Latvian homes among Europe's most overcrowded and deprived

In 2020, 17.5% of the EU population lived in overcrowded households, meaning they did not have enough rooms for the number of people in the household, their family situation and their ages, according to Eurostat data published June 16. 

"Lack of space in overcrowding households is amplified by having kids playing in the same room as parents trying to telework during the coronavirus lockdowns. Moreover, overcrowded environments can present a higher risk of spreading the virus," said Eurostat.

Unfortunately, Latvia's rate of overcrowding is among the worst. To be specific, the second-worst. Among EU Member States, almost half the population in Romania (45.1%) were living in overcrowded households in 2020. This was also the case for around two in every five persons in Latvia (42.5%), Bulgaria (39.5%), Poland (36.9%) and Croatia (36.2%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest overcrowding rates were recorded in Cyprus (2.5%), Ireland (3.2%), Malta (4.2%) and the Netherlands (4.8%). 

Overcrowding in EU, 2020

"The overcrowding rate was higher in most of the eastern and Baltic Member States, and in Greece and Italy, while it was generally lower in the western and Nordic Member States as well as in other southern Member States," said Eurostat.

The majority of Latvia's population lives in apartments (flats). The share of persons living in flats ranged from 9.0 % in Ireland and 20.8 % in the Netherlands, to more than three out of every five people in Estonia (61.3 %), Latvia (65.4 %) and Spain (66.1 %). Also, in Switzerland, the majority of the population lived in flats (63.1 %).

Severe housing deprivation

Across the EU as a whole, 4.3 % of the population suffered from what is termed "severe housing deprivation" in 2020. The severe housing deprivation rate is defined as the percentage of the population living in a dwelling which is considered to be overcrowded, while having at the same time at least one more housing deprivation measures. Apart from the space constraints, these people lack easy access to a bath or a toilet, or have a leaking roof in the dwelling, or a dwelling considered to be too dark.

Again, Latvia features in second place in this indicator behind only Romania.

Severe housing deprivation, 2020

"There were two EU Member States where more than 1 in 10 of the population faced severe housing deprivation in 2020: Latvia recorded a rate of 11.5 % and Romania a rate of 14.3 %. This situation was also observed in Turkey, Montenegro and Albania. By contrast, 1 % of the population faced severe housing deprivation in 2020 in Malta and Finland," said Eurostat.

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