Four million Canadians live on their own, according to a Statistics Canada report, with Victoria home to a disproportionate share.
This figure means that almost three out of 10 households (28 per cent) are single households, the most common type of household in Canada since 2016. In Victoria’s Census Metropolitan Area the share of single households is even higher than the rest of Canada at 33 per cent, while the City of Victoria records a rate of 48 per cent. This means nearly half of the city’s households are single households.
While living alone is more common among seniors, the relative prevalence of living alone has increased “rapidly” among people aged 35 to 64 in recent decades. The gender gap among single-households has closed, as the share of men who live alone has increased for nearly every age group. In 2016, men accounted for 32 per cent of seniors living alone, up from 23 per cent in 1981.
These trends reflect improving longevity among men, but also the fact that rising divorce rates have led to more men living alone for a period of time following divorce or separation.
Living alone also appears to be detrimental to health and the pocketbook.
“Individuals living alone reported lower levels of self-rated health, mental health and satisfaction with life overall than people living with others,” it says, with the proviso that these measures also depend on other factors, such as family relationships, social networks and socioeconomic characteristics.
While one in five single households own or rent condominiums, more than four in 10 single households report having unaffordable housing costs, spending 30 per cent or more of their average monthly household income on shelter. By comparison, 17 per cent of non-single households report spending more than 30 per cent.