Harvard JCHS Research Discusses Addressing Housing and Care Challenges for America's Growing Older Adult Population

Date Published: 
February 13th, 2024

In a recent report released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, “Housing America’s Older Adults 2023," researchers delve into the critical issues surrounding the increasing population of older adults in the United States. The report reveals that the number of older adults, defined as those aged 65 and above, has surged by 34 percent from 43 million in 2012 to 58 million in 2022. This unprecedented growth is observed across urban, suburban, and rural communities, reflecting a nationwide trend.

One of the key findings underscores the looming challenges in providing affordable housing and care for older adults. As the first baby boomers approach 80, the demand for assistance with daily activities and long-term care services is set to intensify. The analysis reveals that a mere 13 percent of adults aged 75 and over, living alone across 97 US metros, can afford assisted living without depleting their assets. Additionally, just 14 percent can afford a daily visit from a home health aide on top of housing costs.

The report sheds light on the financial struggles faced by older adults, emphasizing the growing cost burden of housing. In 2021, nearly 11.2 million older adults were classified as cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their household income on housing costs—an all-time high. Homelessness among older individuals is on the rise, further underscoring the urgency of addressing the housing crisis for this demographic.

Looking ahead, the report highlights the imperative for affordable housing and care, not only due to the increasing number of older adults but also owing to widening wealth and income inequality. There are pronounced disparities in wealth based on housing tenure, with older renters having only 2 percent of the net wealth of older homeowners. Meaningful inequalities by race and ethnicity in home equity further complicate the ability to finance home modifications, care, and other essential needs. 


CLPHA Program(s): 
Resource type(s): 

Sorry, this content is only available to members.

If you're a member of CLPHA, please click here to log in.

If you have not created your CLPHA.org account, it’s easy to create one. Click here for step-by-step instructions.

You can also click here to watch a webinar site tour that shows CLPHA members how to create website accounts for themselves and provides an overview of the site's functionality.

Otherwise, we invite you to learn more about the many benefits of CLPHA membership.