Housing Well Being and Social Inequality in Europe: A Comparative Analysis

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Manuela OLAGNERO , Cultures, Politics and Society, University of Turin, TURIN, Italy
Marianna FILANDRI , University of Milan Bicocca, MILAN, Italy
Two phenomena characterize, in a seeming contradiction, housing conditions in Europe over the last three decades: on the one hand there has been an extension of home ownership and the spread of a high standard of living, on the other hand there is an increase in housing costs and in social inequality. Though around three quarters of Europe’s citizens own their home, the costs of accessing and maintaining a home have continued to rise and cannot only jeopardize housing security and quality, but can also stand in the way of life projects.

The paradox is that home ownership does not exclude housing deprivation.

The hypothesis is that households’ social class plays a role in enabling owners to combine home ownership and well-being.

On the basis of Eu-Silc (European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions) data a comparative analysis is carried out about housing conditions in European countries by focusing on social class. This perspective provides further insights about the divergence/convergence hypotheses stemming from the analysis of trends of living/housing conditions throughout Europe.

To support this claim, two main dimensions of housing inequality are identified: tenure and housing well-being. A micro level data analysis is performed, in order to take account of individual and family costs of access and maintenance of ownership in settings and in periods (such as the present day) of rising housing prices and income resources that decrease in terms of amount and stability. The aim is to demonstrate that, despite differences in well-being in Europe between owners and non-owners (on the average the firsts are better off), home owners cannot be regarded as a privileged category per se. Italy represents a paradigmatic case in this respect: a longitudinal analysis (2005-2012) will be provided to investigate the crisis effect on facing housing costs.