The number of households receiving general housing allowance at the end of December analysed by type of household.
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.
General housing allowance payments are made primarily to households consisting of persons of working age. Pensioners living alone or together with a spouse or partner are covered by a separate scheme providing housing allowances for pensioners.
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. Students are behind much of the fluctuation in the number of recipients, having at certain times been covered by the general housing allowance scheme and at others by a separate housing supplement scheme for students. In August 2017, all students renting their accommodation were transferred into the general housing allowance scheme, which increased the number of recipient households by nearly 120,000. Between 2000 and 2016, only student families with children and students who owned their residence were covered by the general housing allowance scheme. Before 2000, also students who were married or cohabiting or who lived in communal households were eligible for general housing allowance.