There has been a growing interest in how the built environment affects health and well-being. Housing characteristics are associated with human health while environmental chemicals could have mediated the effects. However, it is unclear if and how residence duration might have a role in health and well-being. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the associations among residence duration, common chronic diseases, and cognitive function in older adults in a national and population-based setting. Data were extracted from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001–2002, with assessment information on demographics, lifestyle factors, housing characteristics, self-reported common chronic diseases, and cognitive function by using the digit symbol substitution test from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (a measurement of attention and psychomotor speed). Statistical analyses including the chi-square test, t test, and survey-weighted general linear modeling and logistic regression modeling were performed. Residence duration was significantly associated with risk of asthma but not with other chronic disease, showing a longer stay in the same housing leading to lower risk of asthma (OR 0.43, 95%CI 0.27–0.69, P = 0.002) among the American older adults. However, having asthma was not associated with cognitive function decline. In conclusion, residence duration was found to be associated with risk of asthma but not cognitive function. Future research examining the relationship of residence duration and cognitive tests by other domains of cognitive function following asthma episodes would be suggested. For practice and policy implications, familiarity with the housing environment might help with lessening respiratory symptoms.