Fact sheet

Fact Check: Have social housing levels fallen to historic lows?

Social housing

The chief executive of advocacy group National Shelter, Adrian Pisarski, claims social housing levels in Australia have fallen from a high of 7.1 per cent in 1991 to a low of 4.2 per cent tin 2019. Is that correct? Mr Pisarski's claim is in the ballpark. There are multiple ways of measuring social housing levels in Australia. RMIT ABC Fact Check examined data published by federal government agencies the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Productivity Commission, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as well the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and other sources. Mr Pisarski quoted data published by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute which shows public and community housing as a proportion of all Australian households was 7.1 per cent in 1991, and 4.2 per cent in 2016. The figure of 7.1 per cent is higher than census data and other estimates for that year. The latest AIHW data, which includes all four main types of social housing and is drawn from state and territory government administrative data, shows that in 2017-18, there were 4.6 social housing dwellings per 100 households in Australia. While making comparisons across the decades is difficult, the body of data suggests the early '90s was a high point for social housing levels in Australia, and that the levels now are historically low.
Verdict: In the ballpark

Publication Details