More than 10,000 households include one or more person(s) who are 65 or older4. Approximately 3,198 (30%) of those households are 1-person households, seniors 65 and older living alone5. There are about 2,690 (10%) households that include one or more person(s) aged 60-646. Since seniors represent 35% of James City County’s households, ensuring that seniors have affordable, appropriate housing is an important consideration. Learn more about senior households in James City County. Many seniors are living on fixed incomes and often don’t have extra income for emergency home repairs or high energy bills. Older adults with reduced incomes tend to have a lower effective demand for housing quality and vital household repairs7. In other words, older adults with reduced incomes cannot afford high housing quality and important repairs and so do not represent economic demand, despite their need. Further, seniors often need housing modifications to prevent injury and allow them to age in place. Learn more about housing and seniors here.
VCHR and czb gathered more information about housing issues experienced by seniors in James City County by conducting focus groups. A common theme among all focus-group participants preparing for aging was the belief that aging in their current home was their best or only option. Many participants explained that senior housing in James City County is not affordable for people with low and moderate incomes. Others explained that there is not enough affordable housing that is adequate (small and single-story) for people as they age.
Participants who are planning to age in place often mentioned accessibility concerns like widening doorways to make them accessible for wheelchairs and walkers or converting bathtubs to walk-in showers. One participant stated that he had helped to lower his friend’s stovetop so that she could continue cooking for herself in a wheelchair, as well as lowering some light switches so she could reach them. Others mentioned energy efficiency and finding ways to lower monthly costs as a way of preparing for retirement and life on lower, fixed incomes. Read more about information gathered from the housing focus groups here.
There are about 3,449 (13%) Millennial householders in James City County. Learn more about housing and millennials. In order to attract and retain young Millennials, James City County will need affordably priced housing located in walking distance of entertainment and shopping amenities. Most Millennials will choose their ideal location over greater square footage8. Some older Millennials are likely to find James City County appealing if they can find affordable housing. Most Millennials are likely to become homeowners eventually and are also likely to move out of the urban-core areas. In a national survey, 48% of Millennials said they would like their next home to be in the suburbs, 38% said they would like it to be in the city, and 14% said they would like it to be in a rural area9. Read more about Millennial housing preferences here.
The emergence of the Millennial generation as a force in the housing market is significant. In general, members of this generation are delaying marriage and homeownership and have reduced purchasing power for housing (thanks to student debt and a restructured financial sector). They are also expressing a strong preference for compact, mixed use, walkable places. James City County is not well-positioned to compete for Millennials as it largely lacks the characteristics and amenities they demand. View recommendations.
Most of James City County’s households are working and have 1 or 2 earners. A small number, about 5% of households have 3 workers.10 About 8,772 (32%) households have no workers.11 Many non-working household are likely retired, senior households. James City County has about 8,839 (32%) households headed by a person who is 65 or older12. James City County’s unemployment rate is consistent with the Virginia rate and is relatively low compared to the rest of the United States. The county’s average monthly unemployment rate was 4.5% in 2015, only one-tenth of a point higher than Virginia as a whole. Learn more about household income and workers in James City County.
4 2013 ACS 1-year data
5 2013 ACS 3-year data
6 2013 ACS 1-year data
7 Howden-Chapman, Signal, & Crane, 1999
8 Logan, 2014
9 Burbank & Keely, 2013
10 2013 ACS 3-year data
11 2013 ACS 3-year data
12 2013 ACS 1-year data