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Aging Population Linked to Increased Need for Select Health Care and Social Assistance Services

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The nation’s 73 million baby boomer population is aging, helping boost revenues of select industries designed to help them navigate their later years.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that in 2050, the U.S. population ages 65 and over will be 83.9 million, nearly double what it was (43.1 million) in 2012. Baby boomers, who began turning 65 in 2011, are largely responsible for the nation’s swelling older population.  

Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly saw a 34.4% increase in revenue from 2013 to 2020. Home Health Care Services experienced an even larger increase – 50.5% – during the same period.

The Service Annual Survey (SAS) provides data across select service industries that serve the nation’s elderly – and experienced an increase in revenues from 2013 to 2020.

Five key health care industries:

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities. This industry is made up of establishments that provide a range of residential and personal care services with on-site nursing care facilities for the elderly and others who are unable to fully care for themselves and/or do not want to live independently. Individuals live in a variety of residential settings that offer meals, housekeeping, social, leisure, and other services. Assisted living facilities with on-site nursing care are also included.
  • Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly. Made up of establishments that provide residential and personal care services without on-site nursing care, this industry primarily offers services for the elderly or other people who can’t fully care for themselves or don’t want to live independently. The care typically includes room, board, supervision, and assistance in daily living, such as housekeeping services.
  • Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities. These establishments provide nonresidential social assistance services to improve the quality of life for the elderly, people diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and people with physical disabilities. They include day care, nonmedical home care or homemaker services, social activities, group support, and companionship.
  • Home Health Care Services. These establishments primarily provide skilled nursing services in the home, along with a range of the following: personal care services; homemaker and companion services; physical therapy, medical social services; medications; medical equipment and supplies; counseling; 24-hour home care; occupation and vocational therapy; dietary and nutritional services; speech therapy; audiology; and high-tech care, such as intravenous therapy.
  • Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities). These establishments provide inpatient nursing and rehabilitative services, usually for an extended period. They have a permanent core staff of registered or licensed practical nurses who, along with other staff, provide nursing and continuous personal care services.

How Revenues Have Risen

The 2020 SAS shows estimated revenues for employer firms across this series of select Health Care and Social Assistance services for seniors rose from 2013 to 2020.

For example, Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly saw a 34.4% increase in revenue from 2013 to 2020. Home Health Care Services experienced an even larger increase – 50.5% – during the same period (Table 1). 

Measuring Growth of Select Health Care Services

Revenue growth for employer firms in each industry:

  • Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities had an estimated revenue of $57.4 billion in 2020, up 62.1% from $35.4 billion in 2013.
  • The Home Health Care Services industry also showed notable growth. Estimated revenue was $102.7 billion in 2020, up 50.5% from $68.3 billion in 2013.
  • Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) had the largest revenues of the five industries but the slowest revenue growth: $130.1 billion in 2020, up 17.4% from $110.8 billion in 2013.

The growth in revenue across these selected industries may offer insight into the care choices the nation’s seniors and their families are making.

Adam Grundy is a supervisory statistician in the Census Bureau’s Economic Management Division.

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