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More than one-fifth of Boston tenant households headed by someone 60 or over: Report

Share increased substantially from 2007 to 2017—and will likely continue to rise

Apartment buildings in Boston, including a red-brick one. EpochCatcher/Shutterstock

Some 21 percent of Boston tenant households were headed by someone at least 60 years old in 2017, according to a new analysis of Census data from real estate research and listings site RENTCafé.

Boston, then, has one of the highest shares of so-called senior renter households among major U.S. cities. What’s more, the city's share increased 32 percent from 2007 to 2017, and the RENTCafé report suggests that the share will only rise. (See chart below—the first column is the change from 2007 to 2017, and the second is the share.)

This would reflect a general trend in the entire U.S. Projections show that senior renter households will make up more than 30 percent of all U.S. renter households by 2035 (they comprised 22 percent in 2017).

And the number of senior renter households was up 43 percent from 2007 to 2017, far outpacing the growth in the number of senior owner households (31 percent).

Two main factors are driving the trend. Americans are living longer—the nation’s median age was 38.1 years old in 2017, the highest ever—and housing prices in some of the nation’s largest metro areas, including Boston, remain high, in part due to limited inventory.

Of course, the rental market is no picnic either in terms of cost.