2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 10 — Summary of the Housing Conditions of Canadians with Disabilities Aged 15 Years and Older who are Living in a Household in Core Housing Need

Introduction

About one in seven people in Canada (3,352,300 or 15%) reported a disability in the 2001 Participation and Activity Limitations Survey (PALS). While a majority of these Canadians lived in acceptable housing (see Acceptable Housing and Core Housing Need text box), about 17% were in core housing need. This Research Highlight, the last in a series of highlights that examine the housing conditions and characteristics of Canadians with disabilities1, focuses on those 17% living in core housing need.

This highlight summarizes general characteristics of the Canadian population with disabilities aged 15 years and older living in a household in core housing need and discusses variations among the populations with various types of disabilities both at the Canada level and across provinces. Data used in this highlight are from the 2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (2001 PALS) which has been linked to CMHC’s custom housing conditions data from the 2001 Census. 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 highlights number one to nine will differ from a previous Research Highlight2 that was based only 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 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 it identifies 10 specific types of disabilities (as well as an “unknown”3 category):

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

Acceptable Housing and Core Housing Need

The term acceptable housing refers to housing that is adequate in condition, suitable in size, and affordable.

  • Adequate housing does not require any major repairs, according to residents.
  • Suitable housing has enough bedrooms for the size and make-up of resident households, according to National Occupancy Standard (NOS) requirements. Enough bedrooms based on NOS requirements means one bedroom for each cohabiting 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 children 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).
  • Affordable housing costs less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income. For renters, shelter costs include rent and any payments for electricity, fuel, water and other municipal services. For owners, shelter costs include mortgage payments (principal and interest), property taxes, and any condominium fees, along with payments for electricity, fuel, water and other municipal services.

A household4 is in core housing need5 if its housing does not meet one or more of the adequacy, suitability or affordability standards and it would have to spend 30 per cent or more of its before-tax income to pay the median rent (including utility costs) of alternative local market housing that meets all three standards.

Findings

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

About 17% of Canadians aged 15 and older with any type of disability lived in a household in core housing need in 2001 (see Table 1). The percentages varied from a low of about 11% in Saskatchewan to a high of 21% in British Columbia.

The incidence of core housing need was consistently higher for households with a person with any type of disability than for those without any person with a disability.

At the Canada level and across types of disabilities, people who reported having an emotional/psychological disability had the highest percentage living in a household in core housing need (23%), while the ones reporting a hearing disability had the lowest proportion at 15%.

The percentage of people with each type of disability living in core housing need fluctuates across provinces. For instance, for persons with a mobility/agility disability, the rates vary from 11% in Saskatchewan to 22% in British Columbia. For people experiencing a seeing disability, the percentage goes from 12% in Prince Edward Island to 24% in Nova Scotia. With respect to the speaking/ communicating disability, percentages of people in core housing need go from a low of 13% in Quebec to a high of 25% in British Columbia.

Table 1 — Persons aged 15 years and older in core housing need, by disability status, Canada and provinces, 2001
  Without disabilities With any type of disability Disability Type
Mobility/ Agility Seeing Hearing Speaking / Communicating Developmental Learning Emotional / Psychological
(#) (%) (#) (%) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
F: Too unreliable to be published
CANADA 1,757,000 9.1 563,900 16.8 17.6 19.7 14.5 18.4 18.5 21.7 22.7
Newfoundland and Labrador 35,900 10.3 10,700 18.5 20.0 23.0 16.8 14.1 F 21.3 24.1
Prince Edward Island 6,600 7.8 2,500 14.5 14.6 11.8 17.5 23.5 F 18.2 15.0
Nova Scotia 55,000 9.6 25,100 17.4 18.7 23.7 16.5 22.6 26.9 20.5 23.3
New Brunswick 31,800 6.7 11,700 12.0 12.4 15.7 8.4 13.3 22.7 13.9 20.5
Quebec 376,300 7.4 89,200 15.9 16.0 19.0 12.1 12.9 18.4 24.6 20.0
Ontario 772,900 10.5 247,800 17.5 18.6 20.9 15.2 19.5 13.5 17.8 21.7
Manitoba 40,600 6.6 17,300 13.0 13.6 13.0 14.1 18.4 25.0 22.2 17.8
Saskatchewan 31,100 6.4 12,400 11.3 10.9 13.6 8.9 17.8 22.2 17.1 21.3
Alberta 124,800 7.1 45,100 14.1 14.5 15.3 14.5 14.7 26.3 21.2 19.4
British Columbia 282,100 11.2 102,000 20.5 21.8 23.3 17.0 25.1 25.7 32.4 31.0

Urban/Rural

The likelihood of living in a household in core housing need is higher in urban areas (17%) than in rural areas (13%) for persons with any type of disability. For persons without disabilities, the rates are 10% versus 6%. The same can be said of the different types of disabilities, with the exception of persons with a learning disability where the difference is small (21.6% in urban areas versus 22.1% in rural).

Tenure

Renters in Canada are much more likely than owners to be living in a household in core housing need regardless of disability status (see Table 2). Among persons with disabilities who are living in rented accommodations and are in core housing need, the highest rate of about 37% is for persons who report emotional/psychological disability, learning or seeing disabilities. People with a hearing disability living in owner-occupied dwellings are the least likely to be living in core housing need (at about 8%).

Table 2 — Persons aged 15 years and older in core housing need, by disability status and tenure, 2001
  Without disabilities With any type of disability Disability Type
Mobility/ Agility Seeing Hearing Speaking / Communicating Developmental Learning Emotional / Psychological
(%)
Source: 2001 PALS
Canada – All dwellings 9.1 16.8 17.6 19.7 14.5 18.4 18.5 21.7 22.7
Owned by a member of the family 4.8 8.9 9.5 9.1 7.5 9.0 11.6 11.4 12.1
Rented 21.1 33.6 34.2 37.1 31.8 34.2 29.6 37.2 37.2

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

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

While 79% of the 474,700 people with a mobility/agility disability living in a household in core housing need report that they do not need or use special features to help them, the remaining 21% (97,700) do indicate the use of, or need for, special features (see Table 3). Of those, 68% report having available all the features they need, 9% indicate that their needs were partially unmet in the sense that they have some but not all the features they need, and 23% report having none of the features they need (totally unmet). Special features required typically include an elevator or lift device, a ramp or street-level entrance, and grab bars or a bath lift in the bathroom6. People with other types of disabilities, in addition to a mobility/agility disability, have higher rates with unmet needs for special features (52% of the people who also have a developmental disability; 48% with a learning disability, and about 45% with an emotional/psychological disability) (see Table 3).

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

Gender

Females make up about 62% of the population with any type of disability living in a household in core housing need and 58% of the population without disabilities in core housing need.

Senior women (65 years and older) report higher incidences of living in a household in core housing need than do males (15% versus 9% without disability, and 45% versus 27% with any type of disability). In general, this holds true across disability types.

Table 3 — Use of and need for special features for persons aged 15 years and older with mobility/agility disability in core housing need, by other types of disabilities, 2001
  Mobility/ Agility Disability Type
Seeing Hearing Speaking / Communicating Developmental Learning Emotional / Psychological
(#) (%) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
*Combines “use some special features and need others” and “need some special features and have none” because of low sample size
Total that use or need special features 97,700 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Use some special features and do not need any others 66,700 68.2 67.4 65.9 66.2 47.8 52.4 55.5
Use some special features and need others 8,600 8.8 10.6 10.6 13.1 52.2* 17.6 17.3
Need some special features and have none 22,400 23.0 22.1 23.4 20.8 * 30.0 27.2

Age

Regardless of gender, the proportion of people with any type of disability living in a household in core housing need increases with age, ranging from 5% for the age group 15 to 24, to 39% for the 65 and older. A similar pattern is observed across mobility/agility, seeing and hearing types of disabilities, but for those with emotional/ psychological disability the highest percentage is reported by those aged 45 to 64, and for learning and speaking/ communication disabilities, the highest incidences are in the 25 to 44 age group.

Income and level of education

Disability status aside, the incidence of persons living in core housing need is higher for lower levels of household income or of education.

About 77% of people without disability and 89% of people with any type of disability living in core housing need report income in the lowest quintile (see Household Income text box). For persons with any type of disability living in core housing need, the remaining 11% falls within the moderate (i.e., second-lowest) income group.

Table 4 — Persons aged 15 years and older in core housing need, by disability status, gender and age, 2001
Gender Age Group Without disabilities With any type of disability Disability Type
Mobility/ Agility Seeing Hearing Speaking / Communi-
cating
Developmental Learning Emotional / Psycho-
logical
(#) (%) (#) (%) (%)
Source: 2001 PALS
*Age groups 45 to 64 and 65 and older combined because of low sample size
Both sexes 15 years and older 1,757,000 100.0 563,900 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
15 to 24 386,100 22.0 26,500 4.7 2.8 2.1 2.3 8.4 4.7 12.3 6.4
25 to 44 755,200 43.0 120,700 21.4 18.9 12.8 14.3 31.8 21.4 39.1 37.1
45 to 64 402,000 22.9 199,200 35.3 37.1 36.8 35.4 31.2 73.9* 37.1 41.6
65 and older 213,700 12.2 217,500 38.6 41.3 48.3 48.1 28.6 * 11.5 14.9
Males 15 years and older 745,100 100.0 211,800 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
15 to 24 182,200 24.5 11,500 5.4 3.3 4.0 3.1 9.9 5.4 14.3 6.3
25 to 44 317,200 42.6 51,900 24.5 22.5 17.0 16.7 33.5 24.5 40.5 35.9
45 to 64 181,200 24.3 90,300 42.6 45.1 48.2 41.8 28.1 70.0* 37.1 43.8
65 and older 64,600 8.7 58,100 27.4 29.1 30.7 38.2 29.0 * 8.2 14.0
Females 15 years and older 1,011,800 100.0 352,000 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
15 to 24 204,000 20.2 15,100 4.3 2.4 1.2 1.6 7.2 4.3 10.6 6.4
25 to 44 438,000 43.3 68,700 19.5 16.9 10.9 12.6 30.0 19.5 37.6 38.1
45 to 64 220,800 21.8 108,900 30.9 32.7 31.3 30.8 34.4 76.2* 37.0 40.0
65 and older 149,100 14.7 159,400 45.3 47.9 56.6 55.1 28.4 * 14.8 15.6

About 95% of the population with any type of disability living in core housing need reported income from government as a source of income7 ; about 17% reported wages and salaries; and about 4% were self-employed8.

Similar observations can be made for education. Again, regardless of disability status, less-educated people (less than high school graduation) are more likely to be living in core housing need (40% without disability and 54% with any type of disability). On the other hand, the housing conditions of people with any type of disability and at least a bachelor’s degree compared favourably to those of similar people without a disability, by reporting a 4% incidence of living in core housing need, compared to 11% for people without a disability who had at least a bachelor’s degree.

Household Income

For the purposes of this analysis, the pre-tax household income of Canadian households with at least one person aged 15 and older were ranked and divided into five equally sized income groups or quintiles ranging from lowest to highest income.

  • Highest Income: $96,936 or more
  • Upper Income: $67,812 – $96,935
  • Middle Income: $46,896 – $67,811
  • Moderate Income: $27,418 – $46, 895
  • Lowest Income: Less than $27,417

Appendix 1 CMHC Research Highlights on the housing conditions of persons with disabilities9

2001 Census Housing Series: Issue 11 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Persons With Disabilities

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

2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 2 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadians aged 15 Years and Older with a Seeing Disability

2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 3 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadians Aged 15 Years and Older with a Hearing Disability

2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 4 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadians Aged 15 Years and Older with an Emotional/Psychological Disability

2001 Participation Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 5 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadians Aged 15 Years and Older with a Learning Disability

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

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

2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 8 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Seniors with Disabilities

2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Issue 9 — Profile of the Housing Conditions of Canadian Children with Disabilities

CMHC Project Manager: Mariam Lankoandé

Consultant: Adele Furrie consulting Inc.

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 Research Highlight is one of a series intended to inform you of the nature and scope of CMHC’s research.

1 See Appendix 1 for a complete list of these Research Highlights, all available at http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/

2 2001 Census Housing Series: Issue 11 – Profile of the Housing Conditions of Persons With Disabilities.

3 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.”

4 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.

5 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 exceed their income or incomes of zero or less. Income data collected by the 2001 Census refer to the calendar year preceding the Census, while shelter cost data give expenses for the census year.

6 See “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 Agility Disability”.

7 Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, provincial income supplements and welfare payments.

8 Total adds to more than 100% because households can report more than one source of income.

9 These are accessible on CMHC web site: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/

Canada

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