America's Health Rankings, United Health Foundation Logo

Geriatrician Shortfall*, 2018 Senior Report
  • American Geriatrics Society, 2016

Health Care Associated Infection (HAI) Policies*, 2018 Senior Report
  • CDC, National and State Healthcare Associated Infections Progress Report, 2014

Low-Care Nursing Home Residents*, 2018 Senior Report
Measure: Low-care Nursing Home Residents, 2018 Senior Report

Why does this matter?

There were approximately 1.3 million people residing in nursing homes in the United States in 2020. Nursing homes provide housing and care for those unable to take care of themselves. However, some nursing home residents are considered low-care, meaning they require no physical assistance in bed mobility, transferring, toileting or eating. 

Low-care nursing home residents may be able to live in a less restrictive environment where they can receive less intensive care through home- or community-based services, or in alternative settings such as assisted living facilities. In a 2018 AARP survey, 77% of adults ages 65 and older said they wanted to live in their current residence for as long as possible. Aging in place has been shown to have physical, social and emotional benefits resulting in better health outcomes than nursing home residents.

Not only are nursing homes restrictive for people who do not need them, but they are also expensive compared with other care options. The cost of a private room in a U.S. nursing home averages $253 per day, or $7,698 per month.

  • Brown University, Shaping Long-Term Care in America Project, 2015

Prescription Drug Coverage*, 2018 Senior Report
  • The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts, 2014

SNAP Reach, 2018 Senior Report
Measure: SNAP Reach - Ages 60+, 2018 Senior Report

Why does this matter?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the country’s most extensive federal nutrition program, helping millions of low-income Americans access food and improve their economic security and health outcomes. Older adults received an average of $104 in SNAP benefits per month in 2019 to buy food. Despite SNAP and other nutritional aid programs, food insecurity remains a problem in the United States. An estimated 5.2 million older adults were food insecure in 2019, and this number is expected to increase to more than 8 million by 2050.

To be eligible for SNAP, households must meet certain income and resource limits. Eligibility criteria and monthly SNAP benefits vary by state

Not everyone eligible for SNAP enrolls in it. Barriers to enrollment include lack of knowledge about the program and how it works, cultural beliefs, difficulty completing an application and stigma associated with receiving social services.

A research study found that a $1 billion increase in SNAP could increase the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by $1.54 billion. SNAP may also reduce medical costs caused by food insecurity, which are approximately $687 million annually per state.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households, 2016

*The data appearing in this edition are the same that appeared in the 2017 edition. A data update was not available at the time of this publication.

Please tell us a little more about you

We appreciate you taking the time to help America’s Health Rankings better understand our audiences. Your feedback will allow us to optimize our website and provide you with additional resources in the future. Thank you.

Please select one option which best describes your profession or field of expertise

Journalist or media professional
Health Policy Professional
Public health professional (state, local, or community level)
Health care provider or administrator
Member of an advocacy group or trade organization
Academic, student, or researcher
Government administrator, legislator, or staffer
Concerned citizen
Don't show me this again
Please take a quick survey.