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  4. 2021 assisted living statistics

Assisted living statistics

Data trends and projections

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    According to the data:

    • More than 810,000 people reside in assisted living facilities.
    • Assisted living costs an average of $4,300 per month.
    • The population of adults older than 85 will double by 2036 and triple by 2049.
    • 7 out of 10 people require assisted living care in their lifetime.
    • The U.S. will need nearly 1 million new senior living units by 2040.

    Nearly 30,000 assisted living facilities operate in the United States. On average, each assisted living facility accommodates 27 to 33 residents.

    National senior living statistics

    About 2% of seniors in the U.S. live in assisted living facilities. The average cost of assisted living in the U.S. is $4,300 per month. For context, the estimated median monthly cost for a 44-hour-a-week home health aide is $4,576.

    An additional 4% of seniors live in nursing homes. The median cost of nursing homes nears $9,000 per month for a private room, making assisted living an affordable and popular choice for seniors who need more than just care during the day. As of 2019, California has 1,246,079 nursing facilities, the most of any state in the country.

    Assisted living is more affordable than other senior care options, but it’s still a major expense. However, not everyone appropriately budgets for elder care plans.

    Common conditions of assisted living residents

    • High blood pressure
    • Arthritis
    • Heart disease
    • Alzheimer’s or dementia

    Common features across assisted living facilities

    • Pharmacy access
    • Nutritional guidance
    • Physical and occupational therapy
    • Nursing care
    • Hospice care
    seven out of ten people require assisted living

    Assisted living demographics

    Assisted living facilities provide housing to aging residents with varying levels of independence. For some, this can mean taking care of their own hygiene needs while nurses manage their medications. Other residents may need assistance with everyday tasks and more intensive medical treatment. In addition to Alzheimer’s and dementia, some of the most common conditions of assisted living residents are high blood pressure, arthritis and heart disease.

    • About 71% of residents have memory impairments. About 42% of residents have moderate to severe memory loss, and an additional 29% of residents have mild impairments. Memory care is more expensive than traditional assisted living — usually 20% to 30% more than the average.
    • The average length of a stay in an assisted living facility is 22 months. As care needs become more intense, most assisted living residents move to nursing homes or other types of senior care.
    • The majority of residents are women. About 71% of assisted living residents are women. This discrepancy is because many women outlive their spouses, leaving them without in-home support and in greater need of the care assisted living facilities provide.
    • The majority of residents are in their 80s. The average age of assisted living residents is 84. Though most facilities allow patients as young as 65, 52% of residents are over 85 and 30% are between 75 and 84.
    seventy one percent of assisted living residents are women

    Assisted living facility statistics by state

    The financial burden of assisted living varies by state. It ranges from a median monthly price of $3,000 in Missouri to $6,690 in Delaware. Below, compare the total number of facilities and the average cost of assisted living by state.

    four thousand three hundred dollars per month average assisted living costs

    Currently, Medicare covers up to 20 days of assisted living care. Most state Medicaid programs cover some assisted living costs, but the amount and days covered vary by state. Most residents need other financing methods beyond just insurance.

    Number of assisted living communitiesMaximum licensed capacityAverage monthly costsAverage yearly cost
    New Hampshire1004,800$6,650$79,800
    New Jersey20021,300$6,650$79,800
    New Mexico1004,200$4,050$48,600
    New York50035,500$4,800$57,600
    North Carolina90039,900$3,800$45,600
    North Dakota1005,300$4,096$29,149
    Rhode Island503,900$4,950$59,400
    South Carolina30012,300$3,988$47,850
    South Dakota1004,600$3,638$43,650
    West Virginia503,600$4,000$48,000
    Number of assisted living communities3001001,4001005,90040060302,400900300200400200504002001002409003001,7008001004002002002001002001005009001006002001,5001,000503001003001,300200904002,000501,50020
    Maximum licensed capacity9,7001,80024,9005,800127,00014,6001,7002,10075,10025,2005,2008,30031,00020,3001,70012,10012,5005,3006,50017,50013,60036,50030,6006,40019,9005,90011,3004,2004,80021,3004,20035,50039,9005,30042,80010,50031,50062,9003,90012,3004,60017,40048,7007,1002,40026,40041,5003,60036,100800
    Average monthly costs$3,150$6,650$3,900$3,500$5,000$4,575$6,633$6,690$3,700$3,900$5,000$3,675$4,575$4,382$4,073$5,090$3,699$3,675$5,942$5,000$6,300$4,200$4,283$3,713$3,000$4,213$4,188$3,595$6,650$6,650$4,050$4,800$3,800$4,096$4,350$3,750$4,659$3,955$4,950$3,988$3,638$4,039$3,998$3,400$5,310$4,850$5,750$4,000$4,400$4,174
    Average yearly cost$37,800$79,590$48,00042,000$60,000$54,900$75,600$80,820$44,400$48,000$60,000$44,100$54,900$52,584$49,149$61,080$44,385$43,665$71,298$60,000$73,020$50,400$52,390$44,550$36,000$50,550$50,250$43,140$79,800$79,800$48,600$57,600$45,600$29,149$52,200$45,000$55,905$47,457$59,400$47,850$43,650$48,465$47,970$40,800$63,720$58,200$69,000$48,000$52,800$50,100

    Bottom line

    As the senior population continues to grow, the need for more assisted living facilities is likely to increase drastically. Though assisted living is a more affordable alternative to nursing home care for many older adults, the cost of these facilities is also expected to rise as the industry expands.

    No matter the size of the facility, you should always confirm the residence is licensed. The level of care needed is also an important factor in choosing a facility — smaller units may have relationships with doctors and local hospitals rather than on-call medical professionals.

    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page.
    1. American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCANCAL), “Facts & Figures.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    2. AARP, “Assisted Living Facilities: Weighing the Options.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Dementia Special Care Units in Residential Care Communities: United States, 2010.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    4. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Residential Care Facilities: A Key Sector in the Spectrum of Long-term Care Providers in the United States.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    5. HealthAffairs, “Dementia Prevalence And Care In Assisted Living.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    6. Medicare, “Skilled nursing facility (SNF) care.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    7. HealthAffairs, “The Forgotten Middle: Many Middle-Income Seniors Will Have Insufficient Resources For Housing And Health Care.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    8. Genworth, “Cost of Care Survey.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    9. Genworth, “Cost of Care Survey: Ranked State Data Tables” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    10. Senior Housing News, “Nearly 1 Million New Senior Living Units Needed by 2040.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    11. U.S. Census Bureau, “An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    12. National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), “Assisted Living: A Growing Aspect of Long Term Care.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    13. Howmuch, “The Rising Cost of Senior Care in America.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    14. McNight’s Senior Living, “Argentum list of largest senior living providers adds 10 for 2020.” Accessed April 28, 2021.
    15. Assisted Living, “What Is Memory Care And How Much Should It Cost?” Accessed April 28, 2021.
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