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REPORT: Nursing Home Population Declined by 20 Percent in 2000s

July 10, 2014

The number of elders living in U.S. nursing homes declined by nearly 20 percent between 2000 and 2010, a report (pdf) by the U.S. Census Bureau shows.

In 2010, 1.25 million people aged 65 and older were living in nursing homes, compared with 1.56 million in 2000 — a decline of 19.6 percent.

The nursing home population decline was consistent throughout the country, the report shows. Every state except Alaska and Hawaii reported fewer nursing home residents in 2010, and 44 states (as well as Washington, DC) saw their nursing home populations decline by 10 percent or more.

Overall, 3.1 percent of elders lived in nursing homes in 2010, compared with 4.6 percent in 2000.

The report’s authors note that the “declining trend may partly reflect a growing preference for alternative settings for long-term care.”

Medicaid funding for long-term care is reflecting that shifting preference, the authors note. They point out that funding for home and community-based services reached 43 percent of total Medicaid funding in 2007, up from just 13 percent in 1990.

The full report, “65+ in the United States: 2010,” was published in June and provides a comprehensive look at the country’s 40.3 million residents aged 65 or older. It includes data on demographics employment, living conditions, marital status, and more.

— by Matthew Ozga

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