Skip to content

Housing an Aging Population: Are We Prepared? – 2012


By 2050 the 65+ population is expected to grow from 40 million today to more than 88 million. In other words, one in every five Americans will be over 65. To prepare for this aging population, The Center for Housing Policy organized this report to better understand the long-term housing needs of this growing segment, as well as what services will help to enable them to age in place for as long as possible. 

Key Points

This report reviews survey data from the American Housing Survey to look at the current housing situation of the aging population, as well as future implications that the growth of this population will have on housing. Nine out of ten aging adults desire to stay in their current homes for as long as they can, which makes it necessary to expand services to help this population live independently, as well as provide them with affordable and safe housing options.

Other key findings to note:

  1. Already almost 25 percent of households include somebody over 65.
  2. Of the households with 65+ members, 38 percent included at least one person with a disability. Older households, as well as poorer households, had higher disability rates.
  3. Over 80 percent of adults 65 to 84 years of age own their own homes. And, housing is the greatest expense for those 65+.
  4. A majority of aging adults live in the suburbs or smaller towns where access to necessary services, such as transportation options beyond driving, are less prevalent.
  5. The 85+ population will more than triple from 5.8 million in 2010 to 19 million in 2050. Rapid growth of this group will boost demand for supportive services in the future.

How to Use

This 22-page report provides a well-organized and thoughtful review of the relevant data that can help local officials and planners understand the current and long-term housing situation for older adults. More importantly, the report concludes with detailed public policy recommendations, from zoning law changes to new program ideas. For any community planner or local government official trying to gain some perspective and insight on housing, this is the one document to read.

View full report: Housing an Aging Population: Are We Prepared? – 2012 (PDF – 2 MB)

Stay Informed — For Free!

The weekly, award-winning AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter provides local leaders with information and inspiration for making their town, city or neighborhood more livable for older adults and people of all ages. Subscribe today!