Report Highlights Housing Inequality and Burdens on Older Adults

Senior Citizens and HomeThe Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies recently released Housing America’s Older Adults 2019 a report that finds as the population of older adults grows so is the amount of housing inequality, housing burden, and income equality the population is facing.

From the 2019 report:

Within the 65-and-over age group, most recent income gains have gone to the highest earners, and the number of households with housing cost burdens has reached an all-time high. Ensuring that middle- and lower-income households in this age range have the means to live affordably and safely in their current homes or move to other suitable housing will be a growing challenge. Meanwhile, many households in the 50–64 year-old age group have not recovered from the Great Recession, leaving them with lower incomes and homeownership rates than their predecessors at similar ages. For the nearly 10 million households in this age group that are cost burdened, ensuring financial and housing security in retirement will be a struggle.

An article in Route Fifty highlights some of the report’s findings regarding the burdens and disparities. It also notes that 34% of U.S. households will be age 65 and older by 2038 and the number of households with individuals 80 or older will be about 18 million:

Homeowners age 65 and older in 2016 had a median net wealth of about $319,000. In contrast, it was just $6,700 for a renter the same age. Even when comparing people in similar income ranges, homeowners tend to have higher levels of net wealth than renters.

The report defines “cost-burdened” households as those paying more than 30% of their incomes for housing and says the number of 65-and-over households that exceeded that threshold grew by about 200,000 to a new high of nearly 10 million between 2016 and 2017.

For more information:

Rising Number of Older Americans Burdened by Housing Costs (Route Fifty)

Housing America’s Older Adults 2019 Report (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University)

Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University