Rural England

Non-decent homes

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • The proportion of homes which are ‘non-decent’ is much higher in the more rural areas: around 50% of homes in the most rural areas and villages compared to around 30% in small towns and urban areas.
  • See the UK indicator on non-decent homes.

Rural/urban ratios (urban = 10)

On most poverty and social exclusion indicators, rural areas have ‘better scores’ than urban areas.  The purpose of the table below is to differentiate between those subjects where rural areas are ‘a bit better’ and those where rural areas are ‘a lot better’.  It does so by presenting the rural statistics for the indicator as a proportion of the urban statistics.  So, for example, a rural ‘score’ of 6 in the table below means that the rural statistic is around 60% of its urban equivalent.

Hamlets and isolated dwellings17
Small towns and fringe10

Definitions and data sources

The graphs

The graph shows the proportion of homes by type of area which are ‘non-decent’.  ‘Non-decent’ homes are those which do not meet the government’s standard for ‘decent homes’ whereby housing should: be above the a statutory minimum standard (i.e. be fit for habitation); provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort; be in a reasonable state of repair; and provide reasonably modern facilities and services.  Note that in 2006, the government changed the definitions for the first two of these criteria, in particular replacing the previous minimum standard criterion as the statutory element by a newly defined Housing and Safety Rating System.  The net effect of this change was to increase the number of homes classified as ‘non decent’.

Level of the data

Small area urban/rural classifications using the government’s 2004 classification system for small areas.  Rural areas are those classified as ‘small town and fringe’, ‘village’ and ‘hamlet and isolated dwellings’.  Note that there is an alternative classification system which could have been used, where the surveyor of the property allocates it to one of six categories, three of which are rural.  The results using the two alternative classification systems are different, but show a broadly similar pattern.


The stock dataset from the English Housing Survey, DCLG.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average for the latest three years.

The numbers

Hamlets and isolated dwellings53%
Small towns and fringe31%
Rural (combined)39%