WI20-09: The Demographics behind Aging in Place: Implications for Supplemental Security Income Eligibility and Receipt



Despite population aging, the nursing home population has declined since the 1980s. Recent surveys indicate most older adults prefer to “age in place” rather than move into an institution and, since the 1990s, the share of adults aged 65 and older who live with their adult children has been increasing. These trends have important implications for the Supplemental Security Income program because maximum benefit amounts differ by place of residence, and benefit determinations may be more complex when older adults live with adult children. Prior research has focused on financial drivers of residency trends. This project will examine the role of two major demographic trends (1) Increasing racial and ethnic diversity, and (2) Increasing life expectancy of men. Using regression decomposition techniques and Decennial Census and American Community Survey data spanning 1980 through 2017, this project will answer the question: How much of the observed trend in living arrangements is attributable to changes in racial and ethnic composition or marital patterns as opposed to changes in the behavior of groups over time? This analysis may also inform understanding of the implications of aging in place for well-being in old age. Although aging-in-place advocates argue community residence is better than institutional residence, individuals who live independently incur room and board expenses and may rely more on informal care from relatives.


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