Kohen, Dafna E., Kevelyne Bougie and Anne Guèvremont (2015) Housing and Health among Inuit Children, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 82-003-X, Health Reports, Vol. 26, no. 11, pp. 21-27

Keywordschildren and youthhealthhomeownershiphousing conditions

This research examines several physical and mental health outcomes in a population-based sample of Inuit children aged 2 to 5 in relation to several physical and psychosocial housing conditions. Inuit children are generally in poorer health than other children in Canada. This disparity has been associated with socioeconomic and household characteristics, which include housing conditions.

The data was from the 2006 Aboriginal Children’s Survey (ACS), a national survey of Aboriginal children (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit). The study sample consisted of 1,233 children aged 2 to 5, who were identified by parents or guardians as Inuit (single identity or in combination with another Aboriginal identity). Comparisons were made to non-Aboriginal children with data from the 2006 Census and the 2006/2007 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY).

Data showed the housing situation of Inuit children to be less favorable than that of non-Aboriginal children in Canada. When crowding, need for repair, and housing affordability were considered alone, the analysis suggested that they were associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes for Inuit children.

The authors suggest that unaffordable housing may have an indirect link to poor child health. Unaffordable housing costs may lead to a reduction of household resources available for health care, adequate nutrition, and home safety. Furthermore, financial pressures may influence parenting behaviors and parental stress, thus adversely affecting child outcomes. Data showed that parental housing satisfaction was related to higher rates of good health and lower odds of ear infections and respiratory conditions. Homeownership remained significantly associated with positive health ratings.