2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 1 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadians Aged 15 Years and Older with a Mobility and/or an Agility Disability

Introduction

This Research Highlight is the second produced through a CMHC research project that examined the housing conditions and characteristics of Canadians with disabilities.

This Highlight begins with some general characteristics of the population with disabilities who are aged 15 years and older, and continues with a detailed profile of those who report having a mobility and/or an agility disability. Data used in this Highlight are from the 2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (2001 PALS). PALS is Canada’s principal national survey focusing on people with disabilities. It provides information on the prevalence and severity of certain types of disability, on the use of and unmet need for supports, and on participation in various 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 “ unknown1” category):

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

Mobility and Agility Disability

Of the 2,692,800 people aged 15 and older with a mobility and/or an agility disability, 72% or 1,952,000 report having both disabilities. For the purposes of this analysis, those with a mobility and/or agility disability have been combined into one group referred to as “mobility/agility disability” for this series of Highlights.

In the 2001 PALS, an individual with a mobility disability is someone who has difficulty with at least one of:

  • walking half a kilometre
  • walking up and down a flight of stairs (about 12 steps) without resting
  • moving from one room to another
  • carrying an object of 5 kg (10 lbs) for 10 m (30 ft.)
  • standing for long periods.

In the 2001 PALS, an individual with an agility disability is someone who has difficulty with at least one of:

  • bending
  • dressing or undressing her/himself
  • getting into and out of bed
  • cutting her/his toenails
  • using fingers to grasp/handle objects
  • reaching in any direction (for example, above her/his head)
  • cutting her/his food.

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

General Characteristics of Persons with Disabilities Aged 15 Years and Older

Geography

There are 3,352,300 persons with disabilities who are 15 years and older, resulting in a national disability rate of 15% (see Table 1). There are significant variations among the provinces with Quebec recording the lowest rate at 10%5 and Nova Scotia the highest at 20%.

Table 1 — Numbers of persons aged 15 years and older living in households, by disability status, in Canada and the provinces, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older
total population6 without disabilities with disabilities disability rate
NOTE: Includes the population living in private non-farm, non-reserve households with household income greater than zero and the average shelter cost-to-income ratio (STIRs) less than 100%.
Source: 2001 PALS
CANADA 22,608,200 19,255,900 3,352,300 14.8%
Newfoundland and Labrador 405,500 348,000 57,500 14.2%
Prince Edward Island 102,000 84,500 17,500 17.2%
Nova Scotia 714,000 569,700 144,300 20.2%
New Brunswick 575,400 477,900 97,500 16.9%
Quebec 5,631,400 5,071,300 560,100 9.9%
Ontario 8,748,000 7,334,100 1,413,900 16.2%
Manitoba 748,300 614,900 133,400 17.8%
Saskatchewan 595,100 485,000 110,100 18.5%
Alberta 2,078,800 1,758,600 320,200 15.4%
British Columbia 3,009,600 2,511,900 497,700 16.5%

Age and Gender

The rate of disability increases as age increases, and, in all age groups, the disability rate is higher among females than for males. The disability rate varies considerably by age group, from 4% for persons aged 15 to 24 years to 41% for people aged 65 years and older (see Table 2).

The age structure of the population with disabilities is very different from the population without disabilities. Over three quarters of persons aged 15 years and older (77%) who report a disability are over 44 years of age compared to 40% of people 15 years or older without disabilities (see Figure 1). This difference in age structure is important to remember when comparing the social and economic characteristics of these two populations.

Table 2 — Number and per cent of persons aged 15 years and older living in households, by disability status, age group and sex, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older
without disabilities with disabilities disability rate
Male Female Both sexes Male Female Both sexes Male Female Both sexes
Source: 2001 PALS
15 and older 9,449,700 9,806,100 19,255,900 1,487,800 1,864,500 3,352,300 13.6% 16.0% 14.8%
15 to 24 1,815,000 1,750,800 3,565,800 73,000 75,000 148,000 3.9% 4.1% 4.0%
25 to 44 3,892,500 4,051,200 7,943,700 283,900 334,400 618,300 6.8% 7.6% 7.2%
45 to 64 2,819,800 2,885,700 5,705,500 541,400 621,300 1,162,700 16.1% 17.7% 16.9%
65 and older 922,400 1,118,500 2,040,900 589,500 833,700 1,423,200 39.0% 42.7% 41.1%

Figure 1 Percentage distribution of persons without and with disabilities aged 15 and older, by age group, 2001

Figure 1 —  Percentage distribution of persons without and with disabilities aged 15 and older, by age group, 2001

The above graph shows the percentage distribution of persons without and with disabilities aged 15 and older, by age group, for 2001.

15 to 24 years old: 18.5% without disabilities and 4.4% with disabilities.

25 to 44 years old: 41.3% without disabilities and 18.4% with disabilities.

45 to 64 years old: 29.6% without disabilities and 34.7% with disabilities.

65 years and older: 10.6% without disabilities and 42.5% with disabilities.

Source: 2001 PALS

Living Arrangements

Persons with disabilities are less likely to be living in a family with children, and more likely to be living alone, than persons without disabilities. A total of 23% of persons with disabilities live in a family household comprised of a couple (married or living common law) with children, compared to 50% of persons without disabilities (see Table 3). The reverse is seen for persons living alone where 23% of persons with disabilities live alone compared to 10% of persons without disabilities.

Table 3 — Number of persons aged 15 years and older living in households, by living arrangements and disability status, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older
without disabilities with disabilities
Number % Number %
Source: 2001 PALS
All types of living arrangements 19,255,900 100.0 3,352,300 100.0
Living alone 2,012,500 10.5 779,400 23.3
Non-family person, living with others 1,146,500 6.0 266,400 7.9
Lone-parent family 1,808,300 9.4 349,500 10.4
Couple without children 4,748,700 24.7 1,181,200 35.2
Couple with children 9,539,900 49.5 775,800 23.1

Nature of Disabilities

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.

The three most commonly reported disabilities are mobility/agility, pain and hearing. A total of 2,692,800 people or 80% of those reporting a disability report either a mobility and/or an agility disability (see Table 4). Since there is considerable overlap between those who report either of these two disabilities, they have been combined into one group for the purposes of this analysis. Almost seven out of ten persons with a disability (70% or 2,332,300) report a disability due to pain and close to one third (30%) report a hearing disability.

Most persons with disabilities (81%) report multiple disabilities. However, 19% or 636,400 individuals report only one type of disability and 37% or 1,226,500 persons report having two types of disabilities.

The severity of an individual’s disability is assessed in the 2001 PALS based on the frequency and intensity of the limitations. For example, a person who has no difficulty walking and climbing stairs but who cannot stand in line for more than twenty minutes would have a mild mobility-related disability. A person who can move around only via a wheelchair would have a severe mobility-related disability. According to the 2001 PALS, 41% or 1,378,700 persons with disabilities have a severe or very severe disability. For 25% (838,800 individuals), the severity of disability is moderate, and for the remaining one-third (34% or 1,134,800), the severity of the disability is mild.

Table 4 — Number and per cent of persons aged 15 years and older living in households, by type of disability, 2001
  Number %
Source: 2001 PALS
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/agility7 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
Psychological 517,700 15.4
Unknown 94,400 2.8

Persons with a Mobility/Agility Disability Aged 15 and Older

Among persons with disabilities, an estimated 2,692,800 (or 80%) have a mobility/agility disability. While mobility/agility disabilities are the most commonly reported disability, the incidence varies among the ten provinces (see Table 5). Quebec shows the highest rate at 83% while Alberta and British Columbia have the lowest rates at 76% and 75% respectively.

Table 5 — Number of persons aged 15 years and older with disabilities living in households, by type of disability in Canada and the provinces, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older % with a mobility/agility disability
with any type of disability with a mobility/agility disability
Source: 2001 PALS
CANADA 3,352,300 2,692,800 80.3
Newfoundland and Labrador 57,500 47,300 82.2
Prince Edward Island 17,500 13,600 78.0
Nova Scotia 144,300 116,400 80.7
New Brunswick 97,500 78,900 80.9
Quebec 560,100 465,700 83.1
Ontario 1,413,900 1,161,500 82.1
Manitoba 133,400 105,800 79.3
Saskatchewan 110,100 85,900 78.0
Alberta 320,200 242,100 75.6
British Columbia 497,700 375,500 75.4

Age and Gender

Persons with a mobility/agility disability are on average slightly older (at 61 years) than those with any type of disability (at 59 years). The average age of women (at 62 and 60 respectively) is slightly higher than men (at 60 and 58 respectively) for both populations.

The percentage of females with disabilities who report a mobility/agility disability is higher than for males (85% compared to 75% respectively) and this is true for all age groups (see Table 6). The percentage of people with a mobility/agility disability increases with age and this is true for both males and females.

Table 6 — Number of persons aged 15 years and older with disabilities living in households, by type of disability, sex and age group, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older % with a mobility/agility disability
with any type of disability with a mobility/agility disability
Source: 2001 PALS
Both sexes 15 years and older 3,352,300 2,692,800 80.3
15 to 24 years 148,000 75,400 50.9
25 to 44 years 618,300 431,000 69.7
45 to 64 years 1,162,700 955,600 82.2
65 years and older 1,423,200 1,230,900 86.5
Male 15 years and older 1,487,800 1,111,200 74.7
15 to 24 years 73,000 34,500 47.3
5 to 44 years 283,900 180,700 63.6
45 to 64 years 541,400 419,400 77.5
65 years and older 589,500 476,600 80.8
Female 15 years and older 1,864,500 1,581,500 84.8
15 to 24 years 75,000 40,800 54.4
25 to 44 years 334,400 250,300 74.9
45 to 64 years 621,300 536,200 86.3
65 years and older 833,700 754,300 90.5

Presence of Other Types of Disabilities

People with a mobility/agility disability are very likely to have other types of disabilities, with the majority (77%) reporting a disability related to pain. Hearing and seeing disabilities are reported by 29% and 19% of people with a mobility/agility disability, respectively (see Table 7).

There are some significant differences in the nature of multiple disabilities when analysed by age group, particularly with learning and developmental disabilities. Overall 13% of people with a mobility/agility disability also report having a learning disability; however, among persons aged 15 to 24 years, this proportion is 45%. Similarly, while 3% of people with a mobility/agility disability also report having a developmental disability, the proportion is 23% among people aged 15 to 24 years.

Table 7 — Distribution of persons aged 15 years and older with a mobility/agility disability, by type of other disability, 2001
Type of disability Distribution of persons aged 15 years and older with
a mobility/agility disability by other disability type
(#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Mobility/agility 2,692,800 100.0
Seeing 520,800 19.3
Hearing 774,100 28.7
Speaking/communicating 295,700 11.0
Developmental 88,100 3.3
Learning 342,500 12.7
Psychological 423,000 15.7
Memory 374,900 13.9
Pain 2,063,400 76.6

Severity of Disability

People with a mobility/agility disability are more likely to have a severe or very severe disability than those reporting any type of disability, 49% compared to 41% respectively (see Table 8).

There are significant differences when the data is examined by age group, the most significant being among persons aged 15 to 24 years. In this young age group, 20% or 15,100 persons with a mobility/agility disability have a very severe disability compared to 11% for those with any type of disability.

Table 8 — Number of persons aged 15 years and older with disabilities living in households, by type of disability and severity of disability, 2001
Severity of disability Persons aged 15 years and older
with any type of disability with a mobility/agility disability
(#) (%) (#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Total 3,352,300 100.0 2,692,800 100.0
Mild 1,134,800 33.9 685,100 25.4
Moderate 838,800 25.0 699,100 26.0
Severe 903,500 27.0 844,100 31.3
Very severe 475,100 14.2 464,500 17.2

Housing Characteristics of Persons with a Mobility/Agility Disability who Are Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

At the Canada level, 18% of persons aged 15 years and older with a mobility/agility disability live in a household in core housing need, about twice the incidence of people without disabilities (9%) (see Table 9). The rate varies significantly among the ten provinces, with the lowest incidence in Saskatchewan at 11% and the highest in British Columbia at 22%. In some provinces, people with a mobility/agility disability are more than twice as likely to be living in a household in core housing need than persons without disabilities. The largest relative difference in core need between people with disabilities and people without disabilities occurs in Quebec (16% versus 7%) (see Table 9).

Table 9 — Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status in Canada and the provinces, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older living
in a household in core housing need
Ratio of persons with a mobility/agility
disability to persons without disabilities
with a mobility/agility disability with any type of disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
A B C D E F B/F
Source: 2001 PALS
CANADA 474,700 17.6 563,900 16.8 1,757,000 9.1 1.9
Newfoundland and Labrador 9,500 20.0 10,700 18.5 35,900 10.3 1.9
Prince Edward Island 2,000 14.6 2,500 14.5 6,600 7.8 1.9
Nova Scotia 21,700 18.7 25,100 17.4 55,000 9.6 1.9
New Brunswick 9,800 12.4 11,700 12.0 31,800 6.7 1.9
Quebec 74,500 16.0 89,200 15.9 376,300 7.4 2.2
Ontario 216,300 18.6 247,800 17.5 772,900 10.5 1.8
Manitoba 14,400 13.6 17,300 13.0 40,600 6.6 2.1
Saskatchewan 9,400 10.9 12,400 11.3 31,100 6.4 1.7
Alberta 35,100 14.5 45,100 14.1 124,800 7.1 2.0
British Columbia 82,100 21.8 102,000 20.5 282,100 11.2 1.9

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 mobility/agility disability, the incidence of living in a household in core housing need is 19% in urban areas versus 13% in rural areas compared to 10% and 6% respectively for people without disabilities.

Tenure

There is a significant difference in the proportion of people living in a household in core housing need depending on whether the dwelling is owned or rented. For people with mobility/agility disabilities, about 10% of those who live in dwellings owned by a member of the family are in core housing need, as opposed to about one-third of those who live in rented accommodations. This difference holds regardless of disability status, although the magnitudes differ somewhat (see Table 10).

Table 10 — Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and tenure, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need
with a mobility/agility disability with any type of disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Canada — All dwellings 474,700 17.6 563,900 16.8 1,757,000 9.1
Owned by a member of the family 171,100 9.5 202,300 8.9 673,500 4.8
Rented 303,600 34.2 361,600 33.6 1,083,400 21.1

Special Features for Access and Egress and Special Features within the Home

The PALS 2001 collected information on the types of special features that people with disabilities use or need to assist them. These include, for example, ramps and lifts that assist with entering and leaving their home as well as grab bars, bath lifts and widened hallways or doorways that facilitate mobility within the home.

The majority (79%) of people with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need indicate that they do not use or require any special features to assist them with their daily life activities. Of the remaining 21% (97,700) who use or require special features, 66,700 have all the features that they need, 22,400 do not have any of the features that they need and 8,600 have some of the features but need others (see Table 11).

Table 11 — Use of and need for special features for persons aged 15 years and older with mobility/agility disabilities living in a household in core housing need, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older that live in a household in
core housing need who report having mobility/agility disabilities
Population As % of those with
mobility/agility disability
As % of those that use or
need special features
(#) (%) (%)
Total with mobility/agility disability 474,700 100.0 n.a.
Total that do not use or need special features 377,000  79.4 n.a.
Total that use or need special features 97,700 20.6 100.0
Use some special features and do not need any others 66,700 14.1 68.2
Use some special features and need others  8,600 1.8 8.8
Need some special features and have none 22,400 4.7 2 23.0

Among the 31,000 persons with a mobility/agility disability living in core housing need with unmet needs for special features, an estimated 18,400 (59%) report that the unmet need is for grab bars or a bath lift in the bathroom, 9,600 (31%) report that it is for a ramp or street level entrance, and 6,800 (22%) report that it is for automatic or easy to open doors (see Table 12). Some individuals have more than one unmet need.

The incidence of unmet need for such special features is significantly greater among the younger population with mobility/agility disabilities. Over two thirds (69%) of persons aged 15 to 24 years, and over half (57%) of those aged 25 to 34 years have unmet needs for special features, compared to 38% of persons aged 45 to 64 years and 21% among seniors aged 65 years and older.

Table 12 — Number and per cent of persons aged 15 years and older with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need with unmet needs for special features to access or egress or within the home, by type of feature, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older who are living in a household
in core housing need with a mobility/agility disability
(#)  (%)*
*Components add up to more than 100% since some individuals have more than one unmet need
Source: 2001 PALS
Total population needing additional features 31,000 100.0
Ramps or street level entrances 9,600 31.0
Automatic or easy to open doors (includes lever handles) 6,800  21.9
Widened doorways or hallways 3,300 10.6
Elevator or lift device 6,300 20.3
Visual alarms or audio warning devices 1,300 4.2
Grab bars or a bath lift (in the bathroom) 18,400 59.4
Lowered counters in the kitchen 2,900 9.4

Demographic and Socio-economic Characteristics of Persons Aged 15 Years and Older with a Mobility/Agility Disability Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

Age and Gender

Regardless of disability status, females (at 12 %) are more likely to be living in a household in core housing need than males (at 9%). Females make up 66% of those with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need and 58% of the population without disabilities living in this housing condition.

As noted earlier, the population with a mobility/agility disability is older than the population with disabilities and the population without disabilities. This pattern is also seen for those living in a household in core need, with 41% of such persons with a mobility/agility disability being over the age of 65 compared to 12% of those without disabilities (see Table 13).

Males with mobility/agility disabilities living in a household in core need are more likely to be younger than females. Only 29% of such males are 65 and older, compared to 48% of such females.

Table 13 — 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 living in a household in core housing need
with a mobility/agility disability with any type of disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Both sexes 15 years and older 474,700 100.0 563,900 100.0 1,757,000 100.0
15 to 24 13,200 2.8 26,500 4.7 386,100 22.0
25 to 44 89,800 18.9 120,700 21.4 755,200 43.0
45 to 64 175,900 37.1 199,200 35.3 402,000 22.9
65 and older 195,900 41.3 217,500 38.6 213,700 12.2
Males 15 years and older 168,300 100.0 211,800 100.0 745,100 100.0
15 to 24 5,600 3.3 11,500 5.4 182,200 24.5
25 to 44 37,800 22.5 51,900 24.5 317,200 42.6
45 to 64 75,800 45.1 90,300 42.6 181,200 24.3
65 and older 49,000 29.1 58,100 27.4 64,600 8.7
Females 15 years and older 306,500 100.0 352,000 100.0 1,011,800 100.0
15 to 24 7,500 2.4 15,100 4.3 204,000 20.2
25 to 44 51,900 16.9 68,700 19.5 438,000 43.3
45 to 64 100,100 32.7 108,900 30.9 220,800 21.8
65 and older 146,900 47.9 159,400 45.3 149,100 14.7

Living Arrangements

Persons with a mobility/agility disability living in core housing need are more than twice as likely to live alone than those without disabilities. Of the 474,700 persons with a mobility/agility disability in core need, almost half (47%) live alone compared to 21% of those without disabilities (see Table 14).

Table 14 — Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and living arrangements, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need
 with a mobility/agility disability with any type of disability  without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
All types of living arrangements 474,700 100.0 563,900 100.0 1,757,000 100.0
Living alone 223,000 47.0 261,900 46.4 370,300 21.1
Non-family person, living with others 33,200 7.0 38,500 6.8 125,800 7.2
Lone-parent family 70,600 14.9 89,300 15.8 407,400 23.2
Family without children 89,200 18.8 103,200 18.3 241,000 13.7
Family with children 58,800 12.4 70,900 12.6 612,300 34.8

Immigrant Status

Among those with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need, an estimated 26% or 123,400 are immigrants compared to 37% or 650,100 persons without disabilities. Only a small proportion (3%) of those with mobility/agility disability in core need immigrated in the ten years prior to the 2001 Census. (see Table 15).

Table 15 — 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 years and older living in a household in core housing need
with a mobility/agility
disability
with any type of
disability
without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Canada — All immigrant status 474,700 100.0 563,900 100.0 1,757,000 100.0
Non-immigrant 351,300 74.0 426,500 75.6 1,106,900 63.0
Immigrant (1992 to 2001) 13 200 2.8 15,700 2.8 304,700 17.3
Immigrant before 1992 110,200 23.2 121,700 21.6 345,400 19.7

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 were 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 to $96,935
Middle income: $46,896 to $67,811
Moderate income: $27,418 to $46,895
Low income: Less than $27,418

Regardless of disability status, the majority of persons living in core housing need have low incomes: 89% of persons with a mobility/agility disability are in households in the lowest quintile compared to 77% of those without disabilities, and 10% of individuals with a mobility/agility disability live in households in the second lowest (moderate income) quintile, compared to 22% of people without disabilities (see text box and Table 16).

Table 16 — Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need, by disability status and household income quintile, 2001
  Persons aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need
with a mobility/agility
disability
with any type of
disability
without
disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
* Number suppressed because of sample size.
Source: 2001 PALS
Total 474,700 100.0 563,900 100.0 1,757,000 100.0
High, Upper, Middle ($46,896 or more) * * * * 27,200 1.5
Moderate ($27,418 to $46,895) 48,500 10.2 59,000 10.5 383,100 21.8
Low (less than $27,418) 422,900 89.1 501,500 88.9 1,346,600 76.6

Sources of Personal Income

Only 14% or 64,900 of those with a mobility/agility disability living 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 (see Table 17). Similarly, persons with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need are less likely to report self-employment as a source of income than persons without disabilities (3% compared to 7%). These differences can partially be attributed to the different age structure of the two populations.

It is not surprising that most individuals living in a household in core need report some income from government sources (Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, benefits from Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, benefits from Employment Insurance, provincial income supplements and welfare payments). Almost all (95%) people with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core need have income from government sources compared to 82% of persons without disabilities living in a household in core need.

Table 17 — Persons aged 15 years and older living 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 living in a household in core housing need
with a mobility/agility disability with any type of disability without disabilities
(#) (%) (#) (%) (#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Canada — All sources of income 474,700 100.0 563,900 100.0 1,757,700 100.0
Wages and salaries 64,900 13.7 93,800 16.6 843,100 48.0
Income from self-employment 15,200 3.2 20,500 3.6 128,400 7.3
Income from Government 451,400 95.1 532,300 94.4 1,434,500 81.6
Other income, such as retirement pensions, dividends and interest on bonds, deposits and savings, alimony, child support, scholarships, etc. 22,100 4.7 28,500 5.1 121,100 6.9

Level of Education

People with disabilities living in core housing need are less likely to have completed high school and less likely to have gone to university. Among persons with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core need, 56% have not completed high school compared to 40% of persons without disabilities. Only 9% of persons with a mobility/agility disability in core housing need report some university education compared to 21% of people without disabilities in core need (see Table 18).

The incidence of core housing need generally diminishes with higher levels of educational attainment. While the overall incidence of core housing need is 18% for people with a mobility/agility disability, it ranges from 20% for those who those who did not complete high school to 10% for those with at least a bachelor degree. Trade certificates and other non-university training also decrease the incidence of core housing need.

Table 18 — 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 mobility/agility
disability
Incidence of core
housing need
without
disabilities
Incidence of core
housing need
(#) (%) (%) (#) (%) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Canada — All levels of education 474,700 100.0 17.6 1,757,000 100.0 9.1
Less than high school graduation 263,300 55.5 19.9 708,000 40.3 13.2
Secondary school graduation certificate 56,100 11.8 17.9 247,400 14.1 8.7
Trades certificate or diploma 17,700 3.7 16.2 53,300 3.0 8.0
Other non-university 95,500 20.1 16.0 378,900 21.6 7.5
University but no degree 24,600 5.2 14.6 173,600 9.9 8.3
At least bachelor degree 17,500 3.7 9.5 195,800 11.1 6.0

Health Status

More than half (53%) of persons with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need consider that their general health status is fair or poor, compared to 48% of persons with any disability (see Table 19).

Of those who give the “fair” response, 45% are aged 45 to 64 years, and 86% have three more types of disabilities in addition to their mobility/agility disability. A majority (68%) have a moderate or severe level of disability.

Of those who give the “poor” responses about half are aged 45 to 64 years, 80% have three more types of disabilities in addition to their mobility/agility disability, and 83% are classified as having a severe or very severe level of disability.

Table 19 — Persons aged 15 years and older with disabilities living 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 a mobility/agility disability with any type of disability
(#) (%) (#) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Canada — All levels of general health status 474,700 100.0 563,900 100.0
Excellent 12,500 2.6 21,300 3.8
Very good 65,800 13.9 92,000 16.3
Good 128,500 27.1 157,100 27.9
Fair 160,600 33.8 174,300 30.9
Poor 89,100 18.8 95,400 16.9
Not stated, refusal or don't know 18,300 3.9 23,900 4.2

Local Transportation Issues

An estimated 201,000 individuals with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core need travel locally using special bus services or local transportation such as buses, subways and taxis. Of these, 46,100 or 23% report some difficulty using these services. For nearly half (47%) the major issue is getting on or off the vehicles. For over one quarter (28%) of those using local transportation services, getting to or locating stops is a problem, and 22% report that the lack of 24 -hour , 7 day a week service is the problem.

Among the 258,000 individuals with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need who did not use specialized bus services or local transportation, about 20,500 (8%) reported barriers to using these services. The two major issues reported were getting on or off the vehicles (53%) and getting to or locating stops (48%). A total of 27% reported that the lack of 24 -hour , 7 day a week service was a problem.

Summary of Findings

Persons with Disabilities

General Characteristics

  • 15% of Canadians aged 15 and older report some level of disability, with the lowest rate in Quebec (10%) and the highest in Nova Scotia (20%).
  • The rate of disability increases as age increases, and the disability rate is higher in all groups for females than for males.
  • 23% or 779,400 persons aged 15 and older with disabilities live alone.
  • 80% or 2,692,800 persons aged 15 and older who report a disability report having a mobility and/or an agility disability.
  • 41% or 1,378,600 persons aged 15 years and older with disabilities are classified as having severe or very severe level of disability.

Persons Aged 15 and Older with a Mobility/Agility Disability

General Characteristics

  • Whereas 80% of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 years and older report having a mobility/agility disability, the proportion varies among the provinces with Quebec the highest at 83% and British Columbia the lowest at 75%.
  • The proportion of persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability increases with age and this is true for both males and females.
  • 77% of persons aged 15 years and older with a mobility/agility disability also report a pain disability.

Persons Aged 15 and Older with a Mobility/Agility Disability Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

Housing Characteristics

  • 18% or 474,700 persons aged 15 years and older with a mobility/agility disability live in a household in core housing need. This proportion varies considerably among the provinces with the highest (22%) reported in British Columbia and the lowest in Saskatchewan (11%).
  • A total of 34% of those with a mobility/agility disability who live in rented accommodation live in a household in core housing need compared to about 10% of those who live in a dwelling owned by a family member.
  • Of the 97,700 persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing who require special features to enter or leave their residence or within their residence, 31,000 do not have the features they need.

Demographic and Socio-economic Characteristics

  • Among males with a mobility and/or agility disability living in a household in core housing need the largest proportion (45%) are aged 45 to 64 years, whereas for females the largest proportion (48%) are aged 65 and older.
  • 47% or 223,000 persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability who live in a household in core housing need live alone.
  • 23% or 110,200 persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability who live in a household in core housing need are immigrants who arrived in Canada before 1992.
  • The majority (89%) of persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability who live in a household in core housing need are in the lowest household income quintile (i.e., had a household before-tax income of less than $27,418) in 2000.
  • 14% or 64,900 of persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability and who live in a household in core housing need report wages and salaries as a source of personal income.
  • 67% or 319,400 persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability who live in a household in core housing need report their highest level of education as secondary school certificate or less.
  • 34% (160,600) and 19% (89,100) of persons aged 15 and older with a mobility/agility disability who live in a household in core housing need report a health status of fair and poor, respectively.

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 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.

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.

5 This lower rate in Quebec has been observed in all of the disability surveys conducted by Statistics Canada.

6 Housing conditions cannot be assessed for households that report shelter costs that equal or exceed their income or households that have incomes of zero or less. An estimated 837,500 people aged 15 or older are excluded from the data.

7 Of the 2,692,800 individuals who report having a mobility and/or agility disability, 72% or 1,952,000 report both types. For this reason, representatives from the community recommended that these two types of disabilities be combined for the purpose of this Highlight series.

Published: May 2009.

Canada

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