Irish houses among the least populated in Europe

Irish homes are among the least crowded in the EU, with plenty of space for adults to work or children to play without being on top of each other.

Data from Eurostat, the data analysis wing of the European Commission, shows that in 2020, 17.5% of the EU population lived in overcrowded households.

Overcrowded, according to Eurostat’s definition, means that they did not have enough rooms in the dwelling for the number of people in the household, their marital status and their age.

Factors include one room for each single person aged 18 or over, one room per single pair of same-sex persons between 12 and 17, or one room per pair of children under 12.

“Le manque d’espace dans les ménages surpeuplés est amplifié par le fait que les enfants jouent dans la même pièce que les parents essayant de télétravailler pendant les fermetures de coronavirus. De plus, les environnements surpeuplés peuvent présenter un risque plus élevé de propagation du virus,” he said.

Most Irish households are far more comfortable than their EU counterparts, the data shows.

The lowest overcrowding rates in the bloc were recorded in Cyprus (2.5%), Ireland (3.2%), Malta (4.2%) and the Netherlands (4.8%), according to Eurostat.

In contrast, more than 45% of Romania’s population lived in overcrowded households in 2020, along with around two in five Latvians and Bulgarians and around a third of Poles and Croats.

Housing costs

Despite Irish people’s perception that housing costs can sometimes be overwhelming, many EU citizens are feeling the pressure much more, the data shows.

When it comes to the so-called ‘housing cost overburden rate’, Ireland is in the lowest bracket of 5% or less – in contrast to the nationally hardest hit households in Greece, where a third are overloaded with household expenses.

Housing cost overburden refers to the percentage of the population living in households that spend 40% or more of their disposable income on housing.

The average for people in such a position was 7.8% in the EU in 2020, with big differences between member states, Eurostat said.

“Rates below 5% were recorded in 13 Member States, with the lowest shares in Cyprus (1.9%), Lithuania (2.7%), Malta (2.8%) and Slovakia (3.2%).

“At the other end of the scale, rates above 10% were recorded in Denmark (14.1%) and Bulgaria (14.4%), with the highest rate recorded in Greece (33, 3%),” he said.

Mary I. Bruner