2021 Assisted Living Statistics

Current data trends and projections

According to the most recent available 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

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.

Assisted living data trends and predictions

The assisted living industry is expected to accommodate many more residents in the next 10 to 20 years. Here’s a breakdown of the current state of assisted living and what we can expect over the next two decades:

  • The number of people over 65 will grow by 42%.
  • The number of people over 85 will grow by 111%.
  • About 986,000 new assisted living units will be necessary.

The reason for this growth: Baby boomers are currently 57 to 75 years old and represent 21.19% of the population. This is a sharp increase for this demographic — 20 years ago, the silent generation made up only about 15.4% of the population when it was aged 56 to 73.

This change in the U.S. aging population will likely create an increased demand for assisted living care. According to research from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), the U.S. will need almost 881,000 new facilities by 2030 and 986,000 by 2040.

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.

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.

State Number of assisted living communities Maximum licensed capacity Average monthly costs
Alabama 300 9,700 $3,150 $37,800
Alaska 100 1,800 $6,650 $79,590
Arizona 1,400 24,900 $3,900 $48,000
Arkansas 100 5,800 $3,500 $42,000
California 5,900 127,000 $5,000 $60,000
Colorado 400 14,600 $4,575 $54,900
Connecticut 60 1,700 $6,633 $75,600
Delaware 30 2,100 $6,690 $80,820
Florida 2,400 75,100 $3,700 $44,400
Georgia 900 25,200 $3,900 $48,000
Hawaii 300 5,200 $5,00 $60,000
Idaho 200 8,300 $3,675 $44,100
Illinois 400 31,000 $4,575 $54,900
Indiana 200 20,300 $4,382 $52,584
Iowa 50 1,700 $4,073 $49,149
Kansas 400 12,100 $5,090 $61,080
Kentucky 200 12,500 $3,699 $44,385
Louisiana 100 5,300 $3,675 $43,665
Maine 240 6,500 $5,942 $71,298
Maryland 900 17,500 $5,000 $60,000
Massachusetts 300 13,600 $6,300 $73,020
Michigan 1,700 36,500 $4,200 $50,400
Minnesota 800 30,600 $4,283 $52,390
Mississippi 100 6,400 $3,713 $44,550
Missouri 400 19,900 $3,000 $36,000
Montana 200 5,900 $4,213 $50,550
Nebraska 200 11,300 $4,188 $50,250
Nevada 200 4,200 $3,595 $43,140
New Hampshire 100 4,800 $6,650 $79,800
New Jersey 200 21,300 $6,650 $79,800
New Mexico 100 4,200 $4,050 $48,600
New York 500 35,500 $4,800 $57,600
North Carolina 900 39,900 $3,800 $45,600
North Dakota 100 5,300 $4,096 $29,149
Ohio 600 42,800 $4,350 $52,200
Oklahoma 200 10,500 $3,750 $45,000
Oregon 1,500 31,500 $4,659 $55,905
Pennsylvania 1,000 62,900 $3,955 $47,457
Rhode Island 50 3,900 $4,950 $59,400
South Carolina 300 12,300 $3,988 $47,850
South Dakota 100 4,600 $3,638 $43,650
Tennessee 300 17,400 $4,039 $48,465
Texas 1,300 48,700 $3,998 $47,970
Utah 200 7,100 $3,400 $40,800
Vermont 90 2,400 $5,310 $63,720
Virginia 400 26,400 $4,850 $58,200
Washington 2,000 41,500 $5,750 $69,000
West Virginia 50 3,600 $4,000 $48,000
Wisconsin 1,000 36,100 $4,400 $52,800
Wyoming 20 800 $4,174 $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.

by Kathryn Parkman ConsumerAffairs Research Team