Housing stratification in Romania: Mapping a decade of change

Adriana Mihaela Soaita*, Caroline Dewilde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Given increasing economic affluence, improvement in housing conditions and population decline in the last three decades, Romanians should be more likely to experience better housing than ever before, particularly in terms of the availability and affordability of space. But substantial improvement alongside numerous people still suffering poor conditions begs the important question of who has benefited and who has been excluded. Engaging the theoretical framework of diverse economies and drawing on 2007 and 2018 Eurostat-SILC micro-data, we examine the realignment between housing and income stratification across a proposed housing typology that reflects historically enduring arrangements of housing provisions and economic hierarchies. We find that residents’ socioeconomic profiles differ significantly by type of housing (e.g. showing surprising economic prosperity in urban flats and extreme poverty in some rural houses), which positions our typology as an expression of housing stratification. Furthermore, multivariate analyses highlight the increasingly stronger relationship between income and housing consumption over the decade. Of concern, a large share of the population (the bottom 40% of the income distribution) has fallen further into housing disadvantage after controlling for overall improvements in housing conditions. Conversely, the relative distance between middle- and higher-income households has decreased; given the dominance of small dwellings in the housing stock, higher-income groups seem unable to transfer their financial gains into space in their main residence except a minority engaged in the self-provision of ‘villas’. These patterns of housing stratification indicate a move towards a 40%/60% ‘hour-glass’ society if housing continues to remain outside the political agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1076
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Diverse economies
  • House and flat
  • Housing inequality
  • Housing stratification
  • Housing types
  • Post-communism
  • Romania
  • Socioeconomic stratification


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