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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Housing affordability is becoming a central obstacle to Americans’ ability to retire, especially for those living on fixed and limited incomes.

The big picture: The high cost of housing is a growing problem for older Americans in supply-constrained and wealth-divided cities, and for developers of senior housing facing a growing preference for “aging in place.”

Driving the news: While developers saw the looming wave of retiring Baby Boomers as a gold mine, many are instead finding the growing trend of seniors remaining in their homes is leaving them with empty buildings, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"In a city like San Francisco where you can’t afford to retire, many of our members can’t afford to leave — they're in rent-controlled apartments," says Jacqueline Jones, whose nonprofit, NEXT Village, helps seniors stay in their homes.

  • There’s a shortage of affordable housing for seniors.
  • Deanna, a 65-year-old retired social worker in San Jose, tells Axios she's been on one waitlist for five years and waited a year for her current apartment.

By the numbers: Next year, the average social security monthly payment will be $1,503.

  • The average studio in San Jose was $2,017 in the second quarter of 2019.
  • A studio at Atria Senior Living in Foster City, Calif. costs $5,800 per month, per its website.

What’s next: The number of older renters earning 50% or less of their area’s median income is projected to grow to 7.6 million, according to a 2016 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

  • Of the total projected 27.2 million low-income older households, 10.6 million (nearly 40%) will be 80 and over.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Podcasts

Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.

The recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.