News & Press Releases

U.S. Seniors Housing Occupancy Reaches New Low

Senior housing occupancy in the United States reached a record low of 78.8 percent in the first quarter of 2021, falling 1.8 percentage points from the last quarter of 2020 and 8.7 percentage points from a year ago, according to new NIC MAP® data, powered by NIC MAP Vision. This is the sixth consecutive quarter occupancy has declined, and the fourth since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Senior housing residents have largely been vaccinated against COVID-19, which is dramatically reducing case counts and mortality rates, but this has not yet translated into a senior housing occupancy recovery,” said Chuck Harry, NIC’s chief operating officer. “As move-in moratoriums continue to be lifted and operators get more inquiries from prospective residents, leads and property tours, occupancy may increase in the months ahead.”

The first quarter 2021 data show similar record low occupancy levels for assisted living and independent living properties. Assisted living occupancy fell a full two percentage points to 75.5 percent in the first quarter, and independent living occupancy dropped 1.6 percentage points to 81.8 percent. Since March 2020, assisted and independent living occupancy fell by 9.5 and 7.9 percentage points, respectively.

“It’s not surprising that a global pandemic and a specific virus that causes severe illness in older people is keeping senior housing occupancy at historic lows,” said NIC’s chief economist, Beth Burnham Mace. “It also is not surprising that occupancy improvement has not yet become evident since there is a natural lag between the time someone inquires about moving into senior housing and the time that person actually moves into a property. Data from the next two quarters will signal whether consumers have moved beyond the pandemic and are again considering senior housing properties.”

Occupancy rates across metropolitan markets also varied greatly. San Francisco (84.2%), San Jose (83.4%), and Seattle (82.9%) had the highest occupancy rates of the 31 metropolitan markets that encompass NIC MAP’s Primary Markets, while Houston (72.9%), Atlanta (73.5%), and Cleveland (74.2%) recorded the lowest.

A summary of the NIC MAP Data Market Fundamentals, powered by NIC MAP Vision is below. Click here for the complimentary version of the Market Fundamentals report, which will be available at 4:30 pm EDT.

Source: 1Q21 NIC MAP® Data Market Fundamentals, powered by NIC MAP Vision



About NIC MAP Vision

NIC MAP Vision is a leading provider of comprehensive market data for the seniors housing and care sector. NIC MAP Vision brings together two strong, well-respected, and complimentary teams and platforms – the market-leading NIC MAP® Data Service (NIC MAP) and VisionLTC’s best-in-class market research analysis platform. For more information, visit

About the National Investment Center for Senior Housing & Care

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) is a 501(c)3 organization established in 1991 whose mission is to enable access and choice by providing data, analytics, and connections that bring together investors and providers in independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and post-acute care. Through its industry-leading annual conferences and research, analytics and sector outreach, NIC serves as an indispensable resource for the senior housing and care sector. For more information, visit and follow NIC on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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