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City dwellers: highly educated but weighed down by housing costs

Oct 31, 2017 | News

(31 October 2017) – Cities are often seen as centres of growth, providing opportunities for studying, innovation and employment. Yet, they face a range of social and environmental challenges, and one of them is affordable housing.

© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Cities tend to have a higher share of highly-educated people. In 2016, more than 1 in 3 persons (35%) living in EU cities had a tertiary education level, compared with 1 in 4 persons (24%) living in towns and suburbs and 1 in 5 (20%) in rural areas.

Although a city life offers greater opportunities for higher education and employment, it also has disadvantages, such as higher housing costs.

At EU level, 13% of the city population were living in households which spent more than 40% of their disposable income on housing. In general in the EU, the housing cost overburden rate was higher in cities than in towns and suburbs (11%) and rural areas (9%).

In 2016, the housing cost overburden rate for people living in cities was by far the highest in Greece (45% of total city population). It was followed at a distance by Denmark (23%), Germany (20%), Bulgaria (19%) and Belgium (16%).

In all EU Member States, the housing cost overburden rate was higher in cities compared to rural areas, except for Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary and Lithuania.

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