• 21% of people in the bottom 20% of the income distribution lived in non-decent housing in 2017/18, compared with 16% of those in the top 20% of the income distribution.
  • Single adults, particularly those older than 60 years, were most likely to live in non-decent housing.

This chart shows the proportion of households in England by the given demographics in non-decent homes in 2018.

Non-decent homes are those with a hazard of immediate threat to a person’s health, not in reasonable state of repair, lacking modern facilities or not effectively insulated or heated. Non-decent housing can directly affect a person’s health. For instance, poorly insulated homes can lead to cold and damp homes, which are associated with a range of health problems. A non-decent home can also have hazards that directly injure health, such as faulty wiring or trip hazards.

In 2018, 17.3% of households in England were classed as non-decent.

  • 20.4% of households in the bottom 20% of the income distribution lived in non-decent homes, 4.3 percentage points higher than those living in the top 20% of the income distribution.

  • 20.3% of households in poverty lived in a non-decent home, compared to 16.7% of households not in poverty.

  • People living alone (particularly those older than 60 years) and those living in a multi-person household, where the adults are not related or in a relationship, were the most likely to be residing in a non-decent home.

Those living on a low income are more likely to live in a non-decent home, which poses a risk for health. This highlights how different risk factors for health can accumulate: both a low income and a non-decent home can affect health separately, but often coincide.

  • Non-decent homes are defined as those with a Category 1 hazard – as assessed by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) – that are not in a reasonable state of repair, lack reasonably modern facilities or do not provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.

Source: Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, English Housing Survey, 2017/18.

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