Morin, Alexandre, Roberson Edouard, and GĂ©rard Duhaime (2010) Beyond the harsh: objective and subjective living conditions in Nunavut, Polar Record 46(237): 97-112

Keywords: crowdinghousing conditionsNunavutplanning

The article analyzed the objective and subjective living conditions in Nunavut in 2001. Data are from the Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA) and the Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS). A sample of 10,775 Inuit was randomly selected for the survey and there was an 83% response rate (p. 100).

The authors claim that housing is one of the most prominent issues in Nunavut with fewer than half of the surveyed Inuit population being satisfied with the quality of their houses. In 2001, there were 5,665 dwellings inhabited by Inuit with an average of 4 persons per dwelling (p. 100). Three quarters of the Inuit population rented their houses and 50% of Inuit 15 years and older lived in crowded dwellings.

Most housing was equipped with basic amenities including running water, septic tanks or sewage systems, and access to electricity. According to the authors, Nunavummiut report that although they are dissatisfied with current housing conditions, they are better than living in igloos and tents. This assessment was determined by comparing the comfort and cleanliness of traditional and contemporary dwellings (p. 106). Inuit know that they could have better housing conditions, but have little control over housing programs. External bureaucracies like the Nunavut government still retain large control on the distribution and quality of housing made available to public assistance programs.

The authors inquired about why Inuit continue to stay in northern communities with harsh material living conditions when it is possible to move to southern Canada.  They concluded that Inuit tended to stay in the same settlement their whole lives because they may not have personal resources like education, wage labour, or social networks in other communities (p. 108).