Three in ten UK Bangladeshi households are overcrowded

Latest government figures show the impact soaring house prices are having on living conditions

Housing new


New figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in 2011, home ownership fell for the first time in almost a century.

In 2011, 69 per cent of households in England and Wales were owner-occupied, compared to 64 per cent a decade later. Meanwhile, the proportion of privately rented households has grown from 12 per cent to 18 per cent of the housing market.

The age of renters has gone down, with almost nine in 10 HRPs (Household Reference Persons) aged 16-24 renting their home, compared with less than a quarter of those aged 65-74. Renters were also less likely to be in work, with 7 per cent unemployed compared to just 1 per cent of homeowners.

Commenting on the findings, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Successive governments have not made housing a high enough policy priority. As a result we now have the most expensive and dysfunctional housing system in Europe, with millions of people living in often sub-standard private rented accommodation.

“A generation of young people face the prospect of never owning their own home. There are no longer any areas in the South of England where average house prices are less than five times the average wage.”

Worryingly, the ONS also found that one in 20 UK households were overcrowded, based on the number of people compared to the number of bedrooms. In London that figure was 1 in 10, or 11 per cent – more than twice the level of overcrowding seen in the West Midlands, the region with the second highest level.

In the borough of Newham, a quarter of households were overcrowded. Overcrowding is associated with a range of health conditions including stress and depression, respiratory problems and increased transmission of infections.

The huge cost of renting in the capital is likely to be the reason that the problem is so much worse there than in the rest of England and Wales.

The incidence of overcrowding also varied between ethnic groups, with around 30 per cent of Bangladeshi households listed as overcrowded compared to less than 5 per cent of white British.

It is possible for people in overcrowded homes to apply for social housing, but there are long waiting lists and the stock is due to be depleted even further by the extension of Right to Buy.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

16 Responses to “Three in ten UK Bangladeshi households are overcrowded”

  1. Nick Fourbanks

    Where i live at gatwick the average wage is variable for most people between 12 to £20000 per year and a poor quality 3 bed semi at £150’000 so your 5 times figure is way out a nice 3 bed semi is £250’000

  2. Jacko

    Look at the subtext of this article, it’s so typically left wing: people who chose to have large families and can’t afford appropriate-sized homes should be given a subsidized house by the state.

  3. AlanGiles

    I’m sorry but this is ridiculous. Nobody has to have large families these days – there is free contraception available, and given the price of either renting or buying large houses, people should be very clear they make the right decisions for their circumstances. Given the limited amount of housing available, it would be a great mistake to build large houses to accomodate people who want to have large families without making them aware of their responsibilities. People need to show some sense of personal repsonsibility.


    People who decide to have large families should not be supported by the taxpayer. They should be prepared to stay in crammed accommodation or put the rubber johnie over his willie.

  5. WetWork

    I think that the Labour Party making as stand on the living conditions of Bangladeshi households, and promising to divert money to aid them is going to be a real vote winner.
    Of all the things that the current, miserable, housing situation produces to highlight the plight of the hyphenated, UK-Bangladeshi, is an indication of how out of touch the British left is.

  6. AlanGiles

    Left right or centre this is an overcrowded island and we should encourage everybody to have fewer children, not more. It gets really irritating to see the number of people with eight or nine children running off to the press to say the council “has to” give them a larger house. I am not as certain as yourself that helping people to have bigger houses to accomodate enormous families will win votes other than those of the large families themselves.

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  9. damon

    So why is this problem affecting people of Bangladeshi origin disproportionately?

  10. Torybushhug

    Taking in 600,000 migrants per year plus those undocumented was always going to have a few teething troubles. Build all the homes you like, the shiny new resource will attract even more immigration and all the congestion and intensive agriculture that goes with it. And you thought the left was into sustainability.

    People dont give a shit about emissions and warming because the lefty establishment doesn’t give a shit about importing people that want a western consumer lifestyle and increase all manner of enviro,entail degradation.

  11. AlanGiles

    Because they tend to have very large families

  12. damon

    So it’s the council’s fault they are overcrowded?
    There’s also the custom of putting up friends and relatives who are newly arrived in the country I presume. I would expect a majority of new arrivals stay with people when they first get to England. I have Indian friends who have their parents over for months atna time.
    One Indian woman I know has her parents over right now to help her during her coming birth of the child she’s pregnant with. It’s what people do.

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  14. Lamia

    And why are house prices soaring?

    Because demand way outstrips supply. That is likely to happen if you decide to boost the population massively through immigration. At the same time, massive population increase keeps wages down, so the lower paid have the double whammy of less money to pay for more expensive accommodation. Brilliant!

    Obviously many more homes now need to be built, and that will entail ruining more of our cramped environment and putting more strain on our infrastructure and natural resources; water availability does not increase in proportion to population increase, unfortunately, and we now have less land to grow food for more people.

    So please tell us, leftfootward, whose brilliant policy this was, and how do you propose to blame its negative side-effects on someone else entirely.

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  16. notme3

    And they tend to disproportionately be on benefits. They used to be unlimited rooms provision with local housing allowance, but thankfully coalition capped rate at four rooms.

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