Eurostat data reveals that in 2020, 17.5% of the EU population lived in over-crowded households. I.e., they did not have a sufficient number of rooms for the number of people in the household, their family situation and their ages.
Lack of space in overcrowding households is amplified by having kids playing in the same room as parents trying to telework during the coronavirus lockdowns. Moreover, the Eurostat press release points out that overcrowded environments can present a higher risk of spreading the virus.
Among the EU Member States, almost half the population in Romania (45.1%) were living in over-crowded households in 2020. This was also the case for around two in every five persons in Latvia (42.5%), Bulgaria (39.5%), Poland (36.9%) and Croatia (36.2%).
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest overcrowding rates were recorded in Cyprus (2.5%), Ireland (3.2%), Malta (4.2%) and the Netherlands (4.8%).
Eurostat considers that a person is deemed to be living in an over-crowded household if the household does not have at its disposal a minimum number of rooms equal to:
- one room for the household;
- one room per couple in the household;
- one room for each single person aged 18 or more;
- one room per pair of single people of the same gender between 12 and 17 years of age;
- one room for each single person between 12 and 17 years of age and not included in the previous category;
- one room per pair of children under 12 years of age.
Housing cost overburden rate
For many households, the largest expenditure each month relates to housing costs. Housing affordability can be analysed through the housing cost overburden rate. This rate shows the share of the population living in households that spend 40% or more of their disposable income on housing.
The housing cost overburden rate was 7.8% in the EU in 2020 with large differences between Member States.
Rates below 5% were recorded in 13 Member States, with the lowest shares in Cyprus (1.9%), Lithuania (2.7%), Malta (2.8%) and Slovakia (3.2%).
At the other end of the scale, rates above 10% were recorded in Denmark (14.1%) and Bulgaria (14.4%), with the highest rate recorded in Greece (33.3%).