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Housing for Older Adults: The Impacts of the Recession

This paper summarizes findings from State Housing Profiles 2011, which uses several sources, including the 2009 American Community Survey, to look at key housing indicators for older adults.  The data show that conditions have deteriorated significantly for older households during the last decade. Older homeowners and renters face greater affordability issues, and many low-income households face more unsustainable housing costs since the housing crisis and recession that began in 2007. Disability rates, family structures, foreclosure rates, and the age of homes are other factors that have shifted in the decade, as older households adapt to face new and continuing challenges.

Notable findings highlighted in this paper include:

  • Housing costs are becoming more burdensome for older adults, and those who rent or own with mortgages are at greater risk of affordability challenges than those who own their homes debt-free.
  • The percentage of homeowners who own their homes free and clear dropped, and the percentage who are still paying mortgages after age 50 rose.
  • Households age 50+ are less likely to be married and living with a spouse than in the past.
  • The percentage of men age 50+ living alone has increased, while the percentage of women age 50+ living alone has declined.
  • Renters age 50+ are more likely to have a disability than are homeowners.
  • People age 50+ are more likely to live in older homes than in the past.

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