Growth is the defining characteristic of the senior living industry. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), factors contributing to the growth of the industry include:
- The aging of the American population, including the dramatic increase in the number of persons aged 85 and older -- According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of people 85 and older is expected to increase by 33.2 % by 2010.
- The continued increase in the number of older people who live alone -- Women continue to outlive men, and the likelihood that either men or women will live alone increases with age. Societal factors, such as rising divorce rates and the growing numbers of people choosing not to marry, also contribute to this trend.
- Changes in the role of women, who traditionally have been the primary caregivers of older people -- The number of women in the work force grew from 20.5 percent in 1915 to more than 50 percent by 1995.
- The increased net worth of older people -- The number of persons 80 or older with incomes sufficient to afford assisted living has increased.