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Harvard study highlights inequality among senior U.S. citizens

Published : 16 Oct 2019, 23:30

  DF-Xinhua Report

Visitors walk on the campus of the Harvard University in Cambridge of Massachusetts, the United States, on Oct. 15, 2018. File Photo Xinhua.

Harvard University on Wednesday released a report on a prevalent inequality discovered among senior U.S. citizens regarding home ownership.

The study, conducted by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, found that between 2012 and 2017 income disparities among people above 65 "are widening, and white-minority gaps in home ownership have expanded."

Home ownership rates are lower and debt rates are higher for the 50-64 age group, as compared to earlier generations, the report said.

Between 2012 and 2017, the incomes of households age 65 and over in the top 10 percent increased by 22 percent while incomes of those in the bottom 10 percent fell by 4 percent. Additionally, the median income for the highest earners between the ages of 50 and 64 set a record of nearly 204,000 U.S. dollars in 2017, while the median income for the lowest earners, 14,400 dollars, was lower than the 2000 level of 17,100 dollars.

"The falloff in home ownership rates among those approaching retirement, and the elevated levels of mortgage debt among those who do own, is concerning," Chris Herbert, the Harvard center's managing director, said. "There are significant differences in owners and renters when it comes to preparedness for retirement."

The report also highlights the widening racial disparities in home ownership. Last year, the black-white home ownership gap among households age 65 and over was at a 30-year high of 19.4 percent while the Hispanic-white gap stood at 18.4 percent.