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Research Publication

Housing the Nation’s Burgeoning Older Elderly Population

June 15, 2012


With millions of Baby Boomers on the doorstep of retirement, policy makers, practitioners, and researchers are assessing the challenges associated with meeting the nation’s elderly housing needs. This Data Note seeks to advance our understanding of these challenges by providing insights into the size, disability characteristics, and housing consumption of the nation's seniors, with a particular focus on the population aged 75 and over. This “older elderly” population is of particular interest because it is projected to grow very rapidly and has disability and housing consumption characteristics that differ from those of younger seniors.

This Data Note begins by showing that the older elderly population experienced a marked shift toward living in housing units, as opposed to group quarters such as nursing homes, between 2000 and 2010. Rising headship rates (i.e., the proportion of the population in a given age group that is a householder – the person, or one of the persons, in whose name a housing unit is owned, being bought, or rented) and rapid household growth also point to increasing housing consumption of the population 75 years old and over. The Data Note also presents data showing substantially higher disability rates among the older elderly when compared with younger seniors. In addition, it analyzes population projections that indicate the growth of the older elderly population will accelerate rapidly before the end of this decade and will considerably outpace overall population growth for decades to come. Finally, the Data Note briefly discusses the implications of the expanding older elderly population for the housing industry.  

Older Elderly Housing Data Note (PDF)