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Younger Canadians are not having children. Here's why, according to Statistics Canada

The youth of today are facing many issues like economic instability, mental health and dealing with lingering disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

These compounding factors have added pressure to the roughly 7.3 million Canadians aged 15 to 29 and lowered their overall quality of life, according to a new report by Statistics Canada. It's also making them less likely to have children.

"Affordability concerns and lack of access to suitable housing were more recently cited as factors influencing the fertility intentions of Canadians, in particular among those aged 20 to 29," the report released Wednesday reads.

Lowering fertility rates have been on StatCan's radar for years, with the noticeable trend starting around 2009. In 2020, the country's fertility rate dropped from 1.47 children per woman to 1.40 children per woman.

Fast facts:

  • 43 per cent of young Canadians live with at least one parent
  • The mental health of the younger generation has been declining since 2003
  • Youth are 'resilient' but also 'less hopeful' about the future
  • Canadians aged 15 to 29 are spending more on housing than all previous generations

According to StatCan, about 38 per cent of young adults now don't believe they can afford to have a child in the next three years, whereas 32 per cent don't believe they can have suitable housing to start a family in the same timeframe.

Factoring in where they can afford to live, young adults are questioning whether they should have children at all. This, StatCan says, is "expected to influence Canada's long-term demographic and geographic composition."

StatCan's report also notes recent surveys point to Canadian youth being less satisfied in general and less hopeful of the future. One of the common issues indicated is the increased cost of living.

"For example, in 2022, 32 per cent of youth said that they wanted to buy a home or move to a new rental but decided not to because of price concerns," the report notes.

"These challenges do not disappear once youth turn 30. Rather, these challenges are ongoing and may permanently hinder their access to a standard of living in adulthood that they may have expected while growing up."


The price of homes in Canada has soared to heights that cannot be covered by the average Canadian earner, studies have shown.

In August the national average home price was $650,140, up 2.1 per cent year-over-year. This follows a record increase from June to July 2023.

Rental prices have seen similar increases, with the average rental price soaring in August to $2,117, the highest it has been in the past 30 years.

According to the latest StatCan report, youth are far more likely to rent, which can leave them more "vulnerable" to changes in the housing and rental markets. The younger generation is spending more of their income on housing compared to all other age groups, the report says.

Young people spent 23 per cent, compared to 16 per cent for other groups, on keeping a roof over their heads across Canada. This ratio was further exacerbated in cities like Toronto, where young people spent 31 per cent of total income on housing, versus 20 per cent for all other ages.

"Given that the median income for Canadians aged 15 to 29 was $25,000 in 2021 compared with $41,200 for all Canadians (aged 16 and older), youth generally had less income available to spend on housing," the report reads.

Higher costs of living also mean young people are living with roommates or parents. About 18 per cent of people aged 20 to 29 were living with people outside their family in 2021.

"Meanwhile, 43 per cent of young adults aged 20 to 29 continued to live with at least one of their parents," the report says.


The pandemic was one of the largest struggles for youth who were severely impacted by education and employment disruptions, but StatCan says this age group "persevered."

"While the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training reached the highest rate recorded in 20 years in April 2020 at 24 per cent, there was a return to pre-pandemic levels (11 per cent) by 2022," the report notes.

However, this age group still faces high levels of poverty, in part because employment for them is often in industries with lower wages. This leaves them less likely with income left over after living expenses to spend on leisure activities.

"Hopefulness declined among young Canadians aged 15 to 29 by about 15 percentage points from 2016 to 2021/2022," the report reads. "There was also a notable decline in young adults reporting high levels of life satisfaction."

StatCan says income plays a role in the mental health of youth, with other reports noting how those in the poorest households are less likely to have "excellent" or "very good" mental health.

Compared to other age groups, youth are tracking "poorly" on quality-of-life indicators, such as a sense of belonging to their community and feeling lonely. Top Stories

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