Constructing a housing precariousness measure for Europe

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

May 31, 2018


There are concerns that the recovery from the Great Recession in Europe has left growing numbers of people facing precarious housing situations. Yet to our knowledge there is no comparative measure of housing precariousness, in contrast with an extensive body of work on labour market precariousness. Here we draw on a comparative survey of 31 European countries from the 2012 wave of European Union Survey of Income and Living Conditions to develop a novel Housing Precariousness Measure. We integrate four dimensions of housing precariousness: security, affordability, quality and access to services, into a scale ranging from 0 (not at all precarious) to 4 (most precarious). Over half of the European population report at least one element of housing precariousness; 14.7% report two dimensions and 2.8% three or more (equivalent to ~15 million people). Eastern European and small island nations have relatively greater precariousness scores. Worse precariousness tends to be more severe among the young, unemployed, single, and those with low educational attainment or who live in rented homes, and is associated with poor self-reported health. Future research is needed to strengthen surveillance of housing precariousness as well as to understand what policies and programmes can help alleviate it.

Published in

Journal of European Social Policy








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