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Most U.S. cities have a high population of residents living alone. For some individuals, it’s status, and for others, their life just turned out that way. Although a few prefer singlehood compared to being married, I’m part of the latter group. Living alone carries a heavier burden for the single segment. An individual is solely responsible for rent or mortgage, income and property taxes, utility bills, car expenses, and insurance bills. Sharing doesn’t exist, not even for tough decisions.

 

But for people over 60 years of age and over, keeping up with the bills and decision-making are parts of the strain. The stress of living alone can affect one’s health because of the risks of isolation. Recently, I started a Facebook group for people like me living alone without a spouse or grown children. It's called elder orphans, a term derived from research by a Geriatrician in New York. And the biggest concern the members talk about is affordable housing.

 

If you look closely at the U.S. Census data, you can see the number of seniors who pay for home mortgages and what percentage of their monthly budget goes to paying for home expenses and rent. For the sake of this article, I’ll focus on the targeted cities where Silvernest is most prominent—Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Be sure to click on the links for each city to see more detailed information.

 

Denver is the home to 10 percent of the seniors 65 and over, and of that number, 38 percent of them live alone. The annual income is less than $10K for 10%, while 30% earn less than $20K.


The average Social Security Income in Denver is $15,505/year, and the median household income is $34,328. Compared to other states, Colorado ranks 7th for Long Term Care and 8th for America's Health Rankings. Housing in Denver - 12,809 seniors in Denver have a mortgage, 7,320 of whom have homes that cost at least 35% of their *monthly income.

 

Boulder has a 9% senior population (65+), 34% of them live alone. The annual income is less than $10K for 6%, and 16% earn less than $20K. The average Social Security Income is $18,379/year, and the median household income for a Boulder senior is $57,076. Housing in Boulder - 1,618 seniors have a mortgage, 885 of whom have homes that cost at least 35% of their *monthly income.

 

Fort Collins is the home to 9% of the seniors 65 and over, and of that 32% live alone. 5% of the seniors have an annual income of less than $10K and 22% less than $20K. The average Social Security income in Fort Collins is $15,898/year, and the median household income is $43,271.
Housing in Fort Collins - 2,750 of the people 65+ have a mortgage, 1,141 of whom have homes that cost at least 35% of their *monthly income.

 

St. Paul has a 9% senior population (65+), and of those 37% live alone. 11% of the seniors have an annual income of less than $10K and 28% less than $20K. The average Social Security Income in St. Paul is $15,829/year, and the median household income is $34,421. Minnesota ranks 1st for Long Term Care and 3rd for America's Health Rankings. Housing in St. Paul - 3,805 of seniors in St. Paul have a mortgage, 2,269 of whom have homes that cost at least 35% of their *monthly income. View Minneapolis

 

After reading the data, is it any wonder why most people over 65 worry about affordable housing? Shared and cohousing are viable options for adults, especially those who want to watch their budget while paying for a roof over their heads. If you don’t live in a city cited in the article, check out Seniorcare.com, we’ve collated data for guides in over 8,000 cities throughout the United States.

 

Reference: *Monthly housing costs as a percentage of household income provide information on the cost of monthly housing expenses for owners and renters. The report provides an excellent measure of housing affordability and excessive shelter costs. The data also serve to aid in the development of housing programs to meet the needs of people at different economic levels. Source: Census data.

By Carol Marak

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