This paper examines long-term population-level housing affordability challenges and trends in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) from 1991 to 2016. This project’s goal is to analyze how housing affordability has changed for the general population and for different socio-demographic groups over this 25-year study period. Affordability is measured using shelter cost to income ratio (STIRs) data from the 1991 to 2016 censuses and the 2011 National Household Survey for the Toronto CMA. This equity-based analysis examines the distribution of household STIRs within and between a range of socio-demographic groups.
Inequitable housing affordability is one dimension amongst many that structurally disadvantage and burden groups in the city-region. Understanding the disparities in who had housing that they could afford is useful for conceptualizing a ‘new normal’ in which housing affordability is ﬁnally addressed, disparities are reduced, and equity is achieved. This analysis ﬁnds that housing affordability has declined broadly, and that progress was not made in reducing preventable disparities between sociodemographic groups in the Toronto CMA from 1991 to 2016.