Housing affordability based on Shelter Consumption Affordability Ratio (SCAR)

What it measures

Dimension: Economic Security

The Shelter Consumption Affordability Ratio reports how realistically and sustainably Canadians can afford housing based on shelter consumption costs and discretionary income after paying for other necessities. Shelter consumption costs include: rent, maintenance/repair, insurance, utilities, and transportation. Discretionary income after other necessities is determined by subtracting the cost of financial necessities (taxes, food, clothing, health care costs) from total income. A higher ratio indicates lower levels of affordability.

Why this is important

It is essential to consider total expenses for basic essentials in addition to rent or mortgage payments when determining access to shelter.  Access to adequate and affordable housing is critical to mental and physical health. If housing is unaffordable, people will compromise by not spending money on other areas that are essential to wellbeing. In addition, they may have reduced access to adequate childcare, transportation, and some educational programs and leisure opportunities.

Data source

Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis
Further information:

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