Black and minority ethnic communities' experience of overcrowding

Author(s): Adrian Jones;  

Briefing series: Better Housing Briefing Paper 16

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: August 2010


Black and minority ethnic communities' experience of overcrowding
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The issue of overcrowding, how it can be defined and what steps can be can be taken to resolve it, has been recognised as a major, and increasing, problem. This briefing paper examines this issue with a particular focus on the experience of black and minority ethnic communities, considering issues such as the definition of overcrowding; the impact of overcrowding on health and life prospects, and possible solutions to overcrowding.

Key messages:

  • The definitions used for 'overcrowding' are out of date
  • Overcrowding is a growing problem, especially in the private rented sector
  • There are insufficient larger homes to address existing needs
  • Overcrowding has negative impacts in terms of health, education and family relationships
  • Black and minority ethnic households are more likely than white households to be living in overcrowded conditions – this is particularly the case for Bangladeshi and Black African households
  • A number of measures have been identified that could help to address overcrowding.


  • What is meant by 'overcrowding'?
  • Why is overcrowding increasing?
  • The national picture
  • Impacts of overcrowding
  • Overcrowding and black and minority ethnic households
  • Remedial measures