Housing conditions, 2005-2010: a mild improvement, less visible for low-income households
One out of three French households own their main residence outright in 2010, unburdened by loan repayments. This proportion is structurally higher for the over 65s and households earning above the median income-a pattern that has consolidated since 2005. The mean surface area per person came to 41 sq.m. in 2010. The 2005-2010 increase was minimal compared with the previous twenty years, but the situation varies significantly according to household composition. People living alone have an average 73 sq.m. of dwelling space, twice the 36 sq.m. per person for households with more than one member. In 2010, 7% of households comprising two or more members are living in overcrowded dwellings. The proportion rises to 33% for large families with three or more children. On balance, overcrowding has declined in the five-year period. The exception is low-income households, among whom the share of overcrowded dwellings rose from 16% to 19%. Nearly all households enjoy basic sanitation. Low-income households and households living in old dwellings are less well housed than the other categories. Almost 30% of public-housing tenants report crime-related problems in their neighbourhoods, but the percentage has fallen in the past five years.