Leonard Vincent about occupancy rates and census: how to plan the size of Stevenage households

Occupancy rates are calculated on old data and censuses, but people can't be expected to keep living the same way forever.

Stevenage Museum

Keeping up with changing occupancy rates

After the war the population rose steadily until 1963, then began to decrease. Nevertheless the need for new houses remained, because the occupancy rate dropped.

“You see what happened was that, after the war as you know, the population rose steadily, but by 1963/4/5 we reached a peak and it started turning down. The average occupancy rate was 3.5 persons to the dwelling up to about 1965 and the Government and practically a lot of the towns used their general statistic to make plans, now that population rate, occupancy rate rather, dropped to about 2.5, you know, it dropped one and the trouble was to house a target population of X you had to have more houses too because there were less people in the house.”

Leonard Vincent

Leonard Vincent about census and planning: feedback arrives late I

There is a time-lag in awareness of changing in the population and the occupancy of the houses.

“And of course the trouble is until you get a census or till you get even a mini census of that sort you can’t tell when this is going to happen and it’s usually two or three years afterwards or even more, five years afterwards that you suddenly come to realise that your planning for 3.5 is off beam and you’ve got to do something.”

Leonard Vincent

Leonard Vincent about census and planning: feedback arrives late II

Several censuses were needed to make the new trend clear and start planning accordingly.

“So there was a census in ’61?”

“Yes that’s right.”

“…and another one in ’71?”

“Yes that’s right, but there was a mini census in ’66…”

“Ah, I see.”

“…and it wasn’t till ’66 that the trend made itself felt and it wasn’t till ’71 until that trend was very, very severely confirmed.”

Leonard Vincent

Leonard Vincent: how to predict the size of households?

How occupancy calculation was done.

“And then we planned for lower occupancy rates, but it was a bit more intricate than that, the method of calculation of population projection is the same as the one adopted by the Office of Census and Surveys, the cohorts survival system, that’s the way it’s done, mathematically it’s a bit intricate but mind you that goes wrong, as you know the census’ calculation goes wrong and they use absolutely the latest techniques, you can’t budget for human beings doing the things that they’re supposed to do ad infinitum.”

Leonard Vincent

This page was added on 10/07/2015.

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