Déry, Serge and Hamando Zoungrana (2009) The Housing Situation in Nunavik: A Public Health Priority, Kuujjuaq, Quebec: Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services,

Keywords: children and youthcrowdinghealthmental healthNunavikviolence

In this report for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Serge Déry and Hamado Zoungrana review of the effects of household crowding for Nunavik Inuit. This report uses 2006 Statistics Canada census data showing that Nunavik households rank among the most crowded for both Inuit and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

The authors attribute overcrowding in Nunavik to underdevelopment population growth. Nunavik is the only Inuit region where the crowding situation deteriorated from 1996 to 2006. Overcrowding is attributed to (or exacerbate): physical and mental health; tuberculosis transmission; chronic stress; sexual abuse; interpersonal conflicts within the family and community; and suicide and violence.

According to the authors overcrowded homes do not permit the privacy at home that individuals require. The authors also note that the limited accessibility of health services in communities contributes to the high rate of hospitalization for infections. Furthermore, young adults were mentioned as a group who were particularly burdened by crowding. Despite being 20 or 25 years old and having kids of their own, these individuals may not have the resources to move out of the family house.

The authors note that from a public health perspective, the shortage of housing and overcrowding in Nunavik is a major risk for the population’s overall physical and psychosocial health. They speculate that projected population growth will contribute to a deterioration in public health if these issues are not addressed.