The Malta Independent 19 October 2018, Friday

2.6% of population lives in overcrowded households – NSO

Thursday, 11 October 2018, 11:14 Last update: about 7 days ago

The European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey revealed that, during 2017, the percentage of persons living in overcrowded households stood at 2.6 per cent, a drop of 1.6 percentage points from 2007, an NSO statement said today.

EU-SILC is an annual survey that collects information on the income and living conditions of private households in Malta and Gozo. This is a panel survey, for which in 2017, almost 4,000 households were included.

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In 2017, 44.1 per cent of all inhabited dwellings in Malta and Gozo were either detached, semi-detached or terraced houses. The remaining 55.9 per cent of inhabited dwellings were in the most part either apartments or maisonettes. Results show that the largest proportion of main dwellings (31.2 per cent), contained 5 rooms.

This was followed by 23.6 per cent of main dwellings composed of 6 rooms, and 23.1 per cent composed of 7 or more rooms. Home ownership was the most common type of tenure status in 2017, with 78.2 per cent of all households owning their main dwelling. Of these, more than 76.0 per cent were outright owners, meaning that they either never had a mortgage on their main dwelling or have repaid their debt in full.

Among households with dependent children, 85.9 per cent were home owners. This was higher than that for households without dependent children in which case 74.2 per cent were home owners. A different trend is observed among rented main dwellings, in which case 20.4 per cent of households without dependent children are tenants against 10.3 per cent of households with dependent children.

According to EU-SILC, during 2017, 2.6 per cent of all those living in private households lived in overcrowded households. The overcrowding rate is defined by the number of rooms available in the household in relation to the household’s size and other demographics. Among owner occupied households, the overcrowding rate stood at 1.5 per cent, whereas the corresponding rate for persons living in rented dwellings was 7.8 per cent.

The overcrowding rate can also be observed in correlation with relative poverty, in that the overcrowding rate stood at 5.3 per cent for persons who were at-risk-of poverty or social exclusion, whereas this rate stood at 1.9 per cent for the rest of the population living in households. Results also show that the rates of monetary poverty and material deprivation were higher for persons living in overcrowded households, when compared to the rest of the target population.

More specifically, while the overall at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate stood at 19.2 per cent, it more than doubles (39.4 per cent) for those living in overcrowded households. Housing costs were perceived to be somewhat of a burden for 58.6 per cent of all persons living in households. A further 21.4 per cent considered these costs to be a heavy burden while, for the remaining 20.1 per cent, they were of no burden at all.

Furthermore 80.4 per cent of persons who were severely materially deprived consider the housing cost to be a heavy burden; this is by far the highest percentage in any group. In contrast, only 39.6 per cent of people at-risk-of poverty or social exclusion considered the housing cost to be a heavy burden.

The median housing cost burden indicator, which measures housing costs as a percentage of household disposable income, stood at 3.6 per cent. The portion of the population that is at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion has a median housing cost burden of 5.5 per cent. According to 27.0 per cent of respondents, pollution, grime or other environmental problems was the most common housing problem indicated by the responding households. The second most mentioned problem entailed noise from neighbours or from the street, which was experienced by 25.0 per cent of all households.

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