Housing conditions

Households spend on average 20% of their income on housing, but this proportion can vary up to 50% between the least and the most expensive regions in a country.

The availability and affordability of housing are essential for households to meet their basic need in terms of shelter, personal space, and a sense of security, including financial security. The number of rooms per person is a standard measure of whether people are living in crowded conditions; across OECD regions this number varies widely, from around half a room in Northeastern Anatolia - East (Turkey) to three in Vermont (United States), a difference almost twice as large as that observed across OECD countries.

In 2016, regional differences in the number of rooms per person were largest in Canada, the United States, Spain and Turkey (Figure 2.8). Using the number of rooms per person has, however, some limitations, which may hamper regional and international comparisons. First, it does not take into account the possible trade-off between the number of rooms in the dwelling and its location: some households may choose to live in smaller dwellings located in better serviced areas than in larger homes in less desirable locations. Second, it does not take into account the overall size of accommodation, which is generally smaller in urban areas than in rural areas.

2.8. Regional differences in number of rooms per person, 2016
Large regions (TL2)

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933817124


The number of rooms per person is a measure of whether people are living in crowded conditions. It is measured as the number of rooms in a dwelling, divided by the number of people living in the dwelling. It excludes rooms such as a kitchenette, scullery/utility room, bathroom, toilet, garage, consulting rooms, offices or shops.

The share of household gross adjusted disposable income spent on housing and maintenance of the house as defined in the System of National Accounts (SNA), includes actual and imputed rentals for housing, expenditure on maintenance and repair of the dwelling (including miscellaneous services), on water supply, electricity, gas and other fuels, as well as the expenditure on furniture, furnishings, household equipment and goods and services for routine home maintenance. This measure of housing costs excludes household payments for interest and principal on housing mortgages.

On average, people in OECD countries spend just over 20% of their annual household gross adjusted disposable income on housing (and 25% for the sample of 20 countries in Figure 2.9). Families living in Greater London, UK and Vienna, Austria spend 50% more for housing than those in Northern Ireland and Burgenland, respectively. Housing expenditure exceeds 35% of household disposable income in the capital regions of Oslo (Norway) and Jerusalem (Israel); whereas it is below 20% in every region of Australia and the Slovak Republic (Figure 2.9).

2.9. Housing expenditure as a share of household income, 2016
Large regions (TL2)

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933817143


OECD (2018), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en.

Reference years and territorial level

2016 or latest available year; TL2.

2.8: Mexico and Switzerland, 2015; Denmark, Tunisia and Turkey, 2014; Japan and New Zealand, 2013; Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden, 2012; Canada, Greece, Italy, Portugal and United Kingdom, 2011; France and Korea, 2010. No regional data are available for Chile and Iceland.

2.9: Australia, Austria, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy and Spain, 2015; Belgium, 2014; Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey, 2013; Norway, 2012; Portugal, 2011.

Further information

OECD Regional Well-Being: www.oecdregionalwellbeing.org.

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