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Challenges Faced by Black Canadians: Housing and Family Structures

In 2021, just under one-third of the Black population in Canada, representing 25.9% or 400,240 individuals, lived in unsuitable housing, where their dwellings had insufficient bedrooms for their household size and composition based on the National Occupancy Standard. This percentage far exceeded the 9.7% of the total Canadian population living in such conditions in 2021.

Moreover, in 2018, the core housing need among the Black population was notably higher at 15.1% compared to the total Canadian population’s 9.0%. This disparity resulted in approximately 200,000 (197,500) Black individuals experiencing core housing need. Core housing need occurs when a household’s housing fails to meet adequacy, affordability, or suitability standards, and the household would need to allocate 30% or more of its total before-tax income to afford suitable housing that meets all three standards.

Furthermore, lone parenthood was more prevalent among Black women compared to the general population. According to the 2016 Census data, 27% of Black women aged 25 to 59 were lone parents, significantly higher than the less than 10% among other women. This trend was particularly pronounced among female immigrants within the Black community compared to Canadian-born Black women.

These statistics shed light on the challenging housing situations faced by a significant portion of the Black population in Canada, highlighting disparities in housing adequacy and lone parenthood rates that warrant attention from policymakers and community support initiatives to address systemic inequalities and improve living conditions for Black individuals and families across the country.


  • Housing suitability by visible minority and immigrant status and period of immigration: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas, and census agglomerations with parts
  • Changes in the socioeconomic situation of Canada’s Black population, 2001 to 2016
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