Last edited 17 Nov 2019

Household definition

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According to the Household Projections: England prepared by the Department for Communities and Local Government, a household, as defined in the 2011 Census is:

‘one person living alone; or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room or sitting room or dining area’.

The previous definition used in the 2001 Census was:

‘one person living alone or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address with common housekeeping – that is, sharing either a living room or sitting room or at least one meal a day’.

The definition was altered to take into account social changes and modern living arrangements.

The National Statistics harmonised survey definition of a household is:

One person or a group of people who have the accommodation as their only or main residence AND (for a group):

The occupant(s) of a bedsit who do not share a sitting or living room with anyone else comprise a single household.

NB: From April 2001, Government surveys, replaced the traditional concept of the "head of the household" (HOH) with a "household reference person" (HRP). See household reference person for more information.

In July 2018, an NHBC report, 'The changing shape of UK households' published the following key facts about UK households in 2017:

  • £3.4 milion – number of households with 20 to 34-year olds living with parents.
  • 57% - proportion of households consisting of just one or two adults.
  • 39% - proportion of households with children.
  • 4%- proportion of other household types, eg. House share, multigenerational living.
  • 28% - proportion of people living alone.
  • 10% - proportion of single-parent families.


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