The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reports that by the year 2035, one in five people in the United States will be age 65 and older, and one in three households will be headed by someone in that age bracket.
Cambridge Realty Capital Chairman Jeffrey A. Davis says the Housing Center projects that growth in the age group will increase the demand for affordable, accessible housing far beyond what current supply can meet.
According to the report, households age 80 and higher are expected to increase at a higher rate than older households in general, more than doubling from 7.8 percent to 16.2 million by 2035. By then, they will represent 11 percent of all U.S. households.
Mr. Davis says the report suggests most of the growth of these oldest households will occur between 2025 and 2035. By 2035, there will be 9.3 million one-person households age 80 or older, representing 57 percent of households in that age group.
The study acknowledges that many older adults indicate they prefer to age in their current residences. But a wider array of housing types can offer safer, more affordable and lower-maintenance homes within existing communities, improving housing situations without uprooting older adults from the places they have called home for years or even decades.
Authors of the report also note that the nation’s older population will become more radically and ethnically diverse. However, significant shifts won’t happen until the more diverse Generation X and millennials reach retirement age.
By 2035, the white share of the older population will drop from 78 percent to 69 percent, with rising shares of Black, Hispanic, Asian and other races completing the remaining 11 percent.
“Numbers like these assure that the senior housing industry will be challenged to come up with creative housing solutions to meet the demands of an industry that continues to expand and change,” Mr. Davis said.