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Although sometimes a subjective judgment, overcrowding, which means dense occupation of living and especially of sleeping space, can be measured objectively using an index of overcrowding, such as one developed in the United Kingdom by the Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys (now the Office for National Statistics), that counts the number of persons in households at a density of greater than one per room, as a proportion of all persons in private households. Respiratory infections, including tuberculosis and childhood respiratory infections, are associated with overcrowding, which promotes dissemination of airborne pathogens. Overcrowding has adverse effects on health and educational performance of school children in Britain, where it has been extensively studied. The Web site http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_control/documents/contentservertemplate/odpm_index.hcst?n=4625&l=3 gives details of current British findings. In animals, as well as humans, overcrowding induces stress and increases the frequency of stress-related disorders. See also Townsend score.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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