Housing Needs and Economic Conditions of Cook County’s Older Adults, 2021

Report by Institute for Housing Studies
December 2021

Institute for Housing Studies   (Chicago)

While the aging of the American population is one of the most critical demographic trends facing U.S cities, the Chicago region has limited data and analysis to inform current policy conversations around the housing needs of older adults.

The development of impactful policy to address the unique housing needs of Cook County’s older adults requires local and timely data on changing conditions, informed by the data needs of issue-area stakeholders. Our report, Housing Needs and Economic Conditions of Cook County’s Older Adults, 2021, identifies current demographic and economic characteristics and trends for older adult households in Cook County. The report's analysis leverages the local knowledge of roughly 20 Chicago-area organizations working on older adult housing issues to create a practitioner-focused resource on key demographic and socioeconomic conditions related to older-adult housing demand and economic and housing insecurity in Cook County.

Intended as a baseline resource to inform current conversations and future analysis of critical housing issues facing older adults, Housing Needs and Economic Conditions of Cook County’s Older Adults establishes that households headed by an older adult represent a large and rapidly growing share of households in Cook County and that there is variation in both the current economic conditions and nature of older adult household growth in the city and suburbs. Critically, reflecting both the community and individual impact of systemic racial inequality and uneven economic opportunity for people of color, this analysis highlights that economic conditions such as income, cost burden, and presence of mortgage debt vary widely by older adult householder race and ethnicity and for older adults in the city and suburbs.