The number of Canadian families moving out of their existing home has increased by almost a third in the past five years.
A new study from the Canadian Council on Aging says the increase has been driven by an increase in the number of families leaving the city and province.
The Council on Family has found that more than two-thirds of families have left the city in the last decade, and a further 30 per cent have left their province.
The findings from the study are based on interviews with over 100 Canadians between the ages of 50 and 65.
They are presented at the Canadian Conference on Aging, a public meeting to be held Saturday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Canadian Centre at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
The study also includes a detailed analysis of how families move to other cities.
Among those who have moved, the numbers who say they’re moving because they need to “become a better Canadian” are on the rise.
According to the study, more than 50 per cent of the respondents said they have experienced a change in family structure, and another 19 per cent said they are considering a change of status.
That leaves more than 2.5 million Canadians without a home.
The study also found that about one-quarter of those who had a change to their home in the five years after moving said they were moving because of their health.
Those who have been living in their current home for two years or less have the lowest number of moving reasons.
And the numbers of Canadians who say their family structure has changed have not declined in the years since moving, the study says.
“We found that Canadians are living in increasingly large families and there are now fewer Canadians living in small homes,” said Dr. Kristina Fuhrmann, co-author of the study and a clinical psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
“As a result, we’ve seen a rise in family breakdowns, and we’re seeing more people with a family breakdown than in previous years.”
The study found that the number one reason Canadians are moving out is a lack of income.
People moving out say they can’t afford to stay and support their family and are concerned about the cost of living in new homes.
The biggest reasons people say they are moving are because they have a child or grandchild and the costs of caring for it have risen.
Many also are moving to a place that offers more opportunities for work, which could also be a reason they move out.
The Centre for Immigration Studies said the study also highlighted a trend that is not new, but is growing.
The number of people who have a family change each year is up to five times the number in 2000, but the number who say the reason for their move is to be “more Canadian” is increasing.
“The increase is certainly a bit worrisome, and the trend is not good for Canada,” said Catherine Cusack, executive director of the centre.
“It’s definitely concerning that people are moving from Canada in a way that’s not the right way to grow as Canadians, and it’s certainly concerning that we’re experiencing this trend of a very significant decline in Canadian-born Canadians.”
The data shows that those who say it’s their decision to move are not the only ones moving.
About 10 per cent say they have changed to live in another country.
Some are also moving out for a different reason.
“My husband and I have moved to the U.S., and our kids are now in a different country,” said Kathleen C. from Toronto.
“I’ve decided to move away from my husband’s place in Vancouver to live with my kids, and I’ve moved to another city, too.
I think it’s good to know that people do have the choice to move out of the city.
It’s also good to realize that you have a choice, because people do make different choices.”
The Centre on Family is working to make Canada more affordable for families.
It is partnering with the federal government to create a new Canadian family plan.