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Living with your parents? So is over half of Toronto's young people, says census

Reflection of Toronto’s housing woes, advocates say

Kevin Samaranayake, 27, is still living in his parents’ basement five years after completing school, even though he now has a decent job.

Courtesy Kevin Samaranayake

Kevin Samaranayake, 27, is still living in his parents’ basement five years after completing school, even though he now has a decent job.

When Kevin Samaranayake moved into his parents’ basement after completing school in 2012, he thought it would be temporary.

Five years later, the 27-year-old still lives in that Mississauga basement, even though he now has a decent job as a project manager at a construction company in Woodbridge.

“My intention was to save up money for a few years as I paid off my OSAP, but up to now I haven’t been able to work my way to moving out,” he said, noting bills for things such as credit cards and car insurance keep piling up.

“It’s conflicting, to be honest, just because I want to move on with my life and be independent, but the market doesn’t allow it.”

Shacking up with mom and dad is an increasing trend among Canadian youth.

According to the latest census numbers from Statistics Canada, nearly 35 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 20-34 live in their parents’ house, up from 30 per cent in 2001. In Toronto, that number stands at 47.4 per cent.

In the same period between 2001 and 2016, the national percentage of young adults either living on their own or forming their own families fell from 49.1 per cent to 41.9 per cent, according to the census.

This shift in lifestyle speaks to the challenges the city is facing around housing affordability, said Kevin Vuong, former co-chair of the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy.

“How many people now can afford to pay $1,800 or $1,900 a month for a one-bedroom apartment?” he said, noting one-bedroom condos in his downtown Toronto neighbourhood are selling for nearly a half million dollars.

Vuong said there needs to be better coordination between the province and the city to align policies on rent control and growth plans, so that more young people can afford to move out.

“The incomes have stayed largely stagnant, and yet housing and living costs continue to go up,” he said.

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