High housing costs spur multigenerational households in Canada

A worker scrubs graffiti off a mural outside of a condominium contruction site in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Rising Canadian housing costs have boosted the number of people living with their parents, mostly notably in and around Toronto, according to census data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

Multigenerational households, which include at least three generations, are the fastest growing type of home in the country, the census also showed.

More than a third of young adults aged 20 to 34 were living with at least one parent in 2016, a share that has been increasing since 2001, according to the census. In Toronto, nearly half of young adults live with their parents.

The share of adult children living with a parent was 34.7 percent last year, up from 33.3 percent in 2011 and 33.1 percent in 2006, the report showed. That put Canada in line with the United States, where 34.1 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 lived with a parent in 2016. In the European Union, 48 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 lived with a parent in 2012, Statistics Canada said.

The highest rates were noted in the province of Ontario, home to Toronto, its suburbs, and even further-flung commuter cities, where house prices have more than doubled in some places since Canada’s housing boom began in 2009.

“The high proportion of young adults living with their parents in Ontario is most likely the result of a combination of economic realities, including the high cost of housing, and cultural norms that favor young adults living with their parents for longer,” Statistics Canada said.

It noted that first and second generation immigrants were more likely to live with a parent than Canadians who had been in the country for three or more generations.

“The increase in multigenerational households may be partly attributed to Canada’s changing ethnocultural composition ... (and) may also be related to housing needs and the high cost of living in some regions of the country,” Statistics Canada said.

At the same time, the share of one-person households hit a record 28.2 percent in 2016 and became the most common type of household for the first time, surpassing couples with children, the census data showed. The steady rise in one-person households since 1951, when the proportion was just 7.4 percent, is due in part to the rise in working women and an aging population, Statistics Canada said.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Tom Brown