More Black, Hispanic Older Adults Likely Can’t Afford Senior Housing, Care By 2035

Millions of Black and Hispanic older adults will be unable to afford senior housing and healthcare services as they age within the next decade.

That’s according to NORC at the University of Chicago, which on Feb. 15 released a new analysis to its “Forgotten Middle” study commissioned by The SCAN Foundation.

The number of middle-income older adults of color will increase to represent 25% of the middle-income cohort of older adults in 2035.But the same population will be least likely to afford senior housing when compared to the middle-income adult population as a whole, according to the researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago


“Wealth is not distributed evenly across the Forgotten Middle. Now we know that Black and Hispanic older adults are the worst off,” Sarah Rayel, senior director in NORC’s Health Care Strategy department said in the release. “Black and Hispanic middle-income older adults have fewer liquid assets and less equity than other middle-income older adults, which is making it harder to leverage their home to support future housing and health care needs.”

For the study, middle-income adults are defined as “having annuitized income and assets ranging from $26,000 to $103,000 in 2020 dollars.”

The study also found that home ownership by younger Black older adults is expected to fall substantially by 2035, with Black and Hispanic homeowners projected to have lower home equity by that time.


Marriage rates are also anticipated to decline across all racial groups, though Black and Hispanic adults are expected to see more declines with 25% and 40% married respectively.

Black and Hispanic older adults are also at higher risk for health complications including chronic conditions and mobility limitations that “likely increase the need for additional care” in the coming years.

“The impending crisis facing people who won’t qualify for Medicaid and won’t be able to afford private home care will impact older adults of color much more acutely,” Sarita A. Mohanty, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, said. “Policymakers, as well as the healthcare and senior housing communities have substantial work to do to ensure that race does not become a hindrance to aging well.”

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