Housing suitability of private household
Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on January 21, 2013.
Housing suitability refers to whether a private household is living in suitable accommodations according to the National Occupancy Standard (NOS); that is, whether the dwelling has enough bedrooms for the size and composition of the household. A household is deemed to be living in suitable accommodations if its dwelling has enough bedrooms, as calculated using the NOS.
Private household refers to a person or group of persons who occupy the same dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada or abroad. The household universe is divided into two sub-universes on the basis of whether the household is occupying a collective dwelling or a private dwelling. The latter is a private household.
Housing suitability assesses the required number of bedrooms for a household based on the age, sex, and relationships among household members. An alternative variable, "persons per room", considers all rooms in a private dwelling and the number of household members.
Data presentations and other publications that use the housing suitability standard should include the following citation note:
Housing suitability and the National Occupancy Standard (NOS) on which it is based were developed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) through consultations with provincial housing agencies.
The NOS derives the number of bedrooms a household requires as follows:
- A maximum of two persons per bedroom.
- Household members, of any age, living as part of a married or common-law couple share a bedroom with their spouse or common-law partner.
- Lone-parents, of any age, have a separate bedroom.
- Household members aged 18 or over have a separate bedroom - except those living as part of a married or common-law couple.
- Household members under 18 years old of the same sex share a bedroom - except lone-parents and those living as part of a married or common-law couple.
- Household members under 5 years old of the opposite sex share a bedroom if doing so would reduce the number of required bedrooms. This situation would arise only in households with an odd number of males under 18, an odd number of females under 18, and at least one female and one male under the age of 5.
An exception to the above is a household consisting of one individual living alone. Such a household would not need a bedroom (i.e., the individual may live in a studio apartment and be considered to be living in suitable accommodations).
Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which developed the National Occupancy Standard (NOS), suitable housing is housing that has enough bedrooms for the size and make-up of resident households. (Source: Canadian Housing Observer, 2012, 10th edition © 2012 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.) This standard is related to international standards on crowding.
This standard differs from recommendations regarding crowding for censuses contained in United Nations' Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2, 2008. The United Nations recommends tabulations of the number of rooms and the number of occupants in housing units as a measure of crowding. The United Nations considers densities of three or more persons per room to be overcrowded under any circumstance but states that this level may be raised or lowered for national use. The United Nations recognizes that age and sex are significant factors for a detailed study of overcrowding.
The Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing recommends crowding be examined by cross-tabulations on the number of occupants in housing units and housing units classified by number of rooms or by number of bedrooms. It also recognized that some countries consider the number of bedrooms a more accurate indicator of overcrowding when defined by age, sex and relationships of members within the household.
- Classification of housing suitability January 21, 2013 to current
The National Occupancy Standard (NOS) was developed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) through consultations with provincial housing agencies in the 1980s.
Relation to previous version
- Housing suitability of private household January 21, 2013 to current
This is the current standard.