General housing allowance: Recipient households
|Updated: 16.12.2016 - Next update: 15.12.2017|
A total of 267,356 households were in receipt of the general housing allowance as of December 2016, 9% more than in the previous year. There was exceptionally rapid growth in the number of recipients during 2015 partly because of changes in legislation. This increase continued in 2016, though at a slower pace. Higher rates of long-term unemployment were among the factors contributing to growth in the number of housing allowance recipients.
As of December 2016, one-person households accounted for 57% of all households in receipt of general housing allowance. The number of recipients increased at a similar rate in 2016 across all types of households.
Comparable data on the number of households receiving general housing allowance exists from the year 2000 onwards. Prior to 2000, the recipient population included a large proportion of students, who now are covered by the student housing supplement scheme. The number of households in receipt of general housing allowance reached a record high in December 2016, even exceeding the levels seen during the economic depression of the 1990s. For the first time ever, the number of recipient households rose above 250,000.
Description of indicator
The indicator represents the trend in the number of low-income households whose housing costs are subsidised by the government. It also shows the percentage of certain groups, including families with children, as a share of the total recipient population.
The general housing allowance is mainly provided to economically active households, not to pensioners or, as a general rule, students.
The number of recipient households typically rises during economic downturns. A number of legislative amendments have also had an impact on the number of housing allowance recipients. For example, students who were married, cohabiting or living in a communal household were in the year 2000 removed from the scope of the general housing allowance scheme and moved to the student housing supplement scheme.