Houses in the urban centers are simple wooden or cement-block structures, with corrugated iron roofs; because of the limited land availability, houses are heavily crowded. In the outer atolls houses are constructed of local materials, with thatched sloping roofs and sides of plaited palm fronds.
The Ministry of Social Services provides housing grants, principally to low-income families, through a low-cost housing program and a grant-in-aid program. Government housing is administered by the Public Service Commission.
In 1999, there were about 6,478 households with an average of 7.8 people per household. About 70% of households relied on rain water as a primary water source, 39% of households had indoor flush toilets, and 63% had access to electricity for lighting and/or cooking.