Graphs on this page:
- Around 3% of households, and 5% of people, live in overcrowded conditions. Both proportions are lower than they were in 1999, when they were 4% and 7% respectively, but the same as in 2001.
- Households in rented accommodation are twice as likely to be overcrowded as those in owner-occupation: 4-5% compared to 2%.
- Glasgow has the greatest overcrowding problem, with twice as many households living in overcrowded conditions.
- According to the 2001 Census, Scotland has a much higher proportion of overcrowded households than anywhere else in Great Britain apart from London. 1.
Definitions and data sources
The first graph shows the proportion of both people and households that fall below a measure of occupation density known as the ‘bedroom standard’. Note that the proportion of people living in overcrowded conditions is much higher than the proportion of households.
The ‘bedroom standard’ is calculated in relation to the number of bedrooms and the number of household members and their relationship to each other. One bedroom is allocated to each married or cohabiting couple, any other person over 21, each pair aged 10 to 20 of the same sex and each pair of children under 10.
The second graph shows the extent of overcrowding varies by housing tenure.
The data source for the first and second graphs is the Scottish Household Survey (SHS). To improve statistical reliability, the data is the average for the latest three years. Note that the data has not been collected since 2006.
The third graph shows how the proportion of households living in overcrowded conditions varies by local authority.
The fourth graph shows how the proportion of households living in overcrowded conditions in Scotland compares with the rest of Great Britain.
The map shows how the proportion of households living in overcrowded conditions varies at a small area level (the 2001 Census output areas).
The data for the third and fourth graphs and map is from the 2001 Census (tables so053 and so159 for England and Wales, KS19 and S53 for Scotland and S357 for Northern Ireland). The standard of overcrowding used in the Census is something called ‘occupancy rating’ which assumes that every household; including one person households; requires a minimum of two common rooms (excluding bathrooms). It is not obvious precisely how this definition relates to that of the bedroom standard but clearly a lot more households fall below this standard than fall below the bedroom standard. An alternative source for data on overcrowding by region is the General Lifestyle Survey but the sample sizes of this survey are too small to provide reliable estimates at a regional level.
Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium. The SHS is a large survey designed to be representative of private households and of the adult population in private households in Scotland. However, the bedroom standard itself is low, particularly for those aged over 10, and the overall level of overcrowding shown may therefore be too low.
1. An alternative source for data on overcrowding by region is the General Lifestyle Survey but the sample sizes of this survey are too small to provide reliable estimates at a regional level. Interestingly, though, in contrast to the Census data, the General Lifestyle Survey data suggests that the levels of overcrowding in Scotland are similar to elsewhere in Great Britain (excepting London) ↩