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Cheapest and Most Expensive States for Assisted Living: 2017 Update

Assisted living costs, like any rental expense in America, vary widely from state to state. Likewise, costs keep going up. Those facts are confirmed in the 2017 Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey. The survey every year reports on average national and state costs for long-term care, including assisted living.

The findings: The national median average for an assisted living facility in 2017 was $45,000 a year. But assisted living costs can be more than 50% higher in some states – and be nearly a third lower in others. So if you anticipate needing assisted living at some point in your retirement years, you might want to shop around for your retirement state.

Woman and aide with walker, to illustrate article on assisted living costs.

The reality is that more than 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lives, according to estimates. Single seniors, without partners to rely on, and younger adults who are arranging care for parents tend to be particularly hard-hit financially.

So which states will set you back the most on assisted living costs, and which are relative bargains?

The Most Expensive States for Assisted Living

These are the five most expensive states for the median annual cost of a private, one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community, according to Genworth:

Delaware – $72,180

Alaska  – $72,000

New Jersey  – $69,732

Massachusetts  –  $67,188

Rhode Island  – $61,860

As you can see, the cost of assisted living in Delaware is 60% higher than the national median average. While most of these states are in the Northeast, Alaska is an outlier. The Frontier State also has high costs for other forms of senior care, such as nursing homes. (Note: Washington, D.C., was the most expensive “state” in Genworth’s 2016 study. Genworth reported District of Columbia numbers as not available this year.) 

The Cheapest States for Assisted Living

On the other hand, assisted living costs in the Midwest and Southeast tend to be considerably lower than the national average. Again, these are the median annual costs of a private, one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community:

Missouri – $32,400

Georgia  –  $33,600

South Carolina  – $34,380

Arkansas  – $36,156

North Dakota  – $36,216

Assisted living in Missouri costs nearly $40,000 less than in Delaware, and $12,600 less than the national median. That amounts to serious savings over the course of retirement years in which you or your loved ones need care.

Consider Increasing Assisted Living Costs, Too

When planning for assisted living expenses, take the long view. Assisted living costs have had a five-year annual growth rate of 3%. Average annual costs nationally rose 3.36% from 2016 to 2017, Genworth reports.

While it can be difficult to forecast an entire financial plan for senior care, retirees should take special note of location and inflation. It could even be a good idea to consult a professional adviser who makes sure your plan fits your retirement budget.

Contract for assisted living, to illustrate assisted living costs.

Assisted Living Costs in All 50 States

Here’s a state-by-state look at 2017 assisted living costs, as reported by Genworth. These numbers are the median costs of a private, one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility in each state and nationally.

State Monthly Cost Annual Cost
USA – National $3,750 $45,000
Alabama $3,057 $36,684
Alaska $6,000 $72,000
Arizona $3,500 $42,000
Arkansas $3,013 $36,156
California $4,275 $51,300
Colorado $3,850 $46,200
Connecticut $4,600 $55,200
Delaware $6,015 $72,180
Florida $3,100 $37,200
Georgia $2,800 $33,600
Hawaii $4,250 $51,000
Idaho $3,150 $37,800
Illinois $3,720 $44,640
Indiana $4,025 $48,300
Iowa $3,736 $44,832
Kansas $4,250 $51,000
Kentucky $3,445 $41,340
Louisiana $3,293 $39,516
Maine $4,890 $58,680
Maryland $4,150 $49,800
Massachusetts $5,599 $67,188
Michigan $3,500 $42,000
Minnesota $3,585 $43,020
Mississippi $3,332 $39,984
Missouri $2,700 $32,400
Montana $3,650 $43,800
Nebraska $3,785 $45,420
Nevada $3,400 $40,800
New Hampshire $4,855 $58,260
New Jersey $5,811 $69,732
New Mexico $4,000 $48,000
New York $3,988 $47,856
North Carolina $3,250 $39,000
North Dakota $3,018 $36,216
Ohio $4,178 $50,136
Oklahoma $3,033 $36,396
Oregon $4,070 $48,840
Pennsylvania $3,450 $41,400
Rhode Island $5,155 $61,860
South Carolina $2,865 $34,380
South Dakota $3,570 $42,840
Tennessee $3,595 $43,140
Texas $3,500 $42,000
Utah $3,150 $37,800
Vermont $4,127 $49,524
Virginia $4,508 $54,096
Washington $4,660 $55,920
West Virginia $3,750 $45,000
Wisconsin $4,000 $48,000
Wyoming $3,415 $40,980

Source: Genworth Cost of Care Survey

More Numbers: What Care Costs Study

Feb. 17, 2017:
Lincoln Financial Group’s annual What Care Costs study also weighed in on the most expensive and least expensive states for assisted living. The data is based on responses from about 12,500 assisted living facilities.

The average rates below are monthly. For a one-bedroom apartment in assisted living, the most expensive states were:

  • New Jersey – $6,587
  • Massachusetts – $6,323
  • Connecticut – $6,091
  • Maryland – $6,005
  • Maine – $5,928

 

The cheapest states were:

  • Arkansas – $3,653
  • Alabama – $3,536
  • Louisiana – $3,455
  • Mississippi – $3,327
  • North Dakota – $3,102

 

The national average in Lincoln’s survey was $4,560 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in assisted living.

Note that Lincoln’s national average is higher than the national figure of $3,750 a month found by Genworth Financial in the survey discussed above. That may be because Lincoln cites the mean average while Genworth uses the median. (Here’s a math refresher on those different types of averages.) Also, assisted living prices can vary based on the level of care a resident needs. So while these average prices provide guidance, an individual assisted living facility can give you a firmer and more detailed figure for your situation.

See the full What Care Costs survey here. Enter the sponsor code “Lincoln” in the upper right to log in and see all the data.

Learn more about assisted living in After55.com’s Assisted Living Guide.

Long-Term Care Costs for Home Aides, Adult Day Care, Nursing Homes

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    Comments

    1. Allen Bryant says:

      Looking for independent living in a villa, cottage, patio Home, garden home, duplex or similar in central Florida,South Carolina or Eastern/southern Georgia. Prefer the property to be associated with more advanced care as time progresses.so that a secondary search and move are not necessary. Can you Help?
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      Allen B.

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