Core Housing Need


Core housing need measures the number of households whose housing: i) costs them more than 30% of their income, ii) requires major repairs, or iii) is not big enough for their family size.

Why This Matters

Adequate, suitable, and affordable housing is a crucial basic need. Individuals in core housing need are unable to meet one of these three standards, thereby placing a large stress on their resources and health (HRSDC, 2011). As housing costs often account for significant portions of household budgets, these costs could make the difference between comfortably meeting basic needs and substantial financial stress (HRSDC, 2011).

Measurement and Limitations

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) defines a household as being in core housing need if it is “unable to afford shelter that meets adequacy, suitability, and affordability norms. The norms have been adjusted over time to reflect the housing expectations of Canadians. Affordability, one of the elements used to determine core housing need, is recognized as a maximum of 30 per cent of the household income spent on shelter” (

A household is considered adequate if it does not require major repairs. Suitability refers to having enough bedrooms for the size and makeup of households. Based on National Occupancy Standards, each cohabiting adult couple, unattached household member 18 years of age and over, same-sex pair of children under 18 years of age, and each additional boy or girl in the family (unless there are two opposite sex children under five years of age who would be expected to share a bedroom) are expected to have one bedroom. Finally, a household is deemed affordable if it costs less than 30 per cent of residents’ before-tax income, including rent, mortgage, and utility payments. (HRSDC, 2011; CMHC, 2001b).

This indicator does not include individuals that are homeless.

Data Source

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (2017). Core housing need, 2016 census. Statistics Canada. Retrieved from:



Core Housing Need in the Sustainable Development Goals

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1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.

Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.