2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 6 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadians Aged 15 Years and Older with a Speaking/Communicating Disability

Introduction

This Research Highlight is one in a series of highlights that examine the housing conditions and characteristics of Canadians with disabilities. It focuses on those who report having a speaking/communicating disability. Data used in this highlight are from the 2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (2001 PALS), Canada’s principal national survey focusing on people with disabilities. PALS provides information on the prevalence and severity of disability, on the use of and unmet need for supports, and on participation in various everyday activities.

Definitions

Population with Disabilities Examined in this Highlight

This highlight examines the population 15 years of age and older only. The data presented here and in subsequent highlights will differ from the first issue in this series, which was based on the 2001 Census’ because of some key differences between the 2001 Census, and 2001 PALS with respect to identifying people with disabilities. The 2001 PALS identifies an estimated 945,000 fewer people aged 15 years and older with a disability than did the 2001 Census. This is because some individuals who responded “Yes” to the Census disability questions responded “No” to the more detailed questions on the 2001 PALS related to specific types of disabilities. It is also due to differences in the geographic coverage — the 2001 Census includes the people living in the territories and in First Nations communities but these areas and their populations are excluded from the 2001 PALS.

Disability in the 2001 PALS

The 2001 PALS asks about specific domains of functioning in which one may experience ongoing difficulties doing activities and identifies 10 specific types of disabilities (as well as an “unknown”1 category):

  • Mobility
  • Agility
  • Seeing
  • Hearing
  • Speaking/communicating
  • Developmental
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Emotional/psychological
  • Pain

The 2001 PALS includes three ways to look at disability characteristics: type(s) of disability that an individual reports, number of types of disabilities that an individual reports, and a severity measure that includes the nature and extent of the individual’s disability across all the types of disabilities reported by the individual.

Speaking/Communicating Disability

In the 2001 PALS, an individual with a speaking/ communicating disability is someone who has difficulty speaking and/or making her/himself understood when speaking.

Core Housing Need

Households2 are considered to be in core housing need if they do not live in and do not have sufficient income to access acceptable housing. The term “acceptable housing” refers to housing that is in adequate physical condition, of suitable size and affordable.

  • Adequate dwellings are those reported by their residents as not requiring any major repairs. n Suitable dwellings have enough bedrooms for the size and make-up of resident households, according to the National Occupancy Standard (NOS) requirements.3
  • Affordable dwellings cost less than 30% of before-tax household income.4

A household is said to be in core housing need if its housing falls below at least one of the adequacy, suitability or affordability standards and it would have to spend 30% or more of its before-tax income to pay the median rent of alternative local housing.

When discussing core housing need, household data exclude farm, band and reserve households (for which shelter costs are not collected by the census). It also excludes households with shelter costs that equal or exceed their income, or incomes of zero or less.

Findings

Persons with a Speaking/Communicating Disability Aged 15 Years and Older

Among persons with disabilities, an estimated 10.6%, or 356,300, have a speaking and/or communicating disability (see Table 1).

Table 1 Number and percent of persons aged 15 years and older living in households, by type of disability, 2001
  Number (%)*
All types of disabilities 3,352,300 100.0%
Hearing 1,013,700 30.2%
Seeing 586,800 17.5%
Speaking/Communicating 356,300 10.6%
Mobility/agility 2,692,800 80.3%
Pain 2,332,300 69.6%
Learning 442,000 13.2%
Memory 414,900 12.4%
Developmental 117,000 3.5%
Emotional/Psychological 517,700 15.4%
Unknown 94,400 2.8%
*Percentages add to more than 100% because people can report more than one disability. Source: 2001 PALS

The incidence of speaking/communicating disability varies among the ten provinces; Quebec has the highest rate at about 13% and Alberta has the lowest rate at 9% (see Table 2).

Table 2 Number of persons aged 15 years and older with a speaking/communicating disability and relative to any type of disability, Canada and the provinces, 2001
Geography Persons aged 15 years and older % reporting a speaking/communicating disability
with any
type of disability
with a speaking/communicating disability
CANADA 3,352,300 356,300 10.6%
Newfoundland and Labrador 57,500 6,400 11.1%
Prince Edward Island 17,500 1,700 9.7%
Nova Scotia 144,300 14,600 10.1%
New Brunswick 97,500 9,800 10.1%
Quebec 560,100 71,100 12.7%
Ontario 1,413,900 149,900 10.6%
Manitoba 133,400 14,700 11.0%
Saskatchewan 110,100 11,800 10.7%
Alberta 320,200 27,300 8.5%
British Columbia 497,700 49,100 9.9%
Source: 2001 PALS

Age and Gender

Persons with a speaking/communicating disability are generally younger than those reporting any type of disability, with an average age of 54 years, compared to 59 among persons reporting any type of disability. Women with a speaking/communicating disability are slightly older than men, with an average age of 60 compared to 58.

The rate of speaking/communicating disability is higher among males with disabilities than among females with disabilities (13% compared to 9%) across all age groups, with the largest difference among those aged 15 to 24 years (26% compared to 19%) (see Table 3). The rate of speaking/communication disability generally decreases with age, except it is higher for men aged 65 years and older than for men 45-64.

Table 3 Number of persons aged 15 years and older with a speaking/communicating disability and relative to any type of disability, by sex and age group, 2001
Sex Age group Persons aged 15 years and older % reporting a speaking/communicating disability
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability
Both sexes 15 years and older 3,352,300 356,300 10.6%
  15 - 24 years 148,000 33,200 22.4%
  25 - 44 years 618,300 91,300 14.8%
  45 - 64 years 1,162,700 110,700 9.5%
  65 years and older 1,423,200 121,200 8.5%
Male 15 years and older 1,487,800 187,000 12.6%
  15 - 24 years 73,000 19,300 26.4%
  25 - 44 years 283,900 47,700 16.8%
  45 - 64 years 541,400 52,300 9.7%
  65 years and older 589,500 67,700 11.5%
Female 15 years and older 1,864,500 169,300 9.1%
  15 - 24 years 75,000 13,900 18.5%
  25 - 44 years 334,400 43,500 13.0%
  45 - 64 years 621,300 58,300 9.4%
  65 years and older 833,700 53,500 6.4%
Source: 2001 PALS

Severity of Disability

About 83% of persons who report having a speaking/communicating disability have a severe or very severe disability, compared to 41% of persons reporting any type of disability.

When these data are examined by age, the largest difference occurs among persons aged 15 to 24 years. In this young age group, 69% of persons who report having a speaking/ communicating disability are classified as having a severe or very severe disability, compared to 30% of those with any type of disability.

Table 4 Number of persons aged 15 years and older with a speaking/communicating or any type of disability, by severity of disability, 2001
Severity of disability Persons aged 15 years and older
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability
(#) (%) (#) (%)
Total 3,352,300 100.0% 356,300 100.0%
Mild 1,134,800 33.9% 15,600 4.4%
Moderate 838,800 25.0% 46,600 13.1%
Severe 903,500 27.0% 112,100 31.5%
Very severe 475,100 14.2% 182,000 51.1%
Source: 2001 PALS

Housing Characteristics of Persons with a Speaking/Communicating Disability who are living in a Household in Core Housing Need

At the Canada level, 18% of persons aged 15 years and older who report having a speaking/communicating disability live in a household in core housing need, about double the incidence of people without disabilities (at 9%) (see Table 5). The rate varies among the ten provinces, with the lowest incidence in New Brunswick at 13% and the highest in British Columbia at 25%.

Table 5 Persons aged 15 years and older that live in a household in core housing need, by disability status, Canada and the provinces, 2001
Geography Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need
  with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without disabilities
  (#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada 563,900 16.8% 65,400 18.4% 1,757,000 9.1%
Newfoundland and Labrador 10,700 18.5% 900 14.1% 35,900 10.3%
Prince Edward Island 2,500 14.5% 400 23.5% 6,600 7.8%
Nova Scotia 25,100 17.4% 3,300 22.6% 55,000 9.6%
New Brunswick 11,700 12.0% 1,300 13.3% 31,800 6.7%
Quebec 89,200 15.9% 9,200 12.9% 376,300 7.4%
Ontario 247,800 17.5% 29,200 19.5% 772,900 10.5%
Manitoba 17,300 13.0% 2,700 18.4% 40,600 6.6%
Saskatchewan 12,400 11.3% 2,100 17.8% 31,100 6.4%
Alberta 45,100 14.1% 4,000 14.7% 124,800 7.1%
British Columbia 102,000 20.5% 12,300 25.1% 282,100 11.2%
Source: 2001 PALS

Urban/Rural

For persons with a speaking/communicating disability, the incidence of living in a household in core housing need is about 20% in urban areas and 13% in rural areas.

Tenure

More than one-third (34%) of persons with a speaking/ communicating disability who live in rental households are in core housing need, compared to 9% of persons with this disability who live in a dwelling owned by a member of the family (see Table 6). Persons with a speaking/communicating disability are more likely to be in a household in core housing need than persons without disabilities (34%, compared to 21% for tenants, and 9%, compared to 4.8% for owners).

Table 6 Number and percent of persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and tenure, 2001
Tenure Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need
  with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without disabilities
  (#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 16.8% 65,400 18.4% 1,757,000 9.1%
Owned by a member of the family 202,300 8.9% 20,300 9.0% 673,500 4.8%
Rented 361,600 33.6% 45,100 34.2% 1,083,400 21.1%
Source: 2001 PALS

Demographic and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Persons Aged 15 Years and Older with a Speaking/Communicating Disability that Live in a Household in Core Housing Need

Age and Gender

There are slightly more males with a speaking/communicating disability that live in a household in core housing need than females (51% compared to 49%). This is different than for those in core housing need who report any type of disability (38% male; 62% female) and who are without disabilities (42% male; 58% female).

For individuals living in a household in core housing need, 8% of persons with a speaking/communicating disability are aged 15 to 24 years, compared to 5% among persons with any type of disability and 22% among persons without disabilities (see Table 7).

Males who report having a speaking/communicating disability and who are living in a household in core need are likely to be younger than females: 43% of such males are younger than 45, compared to 37% of the females.

Table 7 Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status, sex and age group, 2001
Sex Age group Persons aged 15 years and older who are living in a household in core housing need
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Both sexes 15 years and older 563,900 100.0% 65,400 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
  15 to 24 26,500 4.7% 5,500 8.4% 386,100 22.0%
  25 to 44 120,700 21.4% 20,800 31.8% 755,200 43.0%
  45 to 64 199,200 35.3% 20,400 31.2% 402,000 22.9%
  65 and older 217,500 38.6% 18,700 28.6% 213,700 12.2%
Males 15 years and older 211,800 100.0% 33,400 100.0% 745,100 100.0%
  15 to 24 11,500 5.4% 3,300 9.9% 182,200 24.5%
  25 to 44 51,900 24.5% 11,200 33.5% 317,200 42.6%
  45 to 64 90,300 42.6% 9,400 28.1% 181,200 24.3%
  65 and older 58,100 27.4% 9,700 29.0% 64,600 8.7%
Females 15 years and older 352,000 100.0% 32,000 100.0% 1,011,800 100.0%
  15 to 24 15,100 4.3% 2,300 7.2% 204,000 20.2%
  25 to 44 68,700 19.5% 9,600 30.0% 438,000 43.3%
  45 to 64 108,900 30.9% 11,000 34.4% 220,800 21.8%
  65 and older 159,400 45.3% 9,100 28.4% 149,100 14.7%
Source: 2001 PALS

Living Arrangements

Persons with a speaking/communicating disability that live in a household in core housing need are more likely to live alone (at 37%) or in a family without children (at 22%) than individuals without disabilities who live in a household in core housing need (at 21% and 14%, respectively) (see Table 8).

Table 8 Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and living arrangements, 2001
Living arrangements Persons aged 15 and older who are living in a household in core housing need
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
All types of living arrangements 563,900 100.0% 65,400 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
Living alone 261,900 46.4% 23,900 36.5% 370,300 21.1%
Non family person, living with others 38,500 6.8% 4,400 6.7% 125,800 7.2%
Lone parent family 89,300 15.8% 11,500 17.6% 407,400 23.2%
Family without children 103,200 18.3% 14,600 22.3% 241,000 13.7%
Family with children 70,900 12.6% 10,900 16.7% 612,300 34.8%
Source: 2001 PALS

Immigrant Status

Among persons aged 15 and older with a speaking/ communicating disability living in a household in core housing need, 24% are immigrants, compared to 37% of persons without disabilities (see Table 9).

Table 9 Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and immigrant status, 2001
Immigrant status Persons aged 15 and older that live in a household in core housing need
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 65,400 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
Nonimmigrant 426,500 75.6% 49,600 75.8% 1,106,900 63.0%
Immigrant 137,400 24.4% 15,900 24.2% 650,100 37.0%
Source: 2001 PALS

Household Income

For the purpose of this analysis, the pre-tax household income of Canadian households with at least one person aged 15 years and older was assessed and divided into five equally sized income groups or quintiles ranging from low-income to high-income.

High Income: $96,936 or more
Upper Income: $67,812 - 96,935
Middle Income: $46,896 - $67,811
Moderate Income: $27,418 - $46,895
Low Income: Less than $27,417

Regardless of disability status, the great majority of persons who are living in a household in core housing need have low incomes: 88% of persons with a speaking/communicating disability are in households in the lowest income quintile, compared to 77% of those without disabilities (see text box and Table 10).

Table 10 Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and household income quintile, 2001
Household Income - Quintiles Persons aged 15 years and older that live in a household in core housing need
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without a disability
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 65,400 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
High, Upper, Middle ($46,896 or more) * * 0 0 27,200 1.5%
Moderate ($27,418-$46,895) 59,000 10.5% 7,800 11.9% 383,100 21.8%
Low (less than $27,417) 501,500 88.9% 57,600 88.1% 1,346,600 76.6%
* Number suppressed because of sample size.
Source: 2001 PALS

Sources of Personal Income

Only 14% of persons aged 15 and older with a speaking/ communicating disability who live in a household in core housing need report wages and salaries as a source of personal income, compared to almost half (48%) of persons without disabilities. Most households in core housing need report some income

Guaranteed Income Supplement, benefits from Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, benefits from Employment Insurance, and other income from government sources such as provincial income supplements and welfare payments). About 85% of people with a speaking/communicating disability that live in a household in core housing need have income from government sources, compared to 82% of persons without disabilities that live in a household in core need (see Table 11).

Table 11 Persons aged 15 years and older that live in a household in core housing need, by disability status and sources of personal income, 2001
Sources of personal income Persons aged 15 years and older who are living in a household in core housing need
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without disabilities
(#) (%)** (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 65,400 100.0% 1,757,700 100.0%
Wages and salaries 93,800 16.6% 9,000 13.8% 843,100 48.0%
Income from self-employment 20,500 3.6% * * 128,400 7.3%
Income from Government 532,300 94.4% 55,600 85.0% 1,434,500 81.6%
Other income, such as retirement pensions, dividends and interest on bonds, deposits and savings, alimony, child support, scholarships, etc. 28,500 5.1% 2,800 4.3% 121,100 6.9%
* Number suppressed because of sample size.
** Percentages add to more than 100 because people can report more than one source of income.
Source: 2001 PALS

Level of Education

People with a speaking/communicating disability that live in a household in core housing need are less likely to have completed high school and less likely to have gone to university than persons without disabilities.

Among persons who live in a household in core housing need, 58% of those with a speaking/communicating disability have not completed high school, compared to 40% of persons without disabilities (see Table 12). Only 11% of persons with a speaking/communicating disability living in a household in core housing need report some university education, compared to 21% of persons without disabilities.

Table 12 Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and highest level of education, 2001
Highest level of education Persons aged 15 and older who are living in a household in core housing need
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability without disabilities
  (#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 65,400 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
Less than high school graduation 301,700 53.5% 37,800 57.8% 708,000 40.3%
Secondary school graduation certificate 68,100 12.1% 6,000 9.2% 247,400 14.1%
Trades certificate or diploma or other non-university 136,400 24.2% 14,300 21.9% 432,200 24.6%
University, with or without degree 57,600 10.2% 7,400 11.3% 369,400 21.0%
Source: 2001 PALS

Health Status

More than half (55%) of persons with a speaking/ communicating disability living in a household in core housing need consider their general health status to be fair or poor, compared to 48% of people with any type of disability (see Table 13).

Table 13 Persons aged 15 years and older that live in a household in core housing need, by type of disability and general health status, 2001
General health status Persons aged 15 and older who are living in a household in core housing need
with any type of disability with a speaking/communicating disability
(#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 65,400 100.0%
Excellent 21,300 3.8% 3,100 4.7%
Very good 92,000 16.3% 5,800 8.9%
Good 157,100 27.9% 15,900 24.3%
Fair 174,300 30.9% 19,100 29.2%
Poor 95,400 16.9% 16,800 25.7%
Not stated, refusal or don't know 23,900 4.2% 4,700 7.2%
Source: 2001 PALS

Summary of Findings

Persons Aged 15 and Older with a Speaking/ Communicating Disability

General Characteristics

  • About 11% of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 years and older have a speaking/communicating disability; the proportion varies among the ten provinces, with Quebec the highest at 13% and Alberta the lowest at 9%.
  • Males with disabilities are more likely to report a speaking/communicating disability than females (13% compared to 9%).

Persons Aged 15 and Older with a Speaking/ Communicating Disability Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

Housing Characteristics

  • About 18% of persons aged 15 years and older with a speaking/communicating disability live in a household in core housing need, about double the incidence of people without disabilities (at 9%). This proportion varies considerably among the provinces, with the lowest in New Brunswick at 13% and the highest in British Columbia at 25%.
  • The proportion of persons with a speaking/ communicating disability who are living in a household in core housing need in rented housing is higher than among persons without disabilities (34% compared to 21%).
  • For those living in housing that is owned, persons reporting a speaking/communicating disability are more likely to be living in a household in core housing need than persons without disabilities (9% compared to 5%).

Demographic and Socio-Economic Characteristics

  • Males who report having a speaking/communicating disability and who are living in a household in core need are likely to be younger than females: 43% of such males are younger than 45, compared to 37% of the females.
  • 37% of those with a speaking/communicating disability that live in a household in core housing need live alone, compared to 21% of those without disabilities.
  • 24% of persons aged 15 and older with a speaking/ communicating disability are immigrants, compared to 37% of persons without disabilities.
  • 88% of persons aged 15 and older who have a speaking/ communicating disability and who live in a household in core need had a household before-tax income in the lowest income quintile (less than $27,417).
  • Among persons living in a household in core housing need, 58% of those with a speaking/communicating disability have not completed high school, compared to 40% of those without disabilities.
  • More than half (55%) of persons with a speaking/ communicating disability who are living in a household in core housing need consider their general health status to be fair or poor.

Acknowledgements

CMHC provides funding for housing content on the Census of Canada and on Statistics Canada surveys. Statistics Canada information is used with the permission of Statistics Canada. Users are forbidden to copy and redisseminate data for commercial purposes, either in an original or modified form, without the express permission of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and, where applicable, Statistics Canada. More information on Statistics Canada data can be obtained from its Regional Offices, at http://www.statcan.gc.ca, or at 1-800-263-1136.

CMHC Project Manager: Janet Kreda

Housing Research at CMHC
Under Part IX of the National Housing Act, the Government of Canada provides funds to CMHC to conduct research into the social, economic and technical aspects of housing and related fields, and to undertake the publishing and distribution of the results of this research. This fact sheet is one of a series intended to inform you of the nature and scope of CMHC’s research.

1 People who answer “Yes” to one of the questions on general limitations and “No” to the specific disability-type questions are classified as having “nature of disability unknown.”
2 Refers to all private households. People living in collective dwellings (see Statistics Canada, 2001 Census Dictionary, Cat. No. 92-378-XIE,
pages 190-193) are excluded by definition.
3 According to the NOS, enough bedrooms means one bedroom for each cohabitation adult couple; unattached household member 18 years of age and
over; same-sex pair of children under age 18; and additional boy or girl in the family, unless there are two opposite-sex siblings under 5 years of age, in
which case they are expected to share a bedroom. A household of one individual can occupy a bachelor unit (i.e., a unit with no bedroom).
4 Shelter costs include the following:

  • For renters, rent and payments for electricity, fuel, water and other municipal services; and
  • For owners, mortgage payments (principal and interest), property taxes, and any condominium fees, along with payments for electricity, fuel, water
    and other municipal services. Costs associated with maintenance and repairs are not considered part of shelter costs.

Income data collected by the 2001 Census refer to the calendar year preceding the Census, while shelter cost data are for 2001.

Canada

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