 2 routes into social housing accounted for more than half of all new lettings
- for households in the Other White ethnic group, 80.4% of new lettings came through these 2 routes (the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups)
- out of all ethnic groups, Mixed White and Asian households were least likely to get a new social housing letting by applying directly (at 35.5% of their total lettings), and those from the Any Other ethnic group were most likely to (at 54.1% of their total lettings)
3. By ethnicity over time
|Tenant applied direct||Nominated by local housing authority||Internal transfer||Referred by local authority housing department||Social services||Voluntary agency||Police, probation, prison||Other social landlord||Other|
|Ethnicity||Tenant applied direct 2015/16 %||Tenant applied direct 2016/17 %||Tenant applied direct 2017/18 %||Nominated by local housing authority 2015/16 %||Nominated by local housing authority 2016/17 %||Nominated by local housing authority 2017/18 %||Internal transfer 2015/16 %||Internal transfer 2016/17 %||Internal transfer 2017/18 %||Referred by local authority housing department 2015/16 %||Referred by local authority housing department 2016/17 %||Referred by local authority housing department 2017/18 %||Social services 2015/16 %||Social services 2016/17 %||Social services 2017/18 %||Voluntary agency 2015/16 %||Voluntary agency 2016/17 %||Voluntary agency 2017/18 %||Police, probation, prison 2015/16 %||Police, probation, prison 2016/17 %||Police, probation, prison 2017/18 %||Other social landlord 2015/16 %||Other social landlord 2016/17 %||Other social landlord 2017/18 %||Other 2015/16 %||Other 2016/17 %||Other 2017/18 %|
|Mixed White/Black African||39.8||41.9||44.3||25.9||24.6||27.6||12.0||12.1||10.9||5.1||5.7||5.3||2.2||3.3||2.9||2.7||2.4||1.7||1.7||0.5||0.6||1.0||0.4||0.6||9.6||9.0||6.0|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||34.1||36.6||36.9||27.0||26.0||28.1||11.3||10.7||11.8||7.5||7.8||7.1||3.6||3.4||3.5||3.6||3.2||3.0||2.6||1.8||1.0||0.8||0.9||0.7||9.5||9.6||8.0|
|White Gypsy/Traveller||35.6||37.9||44.2||33.6||25.6||27.4||7.6||14.4||10.0||6.4||7.0||5.6||2.8||3.3||2.4||3.6||2.3||2.4||1.7||1.7||withheld to protect confidentiality||1.7||0.5||withheld to protect confidentiality||7.0||7.4||6.7|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)
Summary of Routes into social housing By ethnicity over time Summary
This data shows that:
- between 2015/16 and 2017/18, the most common routes into social housing in every ethnic group were applying directly and being nominated by a local housing authority
- in every ethnic group except Mixed White and Asian, the percentage of households entering social housing after applying directly increased in the same period, and the percentage being referred by police, probation or prison services decreased or stayed the same
- in 2017/18, the Mixed White and Asian group were the least likely out of all ethnic groups to enter social housing after apply directly (35.5%), falling below the Black Caribbean group for the first time since 2015/16
The three main types of housing tenure in England are:
- owner occupiers
- private renters
- social renters
This data refers to new lettings to social renters only.
The data is based on the data collected from social housing providers via the online Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing in England (CORE) system. Some questions on the CORE questionnaire are not compulsory. In particular, data on household characteristics (age, sex, economic status, ethnicity and nationality) may not be available to the housing officer or may be refused by the tenant.
The totals for new lettings used in this data differ from other published totals for new lettings, as this data does not use estimated data for ethnicity and excludes those where ethnicity was refused.
Information on lettings of social housing in England is provided by local authorities and private registered providers (previously known as housing associations). Information about the tenancy, the tenants and the property is collected by data providers each time there is a new letting of a social housing property.
Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.
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.
Data here has been weighted at the national level, but not at the regional or local authority area level. Weights are calculated for groups of similar local authorities, where these groups are defined by the Office of National Statistics UK area classifications, and they are based on the comparison with data from another Department for Communities and Local Government source on social housing data (Local Authority Housing Statistics).
For further information on weighting, see the Quality Report (PDF opens in a new window or tab) (PDF).
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Values of 1 or 2 have been suppressed, mainly to avoid possible risk of disclosure. This is consistent with the way the confidentiality of data within the Continuous Recording (CORE) system is maintained.
The CORE system records information anonymously and maintains absolute confidentiality on tenants’ circumstances. Access to record-level information is only available through a licence agreement.
Further information on CORE disclosure practices can be found on the CORE website.
Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal place. Due to rounding, some totals may not add up to 100%.
Quality and methodology information
5. Data sources
Social housing lettings in England: April 2017 to March 2018
Type of data
Type of statistic
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Purpose of data source
The aim of Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing in England (CORE) is to provide information about new social housing lettings, sales, tenants and buyers across England.
This information is used by government bodies and organisations to inform social housing funding, regulatory and housing policy decisions.
Because the data on this page only includes lettings where the tenant reported their ethnicity, the figures published here may be different from other published figures on social housing. These figures have not been published separately by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
6. Download the data
This files contains the following: Measure, Time, Time_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Source of Referral, Value, Numerator