The Need

  • Average Yearly Expense for One Senior Renter in NJ is $25,941 100% 100%
  • Average Social Security Income for a Woman in New Jersey is $12,741 49% 49%
  • Average Social Security Income for a Man in New Jersey is $16,580 64% 64%

The Need

According to the NJ Elder Economic Security Standard Index, the cost of living for NJ seniors is their highest expense. Housing expenses account for a total of 45% of their monthly expenses. Approximately 25% of all seniors in NJ live solely on Social Security. The average Social Security income for a woman is $12,741; and the average Social Security income for a man is $16,580. This creates an alarming disparity in living conditions. The really scary part is the average yearly expense for one senior renter in NJ is $25,941, according to the Elder Index. These statistics support the fact that a large population of NJ seniors are living in deficit.

The past has been good and the future is bright for the Elderly Services industry. Fueled by an aging population, demand for the types of services that the industry provides is abundant. However, a significant portion of the market has been receiving services from institutional providers (i.e. nursing care and assisted living facilities) rather than from the industry’s formal non-institutional providers. Declining disposable income during the recession encouraged elderly and disabled individuals to call on family and friends for care. Unfortunately, being able to rely on family and friends for affording housing is not always the case. This is where The Margaret Hague Foundation will step in to help. The Foundation will provide affordable housing for healthy low-income seniors within the New Jersey area.


The Aging Population in New Jersey


The 2019 census population estimates shows Ocean County’s population as follows:

The 60+ age group accounts for 30% of the total with 182,198 individuals.
The 65+ age group accounts for 22.8% of the total with 138,329 individuals .
The 75+ age group accounts for 10.7% with 64,828 individuals.
The 85+ age group accounts for 2.9% with 17,522 individuals.


From NJ Elder Index Report 1-13-2021



The Elder Index is a measure of the cost of basic expenses of older households—those exclusively including members age 65 or older—to age in place, continuing to live in the community setting of their choice. The Elder Index defines economic security as the financial status where an older person has sufficient income from Social Security, pension, retirement savings, and other sources to cover basic and necessary living expenses. The Elder Index estimates what it costs older people to meet their expenses without public support, such as food assistance, energy assistance, subsidized housing, or property tax assistance, and it illustrates how living expenses change when life circumstances change. The Elder Index also can be used to demonstrate the interplay between New Jersey residents’ living expenses and actual income. This report presents the 2019 Elder Index for New Jersey to benchmark basic living expense costs for older households. It illustrates how expenses vary both by specific New Jersey geographic areas and by the circumstances of households, including household size, homeowner or renter status, health status, and the need for long-term care. The expenses are based on market costs and do not assume any public or private needs-based supports.


Key Findings for New Jersey


1. Older New Jersey residents cannot meet their basic living expenses whether they live at the Federal Poverty Level or the level of the average Social Security benefit. This is true of older people statewide, whether they rent or own a home.

2. Housing costs (mortgage or rent, taxes, utilities and insurance) put a heavy burden on many older households, especially among renters and those with a mortgage.

3. The Elder Index shows the significance of health care costs for older New Jersey residents, who must purchase supplemental health and prescription drug coverage in addition to Medicare.

4. Even older people who are currently making ends meet face an uncertain future if their life circumstances change, such as loss of a spouse/partner or a decline in health status.

5. The need for home and community-based long-term care can more than double an older person’s expenses, significantly increasing the income needed to meet basic needs.


Summary of Findings for Ocean County


Older people in Ocean County at the poverty level or with the average Social Security benefit cannot make ends meet.

Older people living alone in Ocean County need $23,256-$33,756 to cover their basic annual living costs.

Older couples in Ocean County need $33,612-$44,112 to cover their basic annual living costs.

Some older people who are currently making ends meet face a precarious future if their life circumstances change, such as losing a spouse/partner or experiencing a decline in health status.


The Solution


The Margaret Hague Foundation’s vision is to be part of the solution by filling this gap, providing a more personal and affordable option, 2-4 seniors who are carefully screened and matched sharing a home living together in a cozy homelike environment. The housing program will be managed by the experienced staff of the MHF and supported by fees for rent and donations from the public and grants.