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TODO: Refactor this page to put the main conclusions & observations first, and the data further down in some subsection.

Does Canada have enough housing? This page is a (somewhat incomplete) housing supply analysis using Canadian census data.

All of Canada

code count definition
st 132060 studio unit
1b 2124485 1-bedroom unit
2b 3829965 2-bedroom unit
3b 4982900 3-bedroom unit
4b 3909525 4-bedroom or more
s0 6850005 Singles with no children
c0 4286165 Couples with no children
s1 1019940 Single parents with 1 child
c1+ 4290420 Couples with 1 or more children
s2+ 666400 Single parents with 2 or more children

Data source: Canadian Census 2021 https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/dp-pd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&GENDERlist=1,2,3&STATISTIClist=1&HEADERlist=0&DGUIDlist=2021A000011124&SearchText=Canada

The Supply includes all types of housing - including apartments, condos, townhouses and houses. Categorized by the number of bedrooms.

The first thing to notice is there are a lot of single adults (...)( and also a lot of childless couples ), and not very much single-person housing (...)( and also not enough housing made for childless couples ). Thus, most singles end up either...

  • Living with roommates. (...)( In some cases, there is no other option but to find roommates on semi-anonymous websites. This comes with safety issues and difficulty trusting whether the roommate will even pay their part of the rent. )
  • Living with parents, even in adulthood. (...)( Some of these single adults may not even be counted "s0" statistic above - some might be counted as "children" in families. The Canadian census defines "child" in a way that has no age cutoff. )
  • Hastily moving in with someone they just started dating, before really knowing whether it's right.
  • Living alone in a bigger, and more expensive place than needed.

The last one also takes away housing from families.



  • Obviously this doesn't mean subdividing ALL the homes - just enough to meet the demand.
  • Subdivision would not take housing away from families. It would make more housing available to families. (see why)Many of today's family-sized houses are inhabited by single adults who would sell their home and move into something smaller (i.e. 1-bedroom condo), but can't find an affordable one (because as the table shows, there simply aren't enough - today's high prices are the market's way of signalling that). By subdividing a few family-sized houses into three 1-bedroom condos, these single adults would move there, freeing up the other family-sized houses for families. Sorry if any of this seems unclear - I'll make a diagram soon.

More considerations

More than 235,000 people in Canada experience homelessness in any given year, and 25,000 to 35,000 people may be experiencing homelessness on any given night. - [1]

The census data used earlier, doesn't include vacant homes. A quick estimate is that 1.3 million homes are vacant, or 8% of the housing stock. [2] (...)( This stat would benefit from having a more nuanced breakdown by type of vacancy, such as investment homes vs cottages etc. )

Also not included: office buildings, which could be repurposed into housing as well.

You can help expand this page by joining the discussion.