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Release: 2011 Census Analysis, Overcrowding and Under-occupation in England and Wales

Released: 17 April 2014


Tristan Browne

Census Analysis

Telephone: +44 (0)1633 45 5951

Categories: People and Places, Housing and Households, Households, Household Composition and Characteristics

Frequency of release: Ad-hoc

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Local Authority and County

Survey name(s): Census

  • Of the 23.4 million households in England and Wales in March 2011, over a million households (1.1 million) were considered to be overcrowded, having fewer bedrooms than the notional number recommended by the bedroom standard.

  • Overcrowding was most common among rented households, with similar proportions of socially rented (8.7%) and privately rented (8.6%) households in overcrowded homes, almost four times the proportion (2.3%) among owner occupied households.

  • There were 16.1 million households with at least one spare bedroom, of which 8.1 million had one spare bedroom and a further 8.1 million had two or more spare bedrooms.

  • More than 8 in 10 (82.7%) owner occupied households had at least one spare bedroom, compared with 49.5% among privately rented households and 39.4% among socially rented households.

  • Over half (51.9%) of socially rented households had the notional number of bedrooms for the size of the household and composition of people living there (zero occupancy rating). This was the highest across the tenure categories.

  • Excluding London, at least 7 in 10 households across all English regions and Wales had one or more spare bedrooms.

  •  In London more than 1 in 10 households (11.3%) were overcrowded, and about 4 in 10 households (39.3%) had the recommended number of bedrooms (zero occupancy rating), the highest across all the regions and Wales.

  • The top five local authorities with the highest percentage of their households overcrowded were all in London; Newham had the highest with a quarter (25.2%) of its households overcrowded.

  • Of the five local authorities with the lowest proportions of overcrowded households, four can be found in the East Midlands, with the lowest proportion (1.1%) in North Kesteven.

  • Of the 1.1 million overcrowded households in England and Wales in March 2011, over two thirds (724,000) were households with dependent children, while the remaining 32% (338,000) were without dependent children.

Occupancy ratings by household type in England and Wales, 2011 Census analysis. An occupancy rating shows whether a household is overcrowded or under-occupied. The analysis revealed that out of 23.4 million households, 1.1 million (4.5%) were overcrowded and that overcrowding was most likely to occur in socially rented (8.7%) and privately rented households (8.6%), compared to owner occupied (2.3%). However, most households (16.1 million) were under-occupied and 6.2 million had bedrooms at par with the standard. Owner occupied households were most likely to be under-occupied (82.7%), compared with privately rented (49.5%) and socially rented households (39.4%).
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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