Black youth hope the flurry of black-focused programmes, scholarships and hiring initiatives that were begun in response to the 2020 protests, are maintained and kept running to show a proper commitment to black youths’ longer-term development.
Recognized in Canada since 1995, Black History Month (BHM) is about celebrating and uplifting Black People in North America, highlighting and increasing awareness of their realities and issues they have faced, given the racism they have faced across the continent.
While many of the same issues faced by Canadian youth as a whole-covered in our January 2022 Snapshot essay are also faced by Black Canadian youth, in this February 2022 Snapshot we focus on Black youths’ specific challenges, outlook for the year 2022 and possible solutions.
The Black population in Canada is, on average, a younger population than Canada as a whole; according to the 2016 Census the average age of Black Canadians is 31 years old, compared to 40 years old for the entire Canadian population. As such, Black Canadians and Black youth, in particular, are an important demographic worth, for the sake of both the Black community and Canada’s futures.
Housing is one area of concern for Black Canadians-and by extension youths’- because the outcomes differ from their non-black peers. A Statistics Canada report analysing Census and National Housing Survey (2018) data showed that Black Canadians have lower homeownership rates and are more likely to live in unsuitable housing compared to the rest of the Canadian population.
Less than half of Black population in Canada (48%) own the homes they live in, compared to almost three-quarters (73%) of all Canadians, while 15% of the Black population live in private dwellings categorised as failing core housing needs criteria, compared to 9% of the total population.
Specifically, Black Canadians (29%) are three times likelier than the rest of the Canadian population (9%) to be in unsuitable housing. Moreover, with the rising cost of housing-especially in urban areas which is where 94% of Black Canadians live, this is even more significant.
The expiry of pandemic rent discounts, freezes and eviction moratoria, combined with housing being a social determinant of health, lack of housing is an issue especially relevant to Black youth.