Real Estate

Do you live big or small? Test it here!

During the corona pandemic, people are spending more time in their own homes than ever before. The space they have varies in size. Test how you compare to others!

Seldom have you lived so actively as during the corona pandemic. Much of what normally draws you outside does not take place or is forbidden. All the happier those who feel comfortable at home can consider themselves to be all the happier.

An important criterion for this is the space that is available. Anyone who lives in a confined space with many people is likely to clash with their family more quickly than someone who can retreat to their own room to work.

Interactive graphic compares your apartment size

How differently the living space is distributed in Germany was calculated by researchers from the employer-related Institute of the German Economy (IW) on the basis of data from the socio-economic panel. Accordingly, the mean apartment size in the total population is currently 100 square meters. 10 percent live in apartments that are larger than 163 square meters.

You can test for yourself whether your own living space is relatively large, average or rather small – with the help of an interactive IW graphic.

You can see this in the graphic:

  • The graphic shows how the apartment sizes are distributed in Germany. The curve on the left represents the total population by the number of people per household: from small apartments below to large apartments above. The right curve shows individual subgroups of the population, for example tenants, retirees or high earners.
  • The more people there are with a certain apartment size, the more the curve rises at this point.

How to use the graphic:

  • You can locate yourself in the graphic and see how many people have more and less living space available than you.
  • The distribution of pensioners is preset on the right-hand side of the graphic. You can use the two drop-down menus to select other subgroups and compare them with one another – for example, different age groups, household types and educational levels.
  • You can use the tool to compare not only the living space per capita, but also the living space of an entire household.

How much space is a lot or a little?

From a living space of 41 square meters per capita you belong to the top 50 percent, from 83 square meters to the top 10 percent. Pensioners have significantly more living space available per capita: from 60 square meters you belong in this group to the top 50 percent, from 110 square meters to the top 10 percent.

Only single people have even more space per capita than pensioners: Here the average living space is 65 square meters per capita. At the other extreme are large households with five or more people with an average living space of 22 square meters.

Only minor differences between educational levels

The differences between tenants (35 square meters) and owners (48 square meters) are also clear. In contrast, the differences between the educational levels are relatively small. People with a university degree (50 square meters) and a secondary school degree (50 square meters) are even on par.

Pekka Sagner, IW economist for housing policy and real estate economics, explains this with the fact that people with a university degree tend to work in industries that are located in large cities. “There they have more rental apartments and less living space per capita in a tense market,” says Sagner. People with a secondary school leaving certificate, on the other hand, tend to stay in rural areas, where the ownership rate is higher.

There is less space for tenants in large cities

Overall, the living space of Germans per capita has increased by 34 percent since 1990, but recently at a much slower pace. This is mainly due to the fact that the living space of tenants has stagnated since 2010.

In large cities, the space that tenants have per capita is even declining. One reason for this is that families do not move when they have another child.

According to Sagner, the type of new building also plays a role. “It used to be criticized that big cities were being built too big and that the demand for single apartments could not be met well. That has changed in the meantime.”

In the case of owners, on the other hand, the trend is continuing upwards. The living space per capita has increased significantly here. “This has to do with the fact that owners tend to be older and there is no great incentive in old age to move into a smaller apartment once the house has been paid off,” says Sagner.

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