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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.

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.

11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.

However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.

The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.