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Young people three times more likely to live in poor quality housing – research

15 Apr 2023 2 minute read
Black mould photo by Chaymation is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Around a quarter of young people are living in damp, cold, or unclean housing which risks making them sick, new data has revealed.

Research by the think tank Resolution Foundation found that 26% of 18 to 24-year-olds live in buildings plagued by damp, without electricity, heating, or plumbing, or which are in a state of disrepair.

Around one-in-six adults aged 34 and under – 2.6 million people – have poor quality housing, which is three times higher than those over 45.

The study also found that people living in subpar housing are twice as likely to experience ill health.

As many as 16% of people in poor quality housing suffer from bad mental health and 9% have poor physical health.

People from Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds are the most likely to report poor home living standards (36%), followed by 26% of black families, the study found.

And the poorest fifth of families are more than five times as likely to report living in poor quality housing than middle or higher-income households.

Because of the prevalence of these groups in London, people living in the English capital are twice as likely to live in poor housing as those in Scotland, the study claimed.


The study, which used data from YouGov, also found that renters were more likely to struggle paying their bills.

It showed that 15% of people in social housing and 10% of private renters had fallen behind on their housing costs in the past three months, compared with just 4% of homeowners.

Reflecting on the findings, Lalitha Try, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said the country was “blighted” by a twin crisis of unaffordable and low quality housing.

“The UK is blighted by two housing crises,” she said.

“High housing costs are causing many renters in particular to fall behind on housing payments, while poor quality housing is leaving millions of people having to deal with damp and malfunctioning heating, plumbing and electrics.

“High costs and poor housing quality can make life miserable for people, and can damage both their personal finances and their wider health.

“It is critical that policy makers tackle both of these crises – by building new affordable housing, and improving the quality of the housing stock we already have.”

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