Searching for European Statistics on Housing in the 20th Century

Building a Notion
By Danièle Voldman

Teams of statisticians have been collecting data to quantify the various aspects of the economic and social world since the 1900s. These data, which focus primarily on prices, labour, and industrial and agricultural production, have also touched on the subject of housing within a temporal and reflexive continuum, in which the notion of a crisis, or rather of an issue in need of control, was a leitmotiv whose significance remained difficult to appreciate. Reliable and homogeneous figures were indispensable to international and European organisations such as the League of Nations, the United Nations and the European Communities, in order to understand reality and take steps for the improvement of people’s living conditions. In all fields of action, experts were confronted with differences in method and classification between member countries. Their efforts led to the creation of Eurostat, an essential tool to all researchers dealing with housing on a European scale.

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