2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 7 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadians aged 15 Years and Older with a Developmental 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 developmental 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.

Developmental Disability

In the 2001 PALS, an individual with a developmental disability is someone who has been told by a doctor, psychologist or other health professional that he/she has a developmental disability or disorder.

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.
  • 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 Developmental Disability Aged 15 and Older

Among the persons with any type of disability, an estimated 117,000, or 4%, have a developmental disability, making it one of the least commonly reported disabilities (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 developmental disability varies among the ten provinces; the highest rate is in Quebec, at 5%, while the lowest rate is in Nova Scotia, at 2% (see Table 2).

Table 2 Number of persons aged 15 years and older with a developmental disability and relative to any other type of disability, 2001
Geography Persons aged 15 years % with a developmental disability
with any type of disability> with a developmental disability
(#) (#)
CANADA 3,352,300 117,000 3.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador 57,500 2,400 4.2%
Prince Edward Island 17,500 500 2.9%
Nova Scotia 144,300 2,600 1.8%
New Brunswick 97,500 2,200 2.3%
Quebec 560,100 27,700 4.9%
Ontario 1,413,900 48,200 3.4%
Manitoba 133,400 4,000 3.0%
Saskatchewan 110,100 3,600 3.3%
Alberta 320,200 11,400 3.6%
British Columbia 497,700 14,400 2.9%
Source: 2001 PALS

Age and Gender

Persons who report a developmental disability are more likely to be male than those with any type of disability (62% compared to 44%) (derived from Table 3), and are also younger on average (at 42 years) than those reporting any type of disability (at 59). This holds true for both genders, with the average age of males being 44 years and females being 40 years, compared to 58 and 60 respectively for persons with any disability. Only 46% who report a developmental disability are 45 years and older, compared with 77% who report any disability.

While overall, 4% of persons who report any type of disability report having a developmental disability, among persons aged 15 to 24 years this proportion is 17% and the decreases rapidly with increasing age (see Table 3).

Table 3 Number of persons aged 15 years and older with a developmental disability and relative to any type of disability, by sex and age group, 2001
Sex Age group Persons aged 15 years and older % with a developmental disability
with any type of disability with a developmental disability
(#) (#)
Both sexes 15 years and older 3,352,300 117,000 3.5%
  15 - 24 years 148,000 25,400 17.2%
  25 - 44 years 618,300 37,600 6.1%
  45 - 64 years 1,162,700 42,900 3.7%
  65 years and older 1,423,200 11,000 0.8%
Male 15 years and older 1,487,800 73,000 4.9%
  15 - 24 years 73,000 15,200 20.8%
  25 - 44 years 283,900 22,000 7.7%
  45 - 64 years 541,400 28,100 5.2%
  65 years and older 589,500 7,700 1.3%
Female 15 years and older 1,864,500 44,000 2.4%
  15 - 24 years 75,000 10,300 13.7%
  25 - 44 years 334,400 15,600 4.7%
  45 - 64 years 621,300 14,800 2.4%
  65 years and older 833,700 3,300 0.4%
Source: 2001 PALS

Among males 15 to 24 years who report any disability, 21% report having a developmental disability, compared to 14% of than females of the same age.

Severity of Disability

About 73% of persons who report having a developmental disability are classified as having a severe or very severe disability. Among persons reporting any type of disability, the proportion is 41% (see Table 4).

Table 4 Number of persons aged 15 years and older with a developmental disability 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 developmental disability
  (#) (%) (#) (%)
Total 3,352,300 100.0% 117,000 100.0%
Mild 1,134,800 33.9% 9,500 8.1%
Moderate 838,800 25.0% 21,800 18.6%
Severe 903,500 27.0% 34,900 29.8%
Very severe 475,100 14.2% 50,800 43.4%
Source: 2001 PALS

Housing Characteristics of Persons with a Developmental Disability who are Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

At the Canada level, about 19% of persons aged 15 years and older with a developmental disability live in a household in core housing need, compared to 9% of people with no disability (see Table 5). The rate varies significantly among the ten provinces, with the lowest incidence in Ontario at 14% and the highest in Nova Scotia at 27%.

Table 5 Persons aged 15 years and older living in households 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 developmental disability  
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada 563,900 16.8% 21,600 18.5% 1,757,000 9.1%
Newfoundland and Labrador 10,700 18.5% * * 35,900 10.3%
Prince Edward Island 2,500 14.5% * * 6,600 7.8%
Nova Scotia 25,100 17.4% 700 26.9% 55,000 9.6%
New Brunswick 11,700 12.0% 500 22.7% 31,800 6.7%
Quebec 89,200 15.9% 5,100 18.4% 376,300 7.4%
Ontario 247,800 17.5% 6,500 13.5% 772,900 10.5%
Manitoba 17,300 13.0% 1,000 25.0% 40,600 6.6%
Saskatchewan 12,400 11.3% 800 22.2% 31,100 6.4%
Alberta 45,100 14.1% 3,000 26.3% 124,800 7.1%
British Columbia 102,000 20.5% 3,700 25.7% 282,100 11.2%
* Number suppressed because of the sample size.
Source: 2001 PALS

Urban/ Rural

The probability of living in a household in core housing need is higher in urban areas than in rural areas, regardless of disability status. For people with a developmental disability, the incidence of living in a household in core housing need is 19% in urban areas and 16% in rural areas, compared to 17% and 13%, respectively, for persons with any type of disability, and 10% and 6%, respectively, for people without disabilities.

Tenure

The incidence of core housing need is higher for renters than for owners regardless of disability status. About 30% of persons with a developmental disability who live in rental accommodations are living in a household in core need, compared to 12 % of those living in accommodations owned by a member of the family (see Table 6).

Table 6 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 developmental disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 16.8% 21,600 18.5% 1,757,000 9.1%
Owned by a member of the family 202,300 8.9% 8,400 11.6% 673,500 4.8%
Rented 361,600 33.6% 13,200 29.6% 1,083,400 21.1%
Source: 2001 PALS

Demographic and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Persons Aged 15 Years and Older with a Developmental Disability Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

Age and Gender

About 58% of people with a developmental disability living in a household in core housing need are males, compared to 42% of those without disabilities and 38% of those who report any type of disability (derived from Table 7).

Males with developmental disabilities living in a household in core need are generally younger than females: 21% of such males are 15 to 24 years old, compared to 14% of such females (see Table 7).

Table 7 Age and sex distribution of persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status, 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 developmental disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Both sexes 15 years and older 563,900 100.0% 21,600 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
  15 to 24 26,500 4.7% 3,900 18.1% 386,100 22.0%
  25 to 44 120,700 21.4% 7,900 36.6% 755,200 43.0%
  45 and older* 319,900 73.9% 9,800 45.4% 615,700 35.1%
Males 15 years and older 211,800 100.0% 12,500 100.0% 745,100 100.0%
  15 to 24 11,500 5.4% 2,600 20.8% 182,200 24.5%
  25 to 44 51,900 24.5% 4,200 33.6% 317,200 42.6%
  45 and older* 148,400 70.0% 5,700 45.6% 255,800 33.0%
Females 15 years and older 352,000 100.0% 9,100 100.0% 1,011,800 100.0%
  15 to 24 15,100 4.3% 1,300 14.3% 204,000 20.2%
  25 to 44 68,700 19.5% 3,700 40.7% 438,000 43.3%
  45 and older* 268,300 76.2% 4,100 45.1% 369,900 36.5%
* Data could not be further disaggregated due to data suppression
Source: 2001 PALS

Living Arrangements

About 31% of persons with a developmental disability and who are living in core housing need to live in a lone-parent family, compared to 16% of persons with any type of disability living in core housing need (see Table 8).

Proportionately, more persons with a developmental disability who are in core housing need are non-family persons living with others (15%) than among persons reporting any type of disability (7%) or among persons without disabilities (7%) (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 developmental disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
All types of living arrangements 563,900 100.0% 21,600 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
Living alone 261,900 46.4% 4,300 19.9% 370,300 21.1%
Non family person, living with others 38,500 6.8% 3,200 14.8% 125,800 7.2%
Lone parent family 89,300 15.8% 6,700 31.0% 407,400 23.2%
Family without children 103,200 18.3% 1,900 8.8% 241,000 13.7%
Family with children 70,900 12.6% 5,600 25.9% 612,300 34.8%
Source: 2001 PALS
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 $27,418

Over half (51%) of young people aged 15 to 24 years with a developmental disability who live in a household in core housing need live in a lone-parent family, compared to 39% for the same age group without disabilities. Among persons aged 25 to 44 years with a developmental disability who live in a household in core housing need, 22% live alone, compared to 13% of people without disabilities.

Over half (51%) of young people aged 15 to 24 years with a developmental disability who live in a household in core housing need live in a lone-parent family, compared to 39% for the same age group without disabilities. Among persons aged 25 to 44 years with a developmental disability who live in a household in core housing need, 22% live alone, compared to 13% of people without disabilities.

Household Income

A higher proportion of persons with a developmental disability living in a household in core housing need are in the lowest income quintile — 89%, compared to 77% of similar individuals 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 household income quintile, 2001
Household Income - Quintiles Persons aged 15 years and older who are living in a household in core housing need
  with any type of disability with a developmental disability without disabilities
  (#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 21,600 100.0% 1,757,000 100.0%
High, Upper, Middle ($46,896 or more) * * * * 27,200 1.5%
Moderate ($27,418-$46,895) 59,000 10.5% 2,400 11.1% 383,100 21.8%
Low (less than $27,417) 501,500 88.9% 19,200 88.9% 1,346,600 76.6%
* Number suppressed because of sample size.
Source: 2001 PALS

Sources of Personal Income

For persons aged 15 and older with a developmental disability and who are living in a household in core housing need, only 9% report wages and salaries as a source of personal income, compared to almost half (48%) of persons without disabilities and who are living in a household in core housing need.

About 87% of persons aged 15 years and older who are living in core housing need report income from government sources, such as Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, benefits from Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, benefits from Employment Insurance, and provincial income supplements or welfare payments (see Table 10).

Table 10 Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by type of 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 developmental disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 21,600 100.0% 1,757,700 100.0%
Wages and salaries 93,800 16.6% 1,900 8.8% 843,100 48.0%
Income from self-employment 20,500 3.6% * * 128,400 7.3%
Income from Government 532,300 94.4% 18,800 87.0% 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% * * 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

Among persons with a developmental disability and who are living in a household in core housing need, 67% have not completed high school, compared to 40% of persons without disabilities and who are living in core housing need (see Table 11). Only 4% of persons aged 15 years and older with a developmental disability and living in a household in core housing need report their highest level of education as university (with or without a degree). By comparison, 21% of those without disabilities had received some university education. (see Table 11).

Table 11 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 a developmental disability Incidence of Core housing need without disabilities Incidence of Core housing need
(#) (%) (%) (#) (%) (%)
Canada - All levels of education 21,600 100.0% 18.5% 1,757,000 100.0% 9.1%
Less than high school graduation 14,400 66.7% 17.7% 708,000 40.3% 13.2%
Secondary school graduation certificate 4,000 18.5% 22.9% 247,400 14.1% 8.7%
Trades certificate or diploma, or other non-university education* 2,500* 11.6% 18.2% 432,200 24.6% 7.6%
University with or without a degree** 800** 3.7% 16.0% 369,400 21.0% 6.9%
* Sample size of the population with developmental disabilities living in core housing need was small, requiring that “trades certificate and diploma” be combined with “other non-university.”
** Sample size of the population with developmental disabilities living in core housing need was small, requiring that “university but no degree” be combined with “at least bachelor’s degree.”

Health Status

Persons with a developmental disability and who are living in a household in core housing need are somewhat more likely than persons with any type of disability to report their general health status as excellent or very good: 23% versus 20%, respectively (see Table 12).

Table 12 Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by type of disability and general health status
General health status Persons aged 15 and older who are living in a household in core housing need with
any type of disability a developmental disability
(#) (%) (#) (%)
Canada total 563,900 100.0% 21,600 100.0%
Excellent 21,300 3.8% 2,000 9.3%
Very good 92,000 16.3% 2,900 13.4%
Good 157,100 27.9% 4,600 21.3%
Fair 174,300 30.9% 7,000 32.4%
Poor, not stated, refusal or don’t know 119,300 21.1% 5,100 23.6%
Source: 2001 PALS

Summary of Findings

Persons Aged 15 Year and Older with a Developmental Disability

General Characteristics

  • About 4% of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 years and older report having a developmental disability; the proportion varies among the provinces, with Quebec the highest at 5% and Nova Scotia the lowest at 2%.
  • The proportion of persons aged 15 and older who report having a developmental disability decreases with age for both males and females.
  • Persons with a developmental disability are considerably more likely to be male than female: 62% vs. 38%.
  • 73% of persons who report having a developmental disability are classified as having a severe or very severe disability, compared with 41% of people with any type of disability.

Persons Aged 15 Year and Older with a Developmental Disability Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

Housing Characteristics

n About 19% of persons aged 15 years and older who report a developmental disability live in a household in core housing need. This proportion varies considerably among the provinces with the highest (27%) reported in Nova Scotia and the lowest (14%) in Ontario.

n 62% of persons aged 15 and older who report having a developmental disability and who are living in a household in core housing need live in rented accommodation. Their incidence of core housing need is about 30%, compared to 21% of persons without disabilities living in a rented household in core housing need.

Demographic and Socio-Economic Characteristics

  • About 58% of persons with a developmental disability and who are living in a household in core housing need are males, and they are generally younger than such females.
  • 31% of persons aged 15 and older with a developmental disability and who live in a household in core housing need live in lone parent families, compared to 16% of those with any type of disability living in a household in core housing need.
  • 89% of persons aged 15 and older with a developmental disability and who live in a household in core housing need had a household before-tax income in the lowest income quintile (less than $27,418).
  • 9% of persons aged 15 and older with a developmental disability and who live in a household in core housing need report wages and salaries as a source of personal income; 87% had income from government.
  • 67% of persons aged 15 and older with a developmental disability and who live in a household in core housing need report their highest level of education as less than a secondary school certificate.
  • 23% of persons aged 15 and older who report having a developmental disability and who live in a household in core housing need report a health status of excellent or very good, compared to 20% of similar persons with any type of disability.

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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