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England and Wales




Occupancy rating,Rooms

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About this dataset

This dataset provides Census 2021 estimates that classify households in England and Wales by occupancy rating based on the number of rooms in the household. The estimates are as at Census Day, 21 March 2021.

National Park data are created by plotting unique properties as identified by their Unique Property Reference Number or postcodes into National Park boundaries current at December 2022. This differs from the OA best fit methodology used for other geographic level data.

Protecting personal data

Sometimes we need to make changes to data if it is possible to identify individuals. This is known as statistical disclosure control. In Census 2021, we:

  • Swapped records (targeted record swapping), for example, if a household was likely to be identified in datasets because it has unusual characteristics, we swapped the record with a similar one from a nearby small area. Very unusual households could be swapped with one in a nearby local authority.
  • Added small changes to some counts (cell key perturbation), for example, we might change a count of four to a three or a five. This might make small differences between tables depending on how the data are broken down when we applied perturbation.

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About the variables

Occupancy rating for rooms (6 categories)

Description: Whether a household's accommodation is overcrowded, ideally occupied or under-occupied. This is calculated by comparing the number of rooms the household requires to the number of available rooms.

The number of rooms the household requires uses a formula which states that: * one-person households require three rooms comprised of two common rooms and one bedroom * two-or-more person households require a minimum of two common rooms and a bedroom for each person inline with the Bedroom Standard

People who should have their own room according to the Bedroom Standard are: * 1. married or cohabiting couple * 2. single parent * 3. person aged 16 years and over * 4. pair of same-sex persons aged 10 to 15 years * 5. person aged 10 to 15 years paired with a person under 10 years of the same sex * 6. pair of children aged under 10 years, regardless of their sex * 7. person aged under 16 years who cannot share a bedroom with someone in 4, 5 or 6 above

An occupancy rating of: * -1 or less: implies that a household's accommodation has fewer rooms than required (overcrowded) * +1 or more: implies that a household's accommodation has more rooms than required (under-occupied) * 0: suggests that a household's accommodation has an ideal number of rooms

The number of rooms is taken from Valuation Office Agency (VOA) administrative data for the first time in 2021. The number of rooms is recorded at the address level, whilst the 2011 Census recorded the number of rooms at the household level. This means that for households that live in a shared dwelling, the available number of rooms are counted for the whole dwelling in VOA, and not each individual household.

VOA's definition of a room does not include bathrooms, toilets, halls or landings, kitchens, conservatories or utility rooms. All other rooms, for example, living rooms, studies, bedrooms, separate dining rooms and rooms that can only be used for storage are included. Please note that the 2011 Census question included kitchens, conservatories and utility rooms while excluding rooms that can only be used for storage. To adjust for the definitional difference, the number of rooms required is deducted from the actual number of rooms it has available, and then 1 is added.

Quality information: It is inappropriate to measure change in number of rooms from 2011 to 2021, as Census 2021 used Valuation Office Agency data for this variable. Instead use Census 2021 estimates for number of bedrooms for comparisons over time.

Comparability with 2011: Not comparable. This variable cannot be compared with the variable used in the 2011 Census. This is because in Census 2021 the data are collected using administrative data instead of data from Census 2021.


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