• When it comes to housing in Canada, no one is in worse shape than single women and mothers. That’s according to data released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) whose latest report, titled “Canadian Housing Observer 2014,” shows that women are overrepresented when it comes to “core housing need.” The CMHC defines “core housing need” status as a household whose shelter is lacking when it comes to “adequacy, affordability or suitability.” A household in “core housing need” would also have to spend 30 per cent or more of its income to afford the median rent in acceptable alternative housing. And while the statistics for single women are improving, the numbers for 2011, the most recent year for which data was available, show they still outnumber other household types when it comes to the need for appropriate shelter.

    In 2001, for example, 28.3 per cent of “female one-person households” were in “core housing need.” That statistic dropped to 23.5 per cent in 2011, but was still above male one-person households, which were at 19.3 per cent. Meanwhile, 32 per cent of “female lone-parent households” were in “core housing need” in 2001, dropping to 28.7 per cent in 2011. That was still well above the number for “male lone-parent households,” at 16.5 per cent. The report said that the status for single women is “consistent with their relatively low household incomes; couples with, and without, children had the lowest incidences.” CMHC’s research also showed that more people are opting to live alone. It identified one-person households as the “fastest-growing housing type,” becoming “almost as numerous” as couples with kids, the slowest-growing housing type. One-person living arrangements made up 27 per cent of all households in 2011. Single women made up just under 15 per cent of all households, compared to 12 per cent for single men. Couples with children accounted for 29 per cent of all households in 2011, down from 50 per cent in 1971, the Globe and Mail reported. “This is a very important force: more single people living by themselves, mainly women,” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, told the newspaper. He added that one-bedroom units are “basically what’s selling” in Canada’s condo markets.

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