'Housing poverty' and income poverty in England and The Netherlands

Mark Stephens, Guido van Steen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines whether the distributional consequences of contrasting welfare systems are enhanced, replicated or countered by housing systems in England and the Netherlands. It adopts the monetised concepts of ‘net housing income’ and ‘net housing resources’, which are commensurable with disposable income and income-based measures of poverty. It was found that both housing systems exert a poverty-reducing impact compared to disposable income alone. The absolute reduction is greatest in England, suggesting that its housing system counters the high levels of income poverty produced by the welfare system, although the comparative levels of poverty between the two countries remain unchanged, which may signify that the distribution of disposable income is replicated in housing. However, the synthetic concept of ‘housing poverty’ reveals that the poverty-reducing impact of housing income/ resources arises because by themselves they are distributed far less equally than is disposable income, so creating a much higher rate of ‘housing poverty’. Crucially, ‘housing poverty’ occurs predominantly among those who are not income poor. This allows welfare and housing systems to combine to reduce poverty in an act of progressive dissonance, suggesting a hitherto unexpectedly high degree of independence between the two
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1035-1057
    Number of pages23
    JournalHousing Studies
    Issue number7-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Welfare state
    • comparative housing
    • housing economics


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