The Middle Market Seniors Interactive Tool allows users to adjust assumptions related to annual rents for seniors housing and out-of-pocket medical costs in 2029 in order to see what share of middle-income seniors have the financial resources to cover these costs. The tool allows users to see how different seniors housing costs would expand or contract the potential market of middle-income seniors age 75 and older.
The definition of middle market is motivated by the range of options available to seniors for housing and care—targeting those who are unlikely to qualify for Medicaid but may not be able to afford private seniors housing (assisted and independent living). Middle-income is defined as those individuals in the 41st to 80th percentile of individual income and annuitized assets in 2014. For seniors age 75-84, that band corresponds to $25,001 to $74,298 in income and annual assets. The band is wider for older seniors age 85 and above, where it ranges from $24,450 to $95,051.
There are three seniors housing rent levels—low ($40,000), average ($55,000), and high ($75,000)—and two out-of-pocket medical cost options—low ($5,000) or high ($10,000). Average may be indicative of typical costs for assisted living, low may be indicative of typical costs for independent living, and high may be indicative of higher acuity assisted living. All dollar values are based on 2014 dollars.
Users may choose to view results for all seniors 75 and older or by age group (75-84; 85 and older). Users may also adjust whether equity from seniors’ homes is included as part of their financial resources in the results.
As an example, in a scenario of average rental costs and low out-of-pocket medical costs, the total annual cost for care and housing for an individual equals $60,000. At that level of expenditure, the top quintile of middle-income seniors (81st-100th percentile) would have annual income and annuitized assets above the cost of seniors housing and medical out-of-pocket costs. Middle-income seniors from the 61st to 80th percentile would not have sufficient annual resources unless they sold their homes and contributed housing equity to the cost of seniors housing. All middle-income seniors below the 60th percentile do not have the financial resources, even with housing equity, to cover the cost of average seniors housing rents and $5,000 out-of-pocket medical costs.
This analysis forecasts the size of the senior population (age 75 and older) in 2029 and estimated their demographic, health, cognitive, and functional status, and financial resources using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). The analytic model was developed in three stages: (1) construction of a per-capita financial resource measure that includes income from several sources and annuitized household assets; (2) forecasting the size and demographic characteristics of the senior population in 2029; and (3) projecting per-capita financial resources and select health and functional characteristics of the forecasted senior population.
This research was published in Health Affairs. The Health Affairs article and a detailed methodology summary are available below. In the spirit of open and ongoing research based on the Middle Market Seniors Housing Study, a public use file (csv analytic file) and data dictionary (codebook) are also available. Please submit more information about your research to access these files.
When referencing the research or data file, please include the following information:
The Middle Market Seniors Housing Study was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with a grant from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) and published in Health Affairs (Pearson CF, Quinn CC, Loganathan S, Datta AR, Mace BB, Grabowski DC. The Forgotten Middle: Many Middle-Income Seniors Will Have Insufficient Resources For Housing And Health Care. Health Affairs [Internet]. 2019May;38(5):851–9. Available from: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05233)
Technical questions and requests for the data file and data dictionary can be sent to MiddleMarketStudy@norc.org
NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.
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The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support access and choice for America’s seniors by providing data, analytics, and connections that bring together investors and providers.
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