America is Aging and Housing Is Going to Have To Adjust

In less than two decades, the graying of America will be inescapable: Older adults are projected to outnumber kids for the first time in U.S. history.

Already, the middle-aged outnumber children, but the country will reach a new milestone in 2035. That year, the U.S. Census Bureau projects [PDF] that older adults will edge out children in population size: People age 65 and over are expected to number 78.0 million, while children under age 18 will number 76.7 million.

An area many home builders have only begun to address is that all 55+ households are not the same, and there are opportunities across the continuum of wealth and income, geographies, community types (age-targeted, age-restricted, mixed age, etc), intentional communities, lifestyle communities, resort communities, and ones where living on fixed income is affordable.

Still, in the next 15 years, a real wake-up call will need to take place, as the moment, in 2035, where 65-plus year-olds will outnumber kids.

A whole other customer segment category--somewhere between 55+ and senior housing--will need to evolve to accommodate the multiple lifestages people may experience in that 40-year stretch from 55 to 95.

The notion of aging in place, almost every expert would say, is only a crude start to the kind of development, design, engineering, technology, floorplanning, etc. that will need to occur as a relatively healthy horde of people pursue housing options and alternatives.

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