1 in 10 people in Germany live in too small a home, Destatis finds

1 in 10 people in Germany live in too small a home, Destatis finds

Figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) have revealed that 1 in 10 people in Germany live in a house which is too small, with children being the worst affected group.

9,5 million people in Germany live in too small a space

The number of people who live in a space which is too small has risen in Germany, figures from Destatis have revealed.

According to the latest numbers, 9,5 million people in Germany live in an overcrowded space, just over one in 10 people. Children are worst affected by the situation; 18 percent of them live in too small a space, compared to just 3 percent of older people. The situation is even worse in German cities, where every sixth inhabitant doesn’t have their own bedroom.

Authorities define a home as overcrowded when there is no communal room available, and when less than one room is available for each couple or for each person over the age of 18. A home is also considered overcrowded when three or more children under 12 or two children of different genders between the ages of 12 and 17 must share a room.

Should Germany look to Austria’s housing swap policy?

Amid the worst housing shortage in 20 years, Germany must find a solution to its lack of affordable housing. Among the suggested solutions is making it easier for families living in overcrowded quarters to swap houses with older people who have more room than necessary.

In recent years, more renters in Germany have turned to house swapping as a solution when looking for somewhere new to live, since brand-new contracts often come with a significant rent increase. As a result, platforms like have seen an uptick in the number of users; 5.300 long-term swaps were settled on the platform in the past two years.

In response to demand, the cities of Düsseldorf, Munich and Freiburg have set up their own online house swap boards. But since tenants are at the whim of landlords to permit them to swap contracts, hurdles remain before widespread swaps can be named as a serious solution to Germany’s housing problem.

In September 2023, the German Left Party suggested that the federal republic look to Austria for its next step. In 1982, the neighbouring country enshrined a law which entitles tenants to swap houses and maintain the terms of existing rental agreements, so that rent cannot be hiked during a swap.

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Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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