Housing and Social Exclusion

Author(s): Deirdre Heenan and Katrina Lloyd
Document Type: Chapter
Year: 2002
Title of Publication: Social Attitudes in Northern Ireland: The Eighth Report
Editor(s): Ann Marie Gray, Katrina Lloyd, Paula Devine, Gillian Robinson and Deirdre Heenan
Publisher: Pluto Press
Place of Publication: London
ISBN: 0 7453 1911 4
Pages: 102-119
Subject Area(s): Housing, Economic Issues

Abbreviations: NILT - Northern Ireland Life and Times, NI - Northern Ireland, NIHE - Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Background to the Research

  • Within the social sciences, concepts and theories move in and out of vogue. Rarely, though, have any been accepted as wholeheartedly as social exclusion. It has been hailed as the key to our understanding of poverty, inequality and disadvantage.
  • Targeting social need and promoting social inclusion have become key policy areas in Britain and NI. Government accepts that there is inequality in relation to housing, health and education, which has important social, economic and political consequences.
  • The chapter uses survey data to assess the relationship between social exclusion and housing tenure.

Research Approach

  • The data used by the authors come from the 1998 NILT survey which began in 1998 and is carried out annually.
  • Each year, interviews are carried out with a random selection of adults (aged 18 years and over) who live in private households in NI.
  • The sample size for the 1998 NILT survey was 1,800.

Main Findings

  • Respondents who live in the social rented sector are more likely to be housed in segregated areas than homeowners or those who rent their homes from private landlords.
  • There is a concentration of low-income households in the social rented sector (NIHE and housing association) while high earning households are concentrated in the owner occupied sector.
  • Only 7% of respondents living in social rented properties have an annual income of 10,000 or more.
  • Only one quarter of respondents who live in the social rented sector have jobs compared with 61% of owner occupiers.
  • 29% of respondents in receipt of Income Support live in the social rented sector compared to just 3 per cent of owner occupiers.
  • Many more respondents who live in social rented accommodation (34%) than homeowners (1%) say that they receive Housing Benefit.
  • Tenure status is closely associated with social class, as measured by respondents' present or most recent job. Owner occupiers tend to be concentrated in the professional, managerial and technical occupations with social rented sector tenants much more likely to be employed in partly skilled or unskilled manual jobs.
  • Almost one third (30%) of respondents who live in social rented properties have a long-standing health problem or disability, compared with just 14% of respondents from the owner occupied sector.
  • Less than half as many respondents who live in the social rented sector as those who live in the owner occupied sector have some educational qualifications (32% compared with 65%).
  • Respondents who live in the social rented sector are up to five times more likely than are respondents from other sectors to be separated, divorced or widowed.
  • However, data reported by the NIHE showed that housimg unfitness was lower in the social rented sector than in the owner occupied sector.
  • The findings from the NILT survey and the figures reported by the NIHE highlight the complex nature of the relationship between housing and deprivation and suggest that in NI, the causes of social inequality are largely unrelated to physical housing conditions.



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