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 is reported as the number of households that meet the above criteria. It should be noted that the data for Core Housing Need is reported for the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area – an area that extends beyond the borders of the city and includes the City of Winnipeg plus the municipalities of West St. Paul, East St. Paul, Headingley, Richot, Tache, Springfield, Rosser, St. Francois Xavier, St. Clements, and the Brokenhead First Nation).

This indicator does not include individuals that are homeless.

Data Source

Data for 1991, 1996 and 2001 is retrieved  from the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation’s Housing in Canada Online (HiCO) interactive data tool. 

Data for 2006, 2011 and 2016 is retrieved  from the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation’s Housing Market Information Portal.

2021 data is retrieved from: Statistics Canada. 2023. (table). Census Profile. 2021 Census of Population. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-X2021001. Ottawa. Released March 29, 2023.

Data is updated on Peg as it becomes available from the data providers.


Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation. (CMHC). (2001a). 2001 Participation and activity limitation survey: Issue 10 – Summary of the housing conditions of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 years and older who are living in a household in core housing need. Retrieved from

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation. (CMHC). (2001b). 2001 Participation and activity limitation survey: Issue 5 – Profile of the housing conditions of Canadians aged 15 years and older with a learning disability. Retrieved from


Core Housing Need in the Sustainable Development Goals

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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.

Related Core Housing Need Targets


By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums