Santals typically live in their own villages, laid out on a street pattern, and numbering from 400 to 1,000 inhabitants each. While separate villages are preferred, various groups sometimes live more or less separately in the tribal or low-caste quarters of mixed villages or towns. Santals never live in Untouchable quarters. In the large industrial towns of the Indian coal and iron belt, there are separate Santal quarters.
Santal houses are mud structures, but they are sturdily built and often decorated with floral designs. Roofs are tiled and slope toward all four sides. Houses have verandas and at least two rooms; the "inner room" ( chitar ) contains the ancestors and the granary protected by them. The main post ( khunti ), located at the center of the house, to which sacrifices are made on building the house, is of considerable ritual importance.