IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why was urban overcrowding much more severe in Scotland than in the rest of the British Isles? Evidence from the first (1904) official household expenditure survey




This article presents an analysis of British urban working-class housing conditions in 1904, using a rediscovered survey. We investigate overcrowding and find major regional differences. Scottish households in the survey were more overcrowded despite being less poor. Investigating the causes of this overcrowding, we find little support for supply-side theories or for the idea that the Scottish households in our survey experienced particularly great variations in income, causing them to commit to overly modest accommodation. We present evidence that is consistent with idea that particularly tough Scottish tenancy and local tax laws caused excess overcrowding. We also provide evidence that Scottish workers had a relatively high preference for food, rather than housing, expenditure, which can be at least partly attributed to their inheritance of more communal patterns of urban living.

Suggested Citation

  • Gazeley, Ian & Newell, Andrew & Scott, Peter, 2011. "Why was urban overcrowding much more severe in Scotland than in the rest of the British Isles? Evidence from the first (1904) official household expenditure survey," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 127-151, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:15:y:2011:i:01:p:127-151_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:15:y:2011:i:01:p:127-151_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.