Seven in ten persons were living in under-occupied dwellings in Malta, Cyprus and Ireland in 2019, a Eurostat study found.
In such cases, the dwellings were deemed to be too large, in terms of excess rooms and more specifically bedrooms, for the needs of the household living in it.
Across the European Union, the figure stands at 32.7% or almost one in three persons were living in under-occupied dwellings in 2019.
According to the figures published by Eurostat, 72.6% or almost three quarters of the population were living in under-occupied dwellings in Malta, followed by Cyprus (70.5%) and Ireland (69.6%).
In contrast, the overcrowding rates recorded for Malta, Cyprus, and Ireland were on the lower end of the scale with 3.7%, 2.2% and 3.2% respectively.
The same report shows that in Spain (55.4%), Luxembourg (54.0%), Belgium (53.9%) and the Netherlands (53.4%) more than half of the population were living in dwellings deemed too large.
From 2018 to 2019, the share of the population living in under-occupied dwellings decreased in most of these countries except in Luxembourg which recorded a small rise (+0.3 percentage points), while the most pronounced drop was in Belgium (-4.7 percentage points).
The study shows that less than 15% of the population were living in dwellings deemed to be too large in Romania (7.7%), Latvia (9.6%), Greece (10.7%), Bulgaria (11.5%), Croatia (12.0%), Slovakia (14.0%) and Italy (14.2%).
17.2% of EU population were living in overcrowded households
In 2019, 17.2% of the population within the European Union were living in overcrowded households. This means that they did not have enough rooms when compared to the size of the household.
Overcrowded households can feel even smaller with kids playing in the same room as parents trying to telework during the coronavirus lockdown. Such environments can present a higher risk of spreading the virus.
Almost half the population in Romania (45.8%) were living in overcrowded in 2019. This was also the case for around two in every five persons in Latvia (42.2%), Bulgaria (41.1%), Croatia (38.5%) and Poland (37.6%).
When compared to the previous year, the share of the population living in overcrowded dwellings fell slightly in all of these countries, with the strongest fall recorded in Poland. (-1.6 percentage points).