Canada

Canada’s Election Will See Renters Outnumber Homeowners In BC and Ontario

The Canadian election is ramping up, and housing is becoming the hot button issue. Media pundits have been claiming it’s a relatively small issue, that just happens to be very loud these days. Crunching the numbers for eligible voters in BC and Ontario, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The majority of eligible voters in these provinces are actually not homeowners. These renters might not be the type of people that vote, but that’s another point for another outlet. Let’s have a quick talk on ownership, politics, and the changing face of Canada.

Most Eligible Voters In Ontario Aren’t Homeowners

Let’s start with Ontario, and the eligible voters in the previous election. The 2019 election had 10.47 million eligible voters according to Elections Canada. The breakdown is 18 to 34 years of age (2.8 million), 35 to 54 (3.38 million), and 55+ (4.29 million). Yup, the older demographic greatly outnumbered young adults. However, as ownerless Millennials move into their 40s, ownership rates are dropping fast.

Cross-referencing this with official ownership demographic data, we get a big narrative mismatch. An estimated 6.72 million (64%) of voters were renters during the 2019 Federal Election. Part of this has to do with how many young people don’t own. About 88.6% of people aged 18 to 34 rent. That works out to nearly 2.48 million eligible voters in this demographic that rent. Remember, that’s just in Ontario.

Ontario Eligible Voters By Age and Homeownership

The number of eligible voters for the Canadian Federal Election in 2019, that resided in BC. Broken down by homeownership, and age.

Source: Elections Canada; Statistics Canada (Canadian Housing Statistics Program); Better Dwelling.

In general, Ontario’s ownership rate doesn’t look like it used to. Looking at people aged 35 to 54, we see that 59.2% are renters. That works out to another 2.0 million eligible voters that are renters in this demographic. The 55+ is even a little surprising these days, with 52.1% of them not living in an owner-occupied home. This works out to another 2.23 million eligible voters that rent from this demographic. Our other favorite expensive real estate market doesn’t look much different either.

Eligible Voters In BC Are Mostly Renters

Over in British Columbia (BC), the trend is very similar to Ontario, it’s just smaller. In the 2019 Federal Election, there were 3.76 million eligible voters in the province. Breaking it down, the demographics were 18 to 34  (0.93 million), 35 to 54 (1.16 million), and 55+ (1.58 million). The population does skew a little towards older voters in BC, but not to the point where they’re a majority of votes. 

Once again, cross-referencing this demographic with ownership data we see a majority of renters. An estimated 63% of eligible voters did not reside in owner-occupied housing. Those renters were highest in the youth demographic, with 89.6% (!) of people aged 18 to 34 renting. That works out to 830,000 eligible voters in this demographic — a huge army of renters.

BC Eligible Voters By Age and Homeownership

The number of eligible voters for the Canadian Federal Election in 2019, that resided in BC. Broken down by homeownership, and age.

Source: Elections Canada; Statistics Canada (Canadian Housing Statistics Program); Better Dwelling.

Older demographics see renters drop off a little, but not like anything at the national level. People between 35 and 54 have a non-ownership rate of 62.5%, representing 720,000 eligible voters. Of people aged 55 and up, 47.8% are renting. They might not be the majority, but remember — BC is Boomer Country. 47.8% represents 760,000 eligible voters in the age bracket that rent. 

The assumption most have is Canada is a country of homeowners, but that’s at the national level. As it takes longer and longer to save, young people end up renting much longer. This is especially true in expensive provinces like BC and Ontario. It’s not a new issue either, it was present during the last election, people just didn’t know it. 

Photo: Elections Canada. 

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12 Comments

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  • Van YIMBY 2 months ago

    Unfortunately by the time we get the voting power, most of the country will have been sold to Blackrock and other large institutional landlords.

  • Vincent Fornelli 2 months ago

    I was curious what this looks like this election, and I guess the age split in another way would have been a little nicer. People under 44 would be the majority if you estimate the population growth. They are most likely to not be owners.

    However, they’re also most likely to be unsophisticated with their concepts of money, and will probably vote for plans that inflate home prices (expanded credit, easier downpayments, etc.).

    I think Sven Henrich said it best, no government will do what’s right. We’re all waiting for a currency crisis at this point.

    • Nassim 2 months ago

      I’m willing to bet those closer to 35 are a lot different from those closer to 55 as well.

      I actually can’t find homeownership data more granular than 35 to 54, and that’s a weird demographic to lump together. I sense a little data manipulation from Statistics Canada on this one. Not a high level conspiracy or anything, but an emotional analyst bias on ownership.

  • Vjkenny 2 months ago

    Poor people always out numbered rich people, however its their lack of unity and critical thinking which allow the rich to control the government. So even if renters out numbered home owners its not going to make any difference.

    • alex 2 months ago

      You would be surprised what poor people can do, I vividly remember a guillotine being paraded outside of the Elysee Palace in 2018 leading to major tax concessions in France.

      • Vjkenny 2 months ago

        Yet poor people in the west blindly believe leftist ideas are bad for them? Most of the time these people dont even know who their oppressors are, the second politicians start blaming foreigners or minority groups for their problems they will be turn into mindless racist zombies.

        • alex 2 months ago

          You seem to garnish a rather personalized contempt for people who aren’t wealthy, are you projecting or are you choking on your silver spoon?

      • D 2 months ago

        Pains me to say it because I don’t like France, but the French have more balls than passive aggressive Canadians.

  • JCH 2 months ago

    Voters: demand that your Canadian politicians #LetHomePricesFall !!

  • Lisa Downs 2 months ago

    Greedy parents sitting on their wealth while their 30 something year old children rent is a big problem

    If you are a boomer with an extra $100K of equity in your house, help your kids buy something entry level.

    Learn from new Canadians. Many communities help each other get ahead. If you want your children to do well, you have to help them.

    I know This doesn’t address affordability for probably 1/2 of Canadians. However many families working together could do much more than they currently are to assist the young in getting a start in housing.

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