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