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For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
(H. L. Mencken)

JUNE 27, 2002

Housing and income, a Statistics Canada study

(communiqué from Statistics Canada, June 21, 2002)

Two-thirds of households owned their homes in 2000, while the remainder were tenants, according to a new statistical profile of housing. One-half of owners had a mortgage, and the other half were mortgage-free.

The article "Housing: An income issue," available today in the online version of Perspectives on labour and income, used data from the 2000 Survey of Household Spending to examine issues such as ownership and income as well as condition of homes.

Only 4 in 10 households in the lowest quintile (the bottom 20% of income recipients) owned their homes, compared with 85% in the top income quintile. Couples were more likely to own their homes than unattached individuals and lone parents.

The vast majority (86%) of households were suitably housed in 2000 — that is, the dwellings did not need major repairs and were big enough for their needs. Female lone-parent families had the highest rate of living in unsuitable housing (23%).

Households in the lowest income quintile were almost three times as likely as those in the top quintile to be living in unsuitable housing — 1 in 5 compared with 1 in 13. Couples with children were almost 50% more likely to be in unsuitable housing than couples without children.

On average, Canadian households spent about one-fifth of their after-tax income on housing. Households in the lowest income quintile spent 39%, almost twice the proportion of those in the top quintile.

One in 5 renters spent more than 40% of their after-tax income on housing. Seven in 10 low-income households were renters.

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