Report: Housing is Seniors’ Biggest Expense, Accounts for 35% of Spending

Housing remained the largest expenditure for people aged 65 and older in 2010, according to a Social Security Administration report on Expenditures of the Aged, released in March.

For those with earned income, 34% of annual expenditures went toward housing, up slightly to 36% for those without any earned income. 


Other expenses included out-of-pocket healthcare, food, and transportation, ranging from 11% to 15% of total expenditures. 

For the lowest income seniors, especially, the proportion of expenditures allocated for housing, food, and out-of-pocket healthcare was even higher (27%) compared to those in the highest income quartile.

Survey respondents in the lowest income quartile spend 43% of their total expenditures on housing, compared to 33% for those in the highest income quartile. 

The amount spent by seniors each year varies by age, the SSA found. 

For those aged 55-64, median expenditures totaled $37,580 in 2010. Survey respondents aged 75 and older spent $21,654.

However, the shares of expenditures allocated to food and housing were similar among all three age groups, says SSA.

The median share of expenditures allocated to housing among three age groups (55-64, 65-74, and 75 and older) was about 37%, although it declined for successively older adults, down to $7,832 in 2010 for those aged 75 and older.

About 80% of survey respondents in all three age groups were homeowners. The older the respondent, the more likely they were to own a home without a mortgage, the SSA found. 

View the report.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

New Call-to-action


  1. Frances says

    One of my greatest concerns is the size of the average senior abode if you're renting. I will soon be 73 and I am still active with my church choir as their musician I have a piano and an keyboard. Most apartments are no bigger than 600sqf. No room for anything extra and I refuse to give up my love of music because some builder/architect thinks because I'm old I don't need as much room as younger households do.

    • Margaret Drexel says

      I couldn't agree more. I have been looking at seniors low income housing. They are so small. No place to even put a table to sit down and eat a meal. I find as I age there are some things I can part with. But others have a lot of sentimental value. Like your music things. They are more than just things. They are part of our identity. I have a rather small curio cabinet. It was in my husbands family for three generations. It gives me a lot of pleasure every time I look at it as well as the contents within it. I also have a beautiful grandfathers clock. None of the apartments I have seen are big enough to hold my living room set and these view items.

      I don't want to just exist. I want to be proud of the place I live in. Would like to invite a friend for lunch and be able to sit at a table with in my apartment. Not in the community room. I don't want live in a match box. In order for the people at the top to have everything they want they think we don't deserve a few extra square feet of living space. After working hard all our lives I don't think it's a lot to ask for.
      Gods Peace,
      Margaret Drexel

  2. iris says

    I totally agreed with Frances and Margaret. I feel the same way.I'm a 70 year old going on atleast forty I love to go out enjoy myself have friends over go dancing etc. I have a four bedroom home a finished basement and a two car garage, now you tell me how am I suppose to fit in a square box 600 ft, I love my space and my freedom. I've noticed that even at the library when you look at their newsletter they send we're always at the end titled "OLDER AND BOULDER" and all they tell you is how to learn about medicare if you have problems with it and free blood pressure screening .I do that free of charge at home. Never do they advertise something fun and enjoyable like for the adults. I guess we must be a breed that's ready to kick the bucket so why bother. I will fight as long as I can to keep my home or find another home to rent to accommodate my treasures and keep my sanity, I'm not ready to go under just yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply