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Indian international students most likely to live in unsuitable housing, StatCan says

A new Statistics Canada report finds international students were more likely to live in unsuitable housing in 2021 than Canadian-born students.Signage marks the Statistics Canada offices in Ottawa on July 21, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — International students were more likely to live in unsuitable housing in 2021 than Canadian-born students, a report released Thursday by Statistics Canada shows.

In the top ten municipalities with the largest number of international students, 25 to 63 per cent of them were living in unsuitable housing.

By comparison, the rate of students living in unsuitable housing was 13 to 45 percentage points lower among Canadian-born students aged 18 to 24.

One of the requirements for suitable housing is that adults should have their own bedroom, if they are not part of a couple.

The study, which was based on the most recent census data, found country of origin accounted for most of the variation between municipalities in rates of housing suitability among international students.

Notably, Indian students were more likely to live in unsuitable housing than students from other countries.

In Brampton, Ont. and Surrey, B.C., the municipalities with the largest proportions of Indian students, more than 60 per cent of international students were living in unsuitable housing.

Meanwhile only 16.6 per cent of Canadian-born students in Surrey lived in housing considered unsuitable by the statistics agency.

The number of international students has only increased since the data was collected.

A sharp rise in international students in Canada has raised concerns about the added pressure placed on the housing market, as well as the affordability challenges students face themselves.

In 2023, there were more than one million international students in Canada, a 29 per cent increase from the previous year.

After facing intense scrutiny for increase, the federal government announced earlier this year that it is imposing a two-year cap on study permits to curb international student enrolments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2024.

Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press

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