Rooms per Person

Why is this important?

Living in satisfactory housing conditions is one of the most important aspects of people’s lives, and lack of quality housing can affect health, stability, education, employment, and well-being. Living conditions, like the amount of space each resident has, are important in understanding the overall quality of housing and its important implications on quality of life [i].

The number of rooms or bedrooms in a dwelling, divided by the number of persons living there, indicates whether residents are living in crowded conditions. Both bedrooms and rooms effectively capture overcrowding, but as a societal norm, bedrooms are the area where privacy concerns are most focused [ii]. Overcrowded housing may have a negative impact on physical and mental health, relations with others, and children’s development. In addition, dense living conditions are often a sign of inadequate water and sewage supply [ii]. Over half of families living in poverty experience multiple hardships each year, including overcrowded housing, so disproportionately low rooms and bedrooms per person may be indicative of other economic hardships [iii].


[i] Better Life Index, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

[ii] Measuring Overcrowding in Housing, HUD, 2007.

[iii] Hunger, Crowding, and Other Hardships Are Widespread Among Families in Poverty, Center on Budget and Policy Perspectives, 2004.