Most low income households live in cities

Three out of five households with incomes below the low-income limit live in a city, compared with half of households with more money at their disposal. Particularly many low-income households live in city outskirts. Over half live in a flat or other multi-family block. These districts also house relatively many families with children who have to make ends meet on a small income.

More lower incomes rent than buy their homes

Over half of low-income households are single households. Irrespective of their income, single people more often live in a flat than households with more people. These singles are mostly younger people who have just left home and older people who are alone again after the decease of their partner and move to smaller accommodation.

As in addition relatively more flats than houses can be rented as opposed to purchased, and more low-income households rent than buy their accommodation, households with a low income more often live in a flat than households with higher incomes. In spite of this, nearly half of low-income households live in a one-family house.

Households in flats, 1998
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Older houses

Households with a low income are slightly overrepresented in houses built before 1970. Newly built homes, on the other hand, are relatively rarely occupied by these households. New homes are more often owner-occupied houses and therefore attract households in the higher income classes.

Although older houses need not by definition be inferior, there certainly does seem to be a correlation between the extent of maintenance and the age of a house. Households under the low income limit therefore more often live in houses that have not always undergone the proper maintenance and in houses without provisions such as insulation.

Still satisfied

Although households with a low income more often live in dwellings of a lower quality and in less attractive neighbourhoods, more than three-quarters are satisfied with their homes. However, for all types of dwelling, households below the low-income limit are slightly less satisfied than other households.

Low-income households spend proportionally more of their income on housing than households with higher incomes: on average 29% of their income, compared with 17% for households with higher incomes.

Gusta van Gessel-Dabekaussen