news | 07.12.2018 |

Visualising the UK Private Rented Sector

Announcing the release of our Poverty and Housing Tenure Data Explorer.

Private renting has experienced rapid growth in the UK over the last two decades, more than doubling its share within the housing system. This revival has given rise to the term ‘Generation Rent’, which refers to young adults remaining in the private rented sector due to being less likely to be able to purchase their own homes than previous generations were at the same age.

Much less widely recognised is how these changes have affected those on low incomes. UBDC Director Nick Bailey has analysed survey data for the last 23 years, covering 1.3 million individuals. He shows that the rise in private renting has had a disproportionate impact on those in poverty.

  • Privately rented accommodation is now home to more poor adults under 40 than owner occupation and social renting combined.
  • One in three children in poverty (36 per cent) now lives in private renting, three times the level of 20 years ago.
  • For both adults and children, rates are even higher in London and the South.

UBDC has developed a visualisation tool to allow people to examine these data in more detail than could be presented in a single research paper. It allows trends between regions to be compared and provides the opportunity to examine how different measures of poverty affect the results. For people with colour vision impairment, it also allows users to vary the colour scheme to find one that suits them.

Screenshot of Poverty and Housing Tenure Data Explorer

Commenting on the data explorer, Nick Bailey said “Visualisation tools like this can reveal important social trends which lie hidden in large and complex datasets. They make the data accessible to a much wider audience, and are a powerful means to open up the discussion about what is going on in our society. This is an important part of the mission of the Urban Big Data Centre, and it demonstrates very well the value of the collaborations we promote between social scientists and data scientists.”

A paper reporting the results of the analysis will also be available soon.

The data explorer was created by Obinna Anejionu and Marta Nicholson at the Urban Big Data Centre, building on work by Jon Minton at the University of Glasgow. The data behind the explorer come from the UK Government's Family Resources Survey (FRS) and the associated Households Below Average Income (HBAI) datasets. Both were accessed from the UK Data Service.

The dataset for the visualiser was produced by aggregating the original data by tenure, region and poverty status, for each year of age and year of survey. The aggregated dataset is also available to download from the explorer. The code used to produce the data will be deposited with the UK Data Service.

The data explorer was announced in a presentation by Nick Bailey at the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence’s seminar on Poverty in the Private Rented Sector earlier today and is now available to access via the UBDC website.


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