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English Housing Survey Celebrates 50 years

The English Housing Survey (EHS) is celebrating its 50th year and has today released findings from their anniversary report. To launch the report, the Department for Communities and Local Government are this morning hosting a special event to discuss the impact of the survey over the last 50 years.

The EHS began in 1967 as the English House Condition Survey and focused on physical conditions of dwellings such as whether homes had an indoor toilet. Subsequent surveys included face-to-face interviews making the ‘EHS one of the only surveys in the world that combines collection of information about physical conditions of the home with information about the personal circumstances of the people that live there’, giving a unique insight into important public issues not just those related to housing.

The report provides comparisons between 1967 and 2017 and is split into three chapters: comparing the policy context of the 1967 survey with today, comparing housing in 1967 with today, and comparing the EHS in 1967 with the survey today. The final chapter includes a discussion of the impact of the EHS.

The report findings illustrate the importance of the EHS in monitoring housing standards, housing stock, tenure, and in later years, heating and energy efficiency in England:

  • In 1967 25% of homes lacked one or more of the following basic amenities: a bath or shower, an indoor WC, a wash hand basin, hot and cold water at three points. By 1991, only 1% lacked one or more of these, and the number of homes that fail to meet this standard is now almost too small to measure.
  • In 1967, there were 14.8 million homes in England; roughly 14.4 million of these homes remain part of the housing stock today.
  • In 1967, half (51%) of the English housing stock was owner occupied, 29% was rented in the social rented sector, and 20% was privately rented. Fifty years later, 63% of the stock was owner occupied, 17% was in the social rented sector and 20% was privately rented.
  • While the 1967 EHS did not collect information on heating fuel or insulation, other sources indicate that in 1961 76% of homes used solid fuel and the number of homes that had any form of insulation was virtually zero. In 2015, less than 1% of homes relied on solid fuel for their main heating, 95% of homes have some double glazing, and 98% either have loft insulation or no loft.

Resources and support from the UK Data Service

The UK Data Service has supported researchers in accessing the EHS since it began with the deposit of the 1967 survey data. Data for the entire series are available to download from the UK Data Service including the most recent dataset English Housing Survey, 2015-2016: Household Data.

Two teaching datasets designed for use with teaching are also available: English Housing Survey, 2012-2013: Household Data Teaching Dataset and English Housing Survey, 2008-2009: Household Data Teaching Dataset.

To search for housing-related studies explore our key theme pages on Housing and local environment and to see the English Housing Survey in the news visit the UK Data Service page.

Read our case studies on Predicting the health risks of urban floods and Exploring housing/living conditions and attitudes to the local area.  If you would like to submit a case study showcasing the use of EHS contact or download the form.

50 years of the English Housing Survey report| English Housing Survey Series page