A new report, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2023,” from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University highlights a growing urgency for public and private investment to address longstanding disinvestment in underserved communities of color, adapt the housing stock to increasing risks of climate change, and expand options for older adults to age safely in our communities.
While the entire report is informative, the following points may be of particular interest to communities working to become more age- and dementia friendly.
- Given that adults ages 75 and older will be the fastest-growing segment of the population in the coming decade, there is an increasing need for housing that supports older adults who wish to safely age in their communities.
- The number of homes available for sale remained near historic lows in early 2023, driven by a decade-long
slowdown in the construction of single-family housing that preceded the pandemic, the growing population
of older adults who are less likely to move, and the lack of available inventory for would-be sellers.
- Older adults are driving household growth. Rapid growth in the older adult population is shifting the age composition of US households. Thanks to the baby boomers, the number of householders ages 65and older grew by nearly 40 percent between 2012 and 2022 to a whopping 35 million households. Fully27 percent of all households—and a third of all homeowner households—are now headed by someone age 65 or older. And with the oldest baby boomers having turned 75 in 2021, the highest rates of growth are shifting to the oldest age groups, who have substantially greater accessibility needs.
- Older adults have the highest homeownership rates of any age group, with 79 percent of households ages 65 and older owning a home in 2022. While homeownership rates for older households have remained relatively stable, hovering between 78.5 and 80.0 percent since 2016, their share of households rose from 24 percent to 27 percent during that period and has helped to lift the overall homeownership rate.
- Much of the existing housing stock lacks basic accessibility features, such as no-step entrances, bathroom grab bars, or other modifications to support the nation’s rapidly aging population. As of 2019, more than 2 million households headed by someone age 65–79 (8 percent) and nearly 1.5 million headed by someone age 80 and over (18 percent) reported difficulty navigating or using their homes, threatening their ability to age in their homes and increasing the likelihood of incurring nursing home expenses.
The full report from JCHS is available here.