The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) released Projections & Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015-2035. JCHS projects that the number of households headed by someone aged 65 and over will grow from 29.9 million in 2015 to 49.6 million by 2035, when they will account for one-third of all U.S. households.
The number of older households with a disability will increase to 31.2 million by 2035, a 76% increase from 2015. Seventeen million will have a mobility impairment, defined as difficulty in walking, getting in and out of bed, or climbing a flight of stairs. Accessible housing with zero-step entrances, single-floor living, wide halls and doorways to accommodate a wheelchair, electrical outlets and switches reachable from a wheelchair, and lever-style faucets and door handles provide greater independence to people with a mobility impairment. Only one percent of the nation’s housing stock, however, currently has all five of these features. The report suggests significant opportunities for the private market to provide new accessible housing to meet future demand. The report also recommends the public sector provide incentives to help homeowners and landlords pay for home modifications.
The number of low income older households with incomes less than 80% of their area median income will increase from 15 million in 2015 to 27 million by 2035. The decline in defined benefit retirement plans will put downward pressure on incomes of future retirees. The report calls for the public sector to provide older households with assistance to address housing cost burdens. This assistance includes property tax relief and grants for the installation of higher-efficiency heating and cooling systems to reduce utility costs for homeowners and increased funding for housing subsidy programs like vouchers and project-based rental assistance for renters.
Projections & Implications for Housing a Growing Population: 2015-2035 is available at: http://bit.ly/2hAKego