Apples to apples: a comparative demographic analysis of homeless and housed youth in Canada

The demographic profiles of homeless youth are varied and play an integral role in the experiences these young people have. This article reports on detailed demographic data collected from 187 homeless youth in the Youth Matters in London study, and compares it to demographic profiles of youth in the general Ontario population and with samples of homeless youth from five major Canadian cities. Results indicate demographic data is not consistently collected and/or reported upon by researchers, making comparative analysis challenging while highlighting the need for a standardization of demographic data collection. Comparisons between homeless and housed youth indicate that the homeless youth had lower educational attainment, higher pregnancy/parenting rates, increased cohabitation, greater unemployment, and low annual incomes. Demographic comparison between the six homeless youth samples indicate some similarities and some key differences, particularly in relation to pregnancies/parenting, education, employment, and income. Implications for researchers, policy-makers, and service providers are discussed.

Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
Canadian Journal of Family and Youth
London, Ontario, Canada