Homelessness in Canada

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Infographic: Homelessness in Canada
Description: Homelessness in Canada

In Canada, almost 3% of people who make housing decisions for their household have experienced unsheltered homelessness,Note 1 while about 15% have experienced hidden homelessness.Note 2

Why do we say “people who make housing decisions for their household”? The study on which this infographic is based looks at individuals who have experienced homelessness in the past and are now responsible for housing decisions within their household. The results are therefore not necessarily representative of all Canadians aged 15 and older. However, information on unsheltered homelessness is very scarce, and the benefits of the data outweigh their limitations.

Table 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Table 1 Unsheltered and Hidden (appearing as column headers).
Unsheltered Hidden
Men 2.6% 14.2%
Women 2.3% 15.0%

Among Canadians responsible for housing decisions within their household, First Nations people living off reserve (12%), Métis (6%) and Inuit (10%) are more likely to have experienced unsheltered homelessness than the non-Indigenous population (2%). Homelessness is also more common among women who are sexual minorities (8%).

Among the population being studied, recent unsheltered homelessness is more common among women than among men: 38% of unsheltered homelessness episodes experienced by women were between 2010 and 2019.

Table 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Table 2 Men and Women (appearing as column headers).
Men Women
Before 1980 18% 11%
1980 to 1989 16% 10%
1990 to 1999 18% 12%
2000 to 2009 27% 30%
2010 to 2019 21% 38%

Socioeconomic and health outcomes are substantially worse for people who have experienced homelessness than those who have not. Women who have experienced homelessness reported worse socioeconomic and health outcomes than their male counterparts.

Sources: S. Uppal. 2022. “A portrait of Canadians who have been homeless.” Insights on Canadian Society. March. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 75-006-X; Statistics Canada, Canadian Housing Survey, 2018.

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