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Occupancy rating

  • Mnemonic reference


  • Applicability


  • Type

    Derived variable


Occupancy rating provides a measure of whether a household’s accommodation is overcrowded or under-occupied and gives an indication of how many households may be living in overcrowded conditions.

The occupancy rating of a household is calculated by subtracting the notional number of rooms required from the actual number of rooms (ROOMS).

The ages of the household members and their relationships to each other are used to derive the notional number of rooms they require, based on a standard formula.

The total room requirements for a multi-person household are:

  1. One room per couple or lone parent.
  2. One room per person aged 16 and above who is not a lone parent or in a couple.
  3. One room for every two males aged 10-15, rounded down.
  4. One room for every pair of males of whom one is aged 10-15 and one is aged 0-9, if there are an odd number of males aged 10-15.
  5. One room for a remaining unpaired male aged 10-15 if there are no males aged 0-9 to pair him with.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for females.
  7. One room for every two remaining children aged 0-9 (regardless of gender), rounded up.
  8. Add two rooms to this total.

Example 1

Based on the requirements, a one-person household requires three rooms in total. This is based on step 1 and 8.

Example 2

This example is based on a household with two parents with male children aged 17, 13, and 8, and two female children both aged 11:

  1. One room for the two parents. [Running total =1]
  2. One room for the 17-year-old. [Running total =2]
  3. There is one male aged 10-15, so this count is zero (0.5 is rounded down). [Running total = 2]
  4. One room for the 13-year-old paired with the 8-year-old. [Running total =3]
  5. There are no remaining unpaired males aged 10-15. [Running total =3]
  6. One room for the two female 11-year-olds. [Running total =4]
  7. There are no remaining children aged 0-9. [Running total =4]
  8. Add two. [Total =6]

This household requires six rooms in total.

The number of rooms required is subtracted from the number of rooms in the household's accommodation to obtain the occupancy rating.

An occupancy rating of -1 implies that a household has one fewer room than required, whereas +1 implies that they have one more room than the standard requirement.


Total number of categories 6

Code Name
-2 At least 2 rooms less than the basic standard
-1 1 room less than the basic standard
0 Meets the basic standard
1 1 room more than the basic standard
2 At least 2 rooms more than the basic standard
x No code required - comprises household spaces with no usual residents

Source question or variables

ROOMS (Primary variable)

ROOMREQHUK11 (Derived variable)

Known Quality Issues

This variable relies on relationship data, which include some known quality issues.  These are summarised on the Data Quality Issues Page.