Housing is a basic human need, and it’s interesting to know how many houses there are in the world. With a global population of over 7.8 billion people, it’s natural to wonder if there are enough houses for everyone. The answer, however, is not as straightforward as you might think.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: There is no exact number of houses in the world, but estimates range from 1.5 billion to 2 billion.

In this article, we will explore the various estimates of the number of houses in the world and the factors that impact these numbers. We will also look at the distribution of houses across different regions and countries, and what this means for global housing trends.

Estimates of the Number of Houses in the World

It’s difficult to determine exactly how many houses there are in the world, mainly because the definition of a “house” can vary depending on the country and cultural norms. However, various estimates have been made, taking into account factors such as population density, household size, and housing stock.

The Challenge of Defining a ‘House’

Defining what constitutes a “house” can be challenging, as different countries and cultures have varying definitions. In some areas, a house may refer to a traditional single-family home, while in others it may include multi-family dwellings or apartments. Additionally, informal settlements and slums may not fit the traditional definition of a “house,” yet they are still considered a form of housing. As a result, estimates of the number of houses in the world can vary widely.

Estimates Based on Population and Household Size

One way to estimate the number of houses in the world is to look at population and household size. According to the United Nations, the world population was estimated to be 7.7 billion people in 2019. If we assume an average household size of 4 people, this would suggest that there are approximately 1.9 billion households in the world. However, actual household size can vary widely depending on the region and country, so this estimate should be taken with a grain of salt.

Estimates Based on Housing Density

Another way to estimate the number of houses in the world is to look at housing density. This involves calculating the average number of houses per acre or hectare of land. According to a study by the World Bank, the average global housing density was estimated to be around 140 houses per hectare in 2015. Using this figure, we can estimate that there are approximately 1.2 billion houses in the world.

Estimates Based on Housing Stock

Finally, we can estimate the number of houses in the world by looking at the number of housing units that have been built. According to a report by the International Energy Agency, there were approximately 1.2 billion housing units in the world in 2018. This figure includes both formal and informal housing, such as slums and other informal settlements. However, it’s worth noting that not all of these units may fit the traditional definition of a “house.”

Estimate Method Number of Houses (approx.)
Population and Household Size 1.9 billion
Housing Density 1.2 billion
Housing Stock 1.2 billion

While it’s difficult to determine an exact number, it’s clear that there are billions of houses in the world. Understanding how many houses there are can be useful for policymakers, urban planners, and others working to address issues related to housing and urbanization.

Factors Impacting the Number of Houses in the World

As of 2021, it is estimated that there are over 1.5 billion houses in the world. However, the number of houses in the world is not static and is influenced by various factors. Here are some of the factors that impact the number of houses in the world:

  • Population Growth and Urbanization: With the global population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, the demand for housing is expected to increase as well. Urbanization also plays a significant role in the number of houses in the world, as people move to cities in search of better opportunities.
  • Housing Policies and Programs: Governments around the world have implemented various housing policies and programs to address the housing needs of their citizens. These policies range from subsidies for low-income families to incentives for developers to build affordable housing.
  • Natural Disasters and Conflicts: Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes, and conflicts such as wars and political unrest, can significantly impact the number of houses in the world. These events can lead to the destruction of homes, leaving people homeless and in need of new housing.
  • Economic Factors: The state of the global economy can also impact the number of houses in the world. During economic downturns, the demand for housing may decrease, leading to a slowdown in construction and a decrease in the number of houses built.

While these factors can impact the number of houses in the world, it is important to note that the definition of a “house” can vary by country and culture. In some countries, a house may refer to a small apartment, while in others, it may refer to a large, multi-story home. Additionally, the quality of housing can also vary significantly. While some houses may be modern and well-equipped, others may lack basic amenities such as electricity and running water.

It is crucial to address the housing needs of people around the world, as housing is a basic human right. Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and UN-Habitat are working to provide safe, affordable housing to those in need. By addressing the factors that impact the number of houses in the world, we can work towards ensuring that everyone has access to a safe and comfortable home.

Distribution of Houses across Different Regions and Countries

Housing trends across the world vary depending on the level of economic development of a country. Developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan have a high proportion of privately owned homes. According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, about 65% of all housing units in the United States are owner-occupied. Homeownership rates in other countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are also relatively high.

On the other hand, developing countries such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia have a high proportion of rental homes. In India, for example, about 28% of the population live in rented accommodation. In contrast, only about 9% of the population live in rented homes in the United States.

Regional differences also exist in housing trends across the world. In Europe, for instance, the majority of people live in apartments, whereas in North America, most people live in single-family homes. In Asia, high population density and rapid urbanization have led to the construction of high-rise buildings and small apartments.

Housing Trends in Developed Countries

Homeownership rates in developed countries have remained relatively stable over the years, although there have been some fluctuations due to economic factors. For instance, during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, many people lost their homes due to foreclosure. However, the housing market has since recovered, and homeownership rates have remained steady.

In developed countries, there is also a trend towards sustainable housing. Many homeowners are installing energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and other environmentally friendly features in their homes. This trend is driven by a desire to reduce carbon emissions and save on energy costs.

Housing Trends in Developing Countries

In developing countries, housing trends are influenced by factors such as urbanization, population growth, and income levels. Rapid urbanization has led to a shortage of affordable housing in many cities, resulting in the growth of informal settlements or slums.

However, governments in many developing countries are taking steps to address this issue by building affordable housing units. For example, in India, the government’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme aims to provide affordable housing to all by 2022. Similarly, the Kenyan government has launched the Affordable Housing Programme to provide affordable homes to low and middle-income earners.

Regional Differences in Housing Trends

Regional differences in housing trends can be attributed to factors such as culture, geography, and climate. For example, in countries with a strong cultural tradition of extended families, such as China and India, multi-generational households are common, and homes are designed to accommodate large families.

In countries with a warm climate, such as Brazil and Mexico, homes are designed to keep cool and ventilated. This has led to the widespread use of open courtyards, verandas, and other outdoor spaces in home design.

Implications for Global Housing

The number of houses in the world is constantly changing due to various factors such as population growth, urbanization, and migration. As of 2021, it is estimated that there are around 1.6 billion houses worldwide. However, this number is expected to increase in the coming years, posing both challenges and opportunities for meeting global housing needs.

Challenges and Opportunities for Meeting Housing Needs

The increasing global population and urbanization have resulted in a growing demand for affordable and sustainable housing. However, many countries, particularly in the developing world, are struggling to meet this demand due to various factors such as poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of funding. This has led to a significant housing crisis in many parts of the world.

Despite the challenges, there are also opportunities for addressing this housing crisis. For example, advancements in technology and innovation have led to the development of new and sustainable housing solutions that are more affordable, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly. Additionally, public-private partnerships and community-based initiatives have emerged as effective approaches for providing housing to those in need.

Sustainable Housing Solutions

One of the key ways to address the global housing crisis is by promoting sustainable housing solutions. This includes the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar power and wind energy, to power homes, as well as the use of sustainable materials, such as bamboo and recycled materials, for construction. Additionally, sustainable housing solutions should be designed to minimize waste and reduce carbon emissions.

There are already several successful sustainable housing projects being implemented around the world. For example, in Mexico, the government has launched a program that provides funding for the construction of sustainable housing units for low-income families. In India, a company called Bamboo House India is designing and building affordable and sustainable homes using bamboo as the primary material.

Policy and Program Recommendations

Effective policies and programs are critical for addressing the global housing crisis. Governments around the world should prioritize the development and implementation of policies and programs that promote affordable and sustainable housing solutions. This includes providing funding for housing projects, incentivizing the use of sustainable materials and renewable energy sources, and promoting public-private partnerships and community-based initiatives.

International organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank are also playing an important role in addressing the global housing crisis. For example, the United Nations has launched the Sustainable Development Goals, which include a goal to ensure access to affordable, safe, and sustainable housing for all by 2030. The World Bank has also launched several initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable and affordable housing, including the Global Housing Watch and the Affordable Housing Finance Initiative.


In conclusion, the number of houses in the world is a complex issue that is impacted by a variety of factors, such as population growth, urbanization, housing policies, and economic conditions. While estimates vary, it’s clear that providing adequate housing for all remains a significant challenge in many parts of the world.

However, there are also opportunities for innovative solutions and policies that can help address these challenges and ensure that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and sustainable housing. By working together, we can create a world where everyone has a place to call home.

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