A household consists of one or more people who live in the same dwelling and share meals. It may also consist of a single family or some other grouping of people. A single dwelling is considered to contain multiple households if either meals or living spaces are not shared. The household is the basic unit of analysis in many social, microeconomic and government models, and is important to the fields of economics and inheritance.
Most economic theories assume there is only one income stream to a household. This a useful simplification for modeling, but does not necessarily reflect reality. Many households now include multiple income-earning members.
Feminism examines the ways that gender roles affect the division of labour within households. Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild in The Second Shift and The Time Bind presents evidence that in two-career couples, men and women, spend on average about equal amounts of time working, but women still spend more time on housework. Cathy Young, another feminist writer, responds to Hochschild's assertions by arguing that in some cases, women may prevent the equal participation of men in housework and parenting.
A survey carried out by the National Housing Institute in 1961 to 1962 estimated that out of all the dwellings in Belgium 13.8% were unfit and incapable of improvement. 19.5% of dwellings, although unfit, showed potential for improvement, and 54% were considered to be suitable (without alteration or improvement) for modern living standards. 74% of dwellings lacked a shower or bath, 19% had inadequate arrangements for sewage disposal, 3.6% lacked a proper supply of drinking water, and only 36.8% had an internal water closet. According to an earlier study from 1964, 13% of total housing in Belgium was considered to be made up of slums.
Various improvements took place in housing condition in both Canada and the USA in the years following the end of the Second World War. In the USA, 35.4% of all dwellings in 1950 did not have complete plumbing facilities, a proportion that fell to 16.8% in 1960 and to 8.4% in 1968. In Canada, from 1951 to 1971, the proportion of dwellings with a bath or shower went up from 60.8% to 93.4% and those with piped hot and cold water from 56.9% to 93.5%. In the United States, from 1950 to 1974, the percentage of housing without full plumbing fell from 34% to 3%, while during that same period the percentage of the total housing stock estimated to be dilapidated fell from 9% to less than 4%.