Data blog: Newham has the highest percentage of 'concealed families' in the country

By Giles Broadbent on February 7, 2014 3:50 PM |



Nearly 300,000 families are sharing homes with other families, possibly a further indicator of how the cost of housing is making it hard for families to afford a home of their own.

There has been a 70% increase in concealed families between 2001 and 2011 compared to a 6.6% increase in unconcealed families. Newham has the highest percentage of concealed families in the country.

See our graphics below to compare figures.

In detail
The latest census analysis reveals there were 289,000 concealed families in 2011, making up 1.8% of all families (15.8million) in England and Wales.

A concealed family is a family living in a multi-family household, in addition to the primary family. Concealed family statistics are a useful indicator of housing demand for house building and planning in the future.

A concealed family can be a couple (with or without children) or a lone parent; an adult child living without a partner or child is not a family.

63% of concealed families were couples (with or without children), and these included young couples living with their parents and older couples living with an adult child and their family.

Lone parent families with dependent children were the most frequently concealed family type in both 2001 and 2011, making up 3.3% and 4.3% respectively of all lone parent families with dependent children.

These were a very young family category with 40% of Family Reference Persons (FRPs) aged under 25.

Lone parent families accounted for 37% of concealed families in England and Wales in 2011, with the majority (79%) including dependent children.

There has been a 70% increase in concealed families between 2001 and 2011, compared with a 6.6% increase in unconcealed families.

Previous ONS research using Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, noted an increase in multi-family households in the UK, of 39% between 2003 and 2013.

Reasons for this increase in concealed families can differ between region and age group. Economic reasons include rising house prices in relation to earnings.

There may also be cultural traditions, including multi-generational households. Many areas with higher proportions of the population of non-white or mixed ethnic group also have higher proportions of concealed families.

Concealed family proportions may relate to cultural differences in familial ties between ethnic groups. Within England and Wales, 'other households' are more than twice as likely to have a HRP of non-white or mixed ethnic group (24 per cent) compared with all households (11 per cent).

The ten LAs with the highest proportions of concealed families shown also have the highest proportions of the population identifying with a non-white ethnic group; high proportions of the population of these areas identified as Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi.

The high proportions of concealed families in these areas may be a result of closer familial ties in Asian cultures.

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