Census Bureau Report: Old Housing, New Needs: Are U.S. Homes Ready for an Aging Population?

Jul 20, 2023

A new report from the US Census Bureau called Old Housing, New Needs: Are US Homes Ready for An Aging Population uses data from the American Housing Survey and provides the estimates of housing units in the country that had aging-accessible features, such as handrails or grab bars in the bathroom, a step-free entryway, or a wheelchair-accessible kitchen, as well as geographic differences in the prevalence of homes with these features.

The report also examines difficulties using certain elements of the home, such as how many households had older adults who had trouble climbing stairs or using the shower or bath tub. Last, the report studies older adults’ unmet needs in housing, where they had difficulty in performing a specific task in the home but their home lacked a feature that would help. The demographic and economic characteristics of households where older adults reported difficulty using home features are compared with households where older adults reported no such difficulty.

According to the report, out of the 115 million housing units in the United States in 2011, about 108 million (or 94 percent of homes) had at least one aging-accessible feature. However, only 11 million housing units (or about 10 percent of homes) were aging-ready: had a step-free entryway, a bedroom and full bathroom on the first floor,
and at least one bathroom accessibility feature.

More information and the full report are available here.