Posted on: 24 February 2023

Since the last census, the number of households in England and Wales has increased by more than 1.4 million. 

For this census release, we have taken a deep dive into the housing situation in 2021.

Accommodation type

Almost 8 in 10 of the 24.8 million households in England and Wales now live in houses or bungalows.

Since the last census, the number of households living in flats, maisonettes or apartments has increase by over half a mission, from 21% in 2011 to 21.7% in 2021.

0.4% of households lived in a caravan, or other mobile or temporary structure. This represents 104,000 households.

Across England and Wales, the proportion of households living in each accommodation type is mostly similar. London is, however, the exception. Over half of London households live in a flat, maisonette or apartment, which is significantly higher than all other regions in England (ranging from 11.4% to 21.6%) and Wales (12.5%).


The census also asks households whether they rent or own their accommodation. The results for 2021 shows that there has been an overall decrease in the proportion of households that own their accommodation, from 64.3% in 2011 to 62.5%.

Subsequently, there has been an increase in those that rent, increasing to 9.3 million households in 2021.

Of those who rent, 5 million rent privately, whilst 4.2 million rent in the social sector, through local councils or housing associations.

A greater proportion of those who own their accommodation do so outright, with 8.1 million households living in accommodation without a mortgage. 7.4 million households own their accommodation with a mortgage or loan, or through shared ownership.

Home ownership rates are higher in Wales than in England (66.4% compared to 62.3%). 

The South East and South West were the two regions with the highest rates of overall home ownership, whilst London had the lowest level of ownership, and the highest rate of private renters.

In Wales, Monmouthshire was the local authority with the highest proportion of households that owned their own homes (72.3%), whilst Torfaen had the highest percentage of households in the social rented sector (23.8%).

Rooms, bedrooms, and occupancy rating

For the 2021 census, Valuation Office Agency data was used to count the number of rooms in a dwelling. 

This data counts all rooms in a dwelling, excluding bathrooms, toilets, halls or landings, kitchens, conservatories, or utility rooms.

From this data, the 2021 census found that 10.9% of households have one or two rooms, 74.1% have three, four or five rooms, and 13.9% have six, seven or eight rooms. The remaining 1.1% had nine rooms or more.

The census did ask respondents about the number of bedrooms. It was found that 4.3% of households had fewer bedrooms than required, whilst 69.2% of households had more bedrooms than required.

England had a higher rate of overcrowding than Wales, with 76.3% of households in Wales having more bedrooms than required.