Boomers – Where are they Going?


There are so many more senior living options today than ever before, but trying to wade through these options and figure out what is best can be a real challenge. If you are attempting to look at these choices for yourself or an aging parent, you may be a little confused and overwhelmed. Help is available right here in All About Seniors! Let’s take a look at some statistics:

Consider that the over-85 population is increasing dramatically as more seniors are living longer. People 65-plus represented 13.3% of the population in the year 2011 but are expected to grow to be 21% of the population by 2040. The 85-plus population is projected to triple from 5.7 million in 2011 to 14.1 million in 2040.

U.S. households headed by boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 have a median net worth of nearly $144,000—almost 8% lower than the median net worth of households headed by those aged 75-plus, according to data from the Census Bureau.

A Boomer Housing Survey was conducted with research designed to illuminate the current, emerging and future housing issues for the Boomer population. Specifically, this research examines the Boomer population’s opinions, attitudes, and experiences in the areas of retirement migration, aging in place, and home planning and decision-making. This survey covered areas such as: length of time in current residence, recent/planned moving; difficulty getting around in home, mobility modifications/add-ons, members of household, expectation of use of home equity, and more.

Key Findings Include:

•Boomers love their community. For the majority, the location of their current home was a chief reason for selecting it and they would like their community to get better as they grow older. However, there are gaps in what their community currently offers and what Boomers view as important for the future. Having a grocery store within a ½ mile from their home is important to 79%, but only 62% actually have a grocery store within ½ mile from their home.

•Boomers are attracted to communities that resemble the past– Many say they like the idea of easily accessible services, shops, entertainment and walking trails and that easy access to these amenities becomes more important as they grow older.

•Boomers’ homes are a nice fit now and modifications will enhance life in later years– Boomers especially say their homes fit them – for today. They are also beginning to recognize that there are features that might enhance how they will live later in life. The vast majority of Boomers (91%) said it is very important to have an accessible bedroom on the main level of the home, especially as you age.

•Boomers are healthy, agile and active, thus planning for later years has been delayed. Boomers know they are going to live longer so the issue of planning for later years is not currently top-of-mind. So when asked about planning for home, community and services needed in later life, one-third or less has given this a great deal of thought.

We all know it’s coming — baby boomers are about to swell the ranks of older Americans. By 2050, the population of individuals aged 65 or older will increase 120 percent from 40 million to more than 88 million; put another way, one in every five Americans will be 65+. The numbers of Americans aged 85 or older will more than triple over the same period to 19 million. Demand for housing will shift dramatically and the need for services to help older adults age in place will grow exponentially.

Are we prepared?

The housing needs of “younger” older adults and the oldest adults are quite different. It draws on a variety of other sources to round out the picture of housing challenges that we must prepare for now.

The challenges are enormous: More older poor households will face severe housing cost burdens. Older adults are more likely than younger adults to spend more than half their income on housing. Cost burdens also increase with age. One in four households 85+ pay at least half their income for housing, as compared with about one in five households aged 65–74 and about one in six households younger than 65. The incomes of older adults tend to decline with age — as reflected in rising poverty rates. But property taxes, maintenance, and utility costs all tend to rise over time for both older homeowners and renters.

Accumulated savings and home equity can help, but levels of net worth vary dramatically among older adults, and are particularly low among racial and ethnic minorities. As the overall population ages, the numbers of the most vulnerable will grow as well — people with a disability, women living alone (who account for 39.5 percent of 65+ women), and minorities.

All reported statistics are weighted based on Census data (race, ethnicity, gender and age group). This survey of 2,260 adults ages 45-65 was conducted by Woelfel Research, Inc.