Infographic: Inequalities in housing below standards in Canada


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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

  • Cat.: HP35-113/8-2019E-PDF
  • ISBN: 978-0-660-29692-0
  • Pub.: 180792

Pan-Canadian Health Inequalities Reporting Initiative

Inequalities in Housing Below Standards in Canada

9.4 million Canadians live in housing below standards.Footnote *

This means that their housing:

  • costs more than they can afford, and/or
  • is crowded, and/or
  • requires major repairs

High cost of housing is the most common reason for Canadians to live in housing below standards.

Poor housing conditions including issues such as mould, safety, crowding, and unaffordability, have been associated with a wide range of health conditions among adults:

  • chronic diseases
  • infectious disease such as tuberculosis
  • injuries (e.g. falls among seniors)
  • poor mental health
  • adverse childhood development

Housing below standards might be experienced by Canadians in all socioeconomic groups but is particularly concentrated among those with the lowest socioeconomic status:

Individuals in housing below standards by income
By income Prevalence (%)
Lowest income 75
Highest income 10
Individuals (ages 20+ years) in housing below standards by education
Individuals Prevalence (%)
Less than high school 34
University degree 25
Individuals (ages 18–75 years) in housing below standards by employment
By employment Prevalence (%)
Unemployed, currently not looking for work 32
Unemployed, currently looking for work 37
Employed 23

Housing below standards is:

  • 2.0 times higher among recent immigrants than among Canadian-born people
  • 1.8 times higher among visible minority Canadians than among non-visible minority Canadians

Addressing housing below standards by improving the quality and by increasing the availability of adequate and affordable housing, including social housing, has the potential to reduce health inequalities in chronic and infectious diseases and injuries.

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Source: National Household Survey (2011)

For more data on health inequalities in Canada, visit:

Suggested citation: Public Health Agency of Canada. Key Health Inequalities in Canada: A National Portrait. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada; 2018.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2019 | Cat.: HP35-113/8-2019E-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-29692-0 | Pub.: 180792

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