Skip to main content
House in a Hand

Research Project

Housing seniors in a rapidly aging society: challenges for Canada

P.I. Dr. Murtaza Haider
Associate Professor & Director
Institute of Housing & Mobility Studies 
Ted Rogers School of Management
Ryerson University

Canada is aging rapidly where seniors are one of the fastest growing cohort. As baby boomers age, they will generate new demand for shelter. Housing seniors, especially the elderly (75 years and older), will pose unique challenges because the seniors today are healthier, living longer, and more independent. This project studies the shelter needs of seniors in Canada in General, and those residing in the greater Toronto Area (GTA) in particular.

This project uses the 2007 General Social Survey (Cycle 21) from Statistics Canada. The survey collected information about housing aspirations of individuals who are 45 and older.   The primary question of interest in the survey asks respondents if they would seriously consider supportive housing for their future housing needs.

Seniors may choose to age in place by staying in the same house, downsize, relocate to specialized seniors or assisted living housing, or they may choose to rent out portions of their homes as secondary suites. These choices will determine the scale and scope of housing needed to accommodate aging cohorts in urban Ontario. An added complication in the GTA's context is the heterogeneity in housing preferences resulting from the cultural norms amongst the region's large immigrant population.

We would pursue this research as follows. In the first stage, we will develop a detailed annotated bibliography to determine the state of practice and recent scholarship dealing with senior housing. We will follow up with a detailed analysis of the data set, which we have already acquired from Statistics Canada. We are requesting Statistics Canada for additional details about the Census Metropolitan Area for each respondent in the survey. We will develop statistical models to forecast housing needs for seniors. We will document our findings in a technical report and a draft for publication in a refereed journal. We will also generate op-eds for knowledge mobilization.

Rebecca Ke has been selected to be the research assistant in the project. Rebecca obtained a masters in economics from the University of Toronto. She has extensive experience with GSS and econometrics.