Percentage of households in core housing need, by family type, Canada, 2011

*Core housing need means that the householders spent 30% or more of their before tax income on housing; the housing was in major need of repair; or their housing was crowded – it did not have enough bedrooms for the size and make-up of the family.

CICH graphic created using data adapted from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (CMHC) Canadian Housing Observer. 2014. accessed March 20, 2017.

In 2011, families with children were more likely to be in core housing need than were families without children.

Only 4.8% of couples without children were in core housing need compared with 7.1% of couples with children.

However, lone parents were by far the most likely to be living in core housing need.

The rate of core housing need for all lone parents – 26.2% – was more than twice the national average.

The rate of core housing need among female lone parents was almost twice that of male lone parents.


Adequate housing is considered a basic prerequisite for good health – this is particularly true for young children.  Studies show that children living in crowded, inadequate or unsafe housing conditions are at an increased risk of chronic and infectious diseases; poor school performance; injuries in the home and malnutrition due to money being needed for housing. In addition, their parents have more stress and worry and this poses the risk of negatively influencing their parenting.1

1Bryant T. 2004. Housing and health. In D. Raphael’s Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press. – accessed June 15, 2017.