Challenges for Middle-Income Elders in an Aging Society

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Faculty member Jack Rowe and the Research Network on an Aging Society have published findings in the journal Health Affairs related the demographic transformation occuring in the United States. The article features an overview of policy development and assessment strategies that focus on hours and other needs of the large older middle class of the future.

From Health Affairs, published April 24, 2019
Perspective: Challenges For Middle-Income Elders In An Aging SocietyThe United States is becoming an “aging society,” in which the number of people older than age sixty exceeds the number of those younger than age fifteen. This transformation has major implications for many aspects of American life. The fundamental challenge relates to our core societal institutions—education, work and retirement, health care, housing, and the like—which were not designed to support a population with our future age distribution. While the most disadvantaged are at greatest risk of losses in physical and emotional well-being and economic security, it has become apparent that middle-income elders will face formidable economic challenges, and related reductions in access to health care and secure housing, in the next ten years. Innovative private- and public-sector initiatives, including both specific public policies as well as individual programs targeting access to health care, housing, and economic security, are needed to support this very large group. For the past decade the Research Network on an Aging Society, an interdisciplinary group of scholars, has been working to identify the critical elements of successful adaptation and to formulate strategies to develop the policies and programs referred to above and assess their effectiveness. Here I present an overview of such policy development and assessment strategies, with a special focus on the housing and other needs of the large older middle class of the future.