Living in satisfactory housing conditions is one of the most important aspects of people’s lives. Housing is essential to meet basic needs, such as shelter, but it is not just a question of four walls and a roof. Housing should offer a place to sleep and rest where people feel safe and have privacy and personal space; somewhere they can raise a family. All of these elements help make a house a home. And of course there is the question whether people can afford adequate housing.
The vast majority of OECD households, 87%, are satisfied with their housing. In Germany, Ireland, Spain and Belgium more than 93% of households expressed satisfaction, while the level was below 75% in Korea, Turkey and the Russian Federation. These satisfaction levels are close to the results given by objective indicators of housing conditions.
Rooms per Person, Dwellings with Basic Facilities
In addition to measuring satisfaction with people’s current homes, it is also important to examine living conditions, such as the average number of rooms shared per person and whether dwellings have access to basic facilities.
The number of rooms in a dwelling, divided by the number of persons living there, indicates whether residents are living in crowded conditions. Overcrowded housing may have a negative impact on physical and mental health, relations with others and children’s development. In addition, dense living conditions are often a sign of inadequate water and sewage supply. In the OECD, the average home contains 1.6 rooms per person. In terms of basic facilities, 97.8% of people across the OECD live in dwellings with private access to an indoor flushing toilet.
Housing costs take up a large share of the household budget and represent the largest single expenditure for many individuals and families, by the time you add up elements such as rent, gas, electricity, water, furniture or repairs. In the OECD, households on average spend 21% of their gross adjusted disposable income on keeping a roof over their heads. The level of housing costs in household budgets varies from 27% in Greece to less than 16% in Korea. In the Russian Federation, spending on housing accounts for just 11% of the household budget.