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Silver Tsunami Approaching for Rental Housing

The number of households headed by senior citizens is projected to explode in the coming years, from 5.8 million in 2010, to over 12 million in 2030, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute.

“In 1990, there were 20 million households aged 65 and up; by 2010, this number had grown to 25.8 million, and by 2030, we project that aging Baby Boomers will expand the number of senior households to 46 million,” said a report summary. “This sharp rise in senior citizens increases the urgency of developing policies that allow seniors to stay in their homes as they age, as most want to do.”


The report (click here) is part of a larger study of housing trends, where the needs for senior housing is called out with particular urgency. It calls for “innovation and action” on at least three fronts:

Cost Burden: Currently, 30% of senior households that rent pay more than 50% of their income for rent. This number will certain rise as demand increases.

Home Modifications: With an aging population, much more needs to be done to adapt living units to reduce debilitating falls and improve indoor air quality.

Community Changes: Community supports are essential to allowing seniors to age in place safely, including zoning changes that allow for house sharing and accessory apartments.    

While the report does not specifically make a recommendation about new housing production, the evidence clearly points to a great need to increase funding and incentives for the creation of new, affordable, accessible rental housing that will serve these new renters.

Contact: John Broderick, jbroderick@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8835.