Housing, a source of stress for parents of toddlers

Housing, a source of stress for parents of toddlers


The housing crisis affecting Quebec is a major source of stress for parents of children aged 0 to 5, according to a recent Léger survey conducted on behalf of the Observatoire des tout-petits (OTP). 

Thus, nearly one in three parents surveyed (30%) said that their level of stress related to their current housing situation is “high”. 

This proportion is higher among renters (47%), single-parent families (55%), households with an income of less than $40,000 (46%), immigrant families (44%) and residents of the greater Montreal area (34%) .

The survey released Wednesday also reveals that rising costs related to inflation were among the stressors experienced over the past year for eight out of 10 parents of toddlers (79%).

In addition, 36% of them were stressed to make ends meet and pay their bills. This proportion climbs to 57% among tenant parents.

Tenants are more concerned

The results show that tenant parents are almost twice more likely to experience high stress related to their housing situation (47%) than parent owners (25%).

Three out of five renting parents said they need to change their habits to successfully pay their rent. 

Of these changes, 39% limit activities with their children, 25% reduce spending on their families, while 19% are reducing the amount of food they buy at the grocery store.

Furthermore, 41% of parents surveyed believe that finding adequate housing is a challenge. 

For 14% of respondents, their current accommodation does not meet the needs of their families. 

And this proportion rises to 30% for renters, 32% for households with an income of less than $40,000 and 24% for single-parent families.

For the Observatoire des tout-petits (OTP), this data is “worrying”. 

“According to the scientific literature, housing that is too small and noisy affects the quality of parent-child bonds. In addition, living in a noisy environment and undersized housing can also undermine feelings of parental competence and increase the risk of child abuse,” the OTP said in a statement.

“It It is possible to act to promote families' access to affordable, quality housing, for example by ensuring better control of rent increases and by promoting accessibility to social housing”, declared Fannie Dagenais, director of the 'OTP.

“For comparison, Quebec, which has a population comparable to that of Austria, has nearly 160,000 social and community housing units, while Austria has 900,000. The city of Vienna in Austria is also one of the few capitals in Europe not to experience a major housing crisis. We can also favor housing adapted to the needs of families and designed as a living environment, close to services and green spaces,” added Ms. Dagenais.

The survey was conducted online from May 16 to 25, 2022 with 1001 parents of children aged 0 to 5 in Quebec.