More than half of U.S. seniors considered “middle income” won’t be able to afford assisted living and other forms of senior housing a decade from now, according to new research published Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs.
The study, led by NORC at the University of Chicago and researchers from Harvard Medical School, shows a critical void in future U.S. housing needs at a time when more than 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 each day.
Though the housing market for Americans in need of assisted and independent living has greatly expanded, the cost is often out of reach for an increasing number of people considered middle income who are 75 and older.
“There’s a huge underserved market here,” Robert Kramer, founder and strategic advisor at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care, a nonprofit that provides data and analytics and works with investors and providers of senior housing. National Investment Center funded the NORC and Harvard research.
The study said 54% of middle-income seniors, or nearly 8 million people, will not be able to afford annual costs of $60,000 for assisted living, independent living or other housing related costs even if they allocated all of their annual resources to such housing. “Even assuming that seniors draw from their housing equity in addition to their income, 7.8 million (54 percent) middle-income seniors in 2029 will have annual financial resources of $60,000 or less,” the study shows.