Housing briefing 23
Published On: 17 December 2013Tags:

This briefing explores the disparities between ethnic groups in relation to two key social concerns currently affecting the housing market in the UK: the prevalence of overcrowded accommodation and the rise in the private renting sector. It does this by looking at data recently released from the 2011 Census and therefore compares the recorded experience of people who have identified themselves on the Census with an ethnic group category. This briefing draws on work of the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (Finney and Harries, 2013).

Key messages

  • The persistence of ethnic inequalities in the housing sector suggests that this has been an area of policy neglect.
  • Ethnic inequalities in overcrowding have been obscured in the last decade because of changes to the way it is statutorily measured.
  • Private renting has increased amongst all ethnic groups since 1991. However, the increase has been particularly large for the Indian, Pakistani and Black Caribbean ethnic groups.
  • Insecurity of tenure is pronounced among young adults which has implications for future housing markets and social equality.
  • Some minority groups (Other White, Arab) are disproportionately represented in insecure private rented accommodation.


  • Ethnic differences in overcrowding and under-occupancy
  • Geographical variation in overcrowding
  • Trends in tenure in England and Wales
  • Ethnic differences in the private rented sector
  • Ethnic differences in home ownership
  • Ethnic differences in social housing
  • Pronounced insecurity of tenure amongst young adults

Author(s): Finney, Nissa; Harries, Bethan
Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 23
Publisher: Race Equality Foundation
Publication date: December 2013

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