We all know Canada is experiencing a housing crisis. Did you know that we are also facing a population crisis? Based on internal birth rates alone, our population is actually on the decline.

Women are not having enough children and high levels of immigration is unlikely to be able to continue to fill the gap — over the long term —  created by the falling birth rates in our country. This is a problem I believe needs to be addressed for the good of our country’s future.

In addition, there is a growing number of young people who are living an “extended adolescence.” Thousands of 20- and 30-somethings are still living with their parents because they can’t afford to buy a home of their own and as a result, they are not seeing themselves as contributing adult members of society.

I believe that solving the population crisis, the problem of extended adolescence, and the housing crisis are all interlinked. 

Helping end extended adolescence 

Homeownership helps young people to grow up and feel their responsibility to contribute to society. In a sense, home ownership leads to better citizenship and ends the period of extended adolescence.

Just as important is that the young person buys the home themselves.

Governments recognize the problem and can try to implement various policies to solve it, but this isn’t a problem for governments alone to solve. In fact, a “handout approach” isn’t likely to create the responsible citizens our country needs.  

I recently heard about a young lady who was homeless in Toronto. She had some ideas on how to decrease homelessness and interestingly, she recognized that people need to have some buy-in into their house to feel responsible for it.

So, what is needed is something that is affordable and in which you have a personal stake. Affordable homeownership will help solve the problem of extended adolescence.

There is an old African proverb that says “If the children are not initiated into the village, then they’ll burn it down just to feel its warmth.”

I’m not saying we have a generation of arsonists in the making, but there is merit to the idea that young people today are unable to buy homes for themselves, and as a result, they don’t feel the same responsibility to contribute, or sense of belonging to society.

Helping to solve the population crisis

One of the reasons women aren’t having children (beside the obvious social and moral changes we see in society’s young people) is because they cannot see themselves forming a household when they can’t afford the home in which to raise their family.

Here in North America, home ownership is very much associated with adulthood. While other countries around the world might have a culture of life-long renting, our culture here in Canada and the U.S. has typically operated with the idea that once you are an adult, once you have a family, you will own the home in which you live.

And yet, young people today can’t realize those goals because of the ever-increasing price of homes in the country and the fact that incomes are not increasing at the same rate. 

In today’s culture, many unmarried couples choose to rent a place together, and often the decision to get married is tied to the decision to buy a home and have children. If owning a home is seen as a necessity to starting a family, then women and couples who cannot own homes don’t see parenthood as a viable option either.

While, of course, many families can and do raise their children in apartments and condos across the country and around the world, if a couple’s vision is of their children running around in their own backyard, spending time upstairs and downstairs, and running through the hallways, they may not feel open to starting a family until they can provide that ideal environment. 

I recently had an interesting discussion with Andrea Mrozek, an author who will be publishing a book called Imagining Marriage Still Matters, set to release in 2025. We discussed how society is missing something vital when marriage isn’t sought after.

Another very interesting book on the topic comes from Brad Wilcox and is titled Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy The Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization.

In his book, he analyzes statistical and survey data from numerous reputable sources and shows that getting married and creating a strong family is, again and again, one of the best ways to have a meaningful, prosperous and joy-filled life. 

The Self Funding House can help solve these problems

There are many ways to try to change the tide and address both the problems of extended adolescence and, potentially, a population crisis due to a lack of the pursuit of marriage and children.

For me, as a housing expert, I truly believe The Self Funding House is part of the answer. As I’ve shared before on RENX, the concept of the Self Funding House is simple: if a home has a basement apartment (or other additional dwelling unit), the monthly rental income from that additional unit makes the house much more affordable to the homeowner.  

If a young person or a couple purchases a home and qualifies for a larger mortgage because of the rental income they can earn, then suddenly, more possibilities open up for them. They can find themselves owning a home and feeling empowered to contribute to society and/or grow a family, depending on their circumstances.

Then, as they have children and their family grows, they have the option of taking back the apartment space at some future time and using it for their own family. 

We all have roles to play in helping society flourish.

The more the concept of The Self Funding House can grow and expand, my hope is that we’ll also see marriage and good citizenship increase. As a result, I believe we’ll see a society of happier, more fulfilled families creating a stronger and more successful nation.