About one fourth of households in Iceland (26.4%) rented their dwelling in 2016, or estimated about 35,100 households. At the same time 73.6% lived in their own housing or about 97,500 households. Of households with children, 22.5% were tenants while a higher proportion of households without children were renting, or 28.8%.

This is among newly published results from EU-SILC for Iceland for the period 2004-2016.

Single person households were more likely to rent than persons in a household with two or more adults. In 2016, 41.0% of single person households were tenants (95% CI +/- 4.8%), 48.3% of men living alone (+/- 6.8%) and 32.5% of women in the same situation. About half of single parents (51.8%) were renting in 2016 (+/- 8.7%).

Renting more common with low income
In 2016, 44.2% of people in the lowest quintile of disposable income were tenants (+/- 4.7%) while the proportion of tenants in the top quintile was 6.6% (+/- 2.1%). In general, the higher the disposable income, the lower the proportion of tenants. Comparing 2016 with 2004, when the EU-SILC for Iceland was first collected, shows an increase in the proportion of tenants in the lowest quintile of disposable income by 77%. At the same time no significant change occurred in the top quintile.

One of every five children living in a rented dwelling
Age was also connected to the proportion of people in the rental market in 2016. The highest proportion of tenants was in the age group 25-34 years, or 38.8% (+/- 4.5%) but lowest in the oldest age groups. Of children 0-17 years, about 22.8% were living in a rented dwelling in 2016 (+/- 2.9%). This is an increase of 85% compared to 2004 when the proportion was 12.3% (+/- 2.1%).

Everyone under the age of 18 is classified as a child as well as those who are aged 18-24, without work and living with at least one parent. The rest is categorized as adults.

All private households that do not own their dwellings are categorized as on the rental market, whether they pay rent or not and whether the rent is at market rate or reduced rate.

Disposable income is the total household income after taxes, including social benefits. According to Eurostat‘s definition the revenue from the sales of stocks and bonds are not included in disposable income while other profits from capital investments are. Equivalized disposable income is disposable income that has been divided by the number of consumption units, i.e. household members weighted by their age, thus taking into account the efficiency gained by having more than one person living in the same household. The distribution of equivalized disposable income is then divided into five parts of equal size, so-called quintiles.

About the data
EU-SILC is a longitudinal research conducted every year with a sample size of close to 5,000 households. In 2016, 4,430 households were contacted and of those 2,870 responded, giving a response rate of 64.8%. 

Confidence intervals for households on the rental market are +/- 2.0%, for households with children renting their dwelling +/- 2.7%, and for households without children renting their dwelling +/- 2.9%.