Percent of expenditures, 2010

In 2010, housing was the biggest expenditure in Canadian’s budgets, at 21.3%. Lone-parent families spend proportionately more on shelter than do couple families with children. They also spend proportionately more on food, education, and health care.


For low and modest income families, housing is an even larger expense proportionately. In Canada, 1 in 4 households pay more than 30% of their income on housing.1 In 2010, families in the lowest quintile spent 32.3% of their total income on housing, where families in the highest income quintile only spent 16.7% of their total income on housing.2

Families sometimes face affordability problems and may be forced to choose between appropriate housing and other necessities. Roughly 750,000 children under 15 live in housing that is unaffordable, substandard, or overcrowded—or all three.1 Living in inadequate housing can have negative effects on children’s health, behaviour, and development.3

1 “Campaign 2000, 2011 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada.” – accessed on June 29, 2012.
2 Statistics Canada. “Survey of Household Spending, 2010.” – accessed on June 29, 2012.
3 Jackson A, Roberts P. (2001). “Physical Housing Conditions and the Well-Being of Children.” Background paper on housing for The Progress of Canada’s Children 2001. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Council on Social Development.,%20Canada.pdf– accessed on June 29, 2012.