Housing is a new concept in Civilization VI, which adds a slowing factor and eventually a limit on Population growth in each city. It is meant to emulate overcrowding in cities, and the limits it imposes. Housing acts alongside the traditional Food growth factor in the following way:
|Housing minus Population||Growth rate from Food|
|2 or more||100%|
|0 to -4||25%|
|-5 or less||0%|
Note that Housing does not replace Food! If you have not enough food production, no amount of spare Housing will help your city grow.
Housing acts by putting an additional constraint on Population growth beyond food supply (as per the table above). In practice, this means that a city will need Housing to grow larger, even though it has more than enough Food!
Initially the amount of Housing available is strongly dependent on fresh water access - that's why Water supply plays such a prominent role in the Settler lens. When the city center is built on a tile with Fresh Water access, it receives a very high initial Housing value (5 by default), and is able to support fast population growth. A medium bonus to Housing is also received if the city is built on the coast (for a total of 3). In any other case there is no initial Housing Bonus and the city starts with the default Housing value of 2, which means that its growth will already be slowed!
When the city develops, however, its Housing becomes mostly dependent on the existence of tile improvements, buildings and districts (that is, facilities inside the city which have no relation to nearby terrain). Still later, Civics and Governments will also add Housing.
Note that Housing is a fluent trait, especially when provided by non-hard sources, such as Civic Policy Cards. However, losing Housing (that is, the sudden drop in the Housing limit, for example because you stopped using a certain Policy) will not cause loss of Population! It will instead merely slow down (or stop altogether) Population growth. In that manner Housing is very different from Food - when you are losing food in the city you will also eventually start losing Population.
"Many buildings grant Housing. After researching Pottery, every city is able to build a Granary, which adds 2 Housing, and later they can build Sewers, which also adds 2 Housing. Buildings in other districts sometimes add Housing, such as the Barracks in the Encampment district, the University in the Campus, and the Lighthouse in the Harbor. The Palace building in your capital city also adds 1 Housing."
"Each Farm, Pasture, Plantation, or Camp supports a small amount of Population - 1 Housing for every 2 such improvements. Supporting rural Population in this fashion will allow for slightly larger Populations prior to the Industrial Era, when the Neighborhood district becomes available." -Civilopedia
The most basic Housing conditions depend on where your city (that is, the City Center) is placed.
The simplest source of Housing is a water source. Fresh water (River, Lake, Oasis) provides 5 Housing. Coast provides 3 Housing if you don't have fresh water. Every other placement gives only 2 Housing, meaning that your Population growth will be slowed since the very beginning. Aqueducts will add 2 Housing for cities that have fresh water, otherwise they will set the water Housing value to 6.
Many buildings grant Housing. After researching Pottery, every city is able to build a Granary, which adds 2 Housing, and later they can build Sewers, which also adds 2 Housing. Buildings in other districts sometimes add Housing, such as the Barracks in the Encampment district, the University in the Campus, and the Lighthouse in the Harbor. With religious beliefs such as Religious Community and Pagoda, certain buildings that can be built in the Holy Site add Housing. The Palace building in your Capital city also adds 1 Housing.
Each Farm, Pasture, Plantation, or Camp supports a small amount of Population — 1 Housing for every 2 such improvements. Supporting rural Population in this fashion will allow for slightly larger Populations prior to the Industrial Era, when the Neighborhood district becomes available.
The final major source of Housing is Policy Cards. The following Policy Cards, when activated, will increase Housing by:
|Policy Card||Function||First available|
|Insulae||1 Housing in cities with 2 or more districts||Classical Era|
|Medina Quarter||2 Housing in cities with 3 or more districts||Medieval Era|
|New Deal||4 Housing, 2 Amenities, -8 Gold in cities with 3 or more districts||Modern Era|
|Civilization VI |
|Rise and Fall • Gathering Storm|