Are Boarding Houses Disappearing?

Chamberlain, C 2012, Are Boarding Houses Disappearing?, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia


Document type: Commissioned Reports
Collection: Commissioned Reports

Title of report Are Boarding Houses Disappearing?
Author(s) Chamberlain, C
Year of publication 2012
Publisher RMIT University
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Subjects Policy and Administration not elsewhere classified
Abstract/Summary This report investigates whether boarding houses are disappearing. Chap. 1 points out that the most persuasive evidence for this argument comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics(ABS). In 2011 the ABS released census data showing that the boarding house population had fallen from 23,750 in 2001 to 16,830 in 2006, a decrease of 29 per cent. Chap. 2 explains the official definition of a rooming house in Victoria. Then it outlines the six main sources of evidence used in this report. The following chapter investigates whether the ABS has adequately substantiated its claim that the boarding house population was 16,830 in 2006. The chapter concludes that the ABS has not established its case, and that there are major limitations to establishing the boarding house population using census data. Chap. 4 outlines an alternative method for counting boarding houses, using council records. The new approach was tested in metropolitan Melbourne in 2011. The next chapter shows that the rooming house population in Melbourne increased from 3739 in 2006 to 12,568 people in 2011, an increase of 236 per cent. If the ABS (2011) figure of 2946 is used as the benchmark, then the increase was 327 per cent. Chap. 6 describes the range of dwellings that currently operate as boarding houses and explains why census collectors often misclassify them. Chap. 7 examines the argument that rooming house accommodation is only slightly below the community standard of a self-contained flat. It concludes that the evidence does not substantiate this contention. The final chapter summarises the three main findings. First, in metropolitan Melbourne the rooming house population increased three to four times between 2006 and 2011. Second, the population has become more diverse, with a range of disadvantaged people now in boarding houses. Third, the national rooming house population is now about 70,000. The report concludes that the ABS method of counting boarding houses is fundamentally flawed.
Commissioning body The Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
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