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How Much Does Independent Living Cost? A State-by-State Guide

Written by Grace Styron
 about the author
7 minute readLast updated May 23, 2023
Reviewed by Saul ChapnickAssisted Living Executive Saul Chapnick has extensive experience revitalizing distressed facilities and ensuring new ones start strong.

Independent living may be defined by freedom, comfort, and maintenance-free living, but that all comes at a cost. Community prices vary from state to state and community to community, so it’s important to know what to look out for. Help your loved one make the best choice by learning what independent living costs to expect, what factors can affect those costs, what pricing models may be the most cost-effective, and what cost-related questions to ask during a community tour.

Key Takeaways

  1. Independent living usually involves apartment-style communities for healthy older adults. These communities provide services like meals and housekeeping, plus a range of amenities, activities, and events.
  2. The average monthly cost of independent living in 2022 was $3,170. The actual monthly price will depend on the community’s location, floor plan options, services, and amenities.
  3. A community’s pricing model will affect your loved one’s total monthly cost. Typically, there’s one monthly cost that’s all-inclusive, or extra fees for certain services are added to a base rent price.
  4. Prepare a thorough list of questions before scheduling tours. Asking specific questions will help ensure a community is suitable for your parent and within their budget.

What’s independent living?

Senior independent living refers to apartment-style complexes designed for healthy older adults who want to pursue an active, maintenance-free lifestyle. Unlike in other types of senior living, such as assisted living or nursing homes, adults in independent living are mentally and physically capable of living on their own without supervision.
Because independent living communities are designed for healthy adults around the age of 55 or older, they don’t provide on-site personal care or medical care. The services they do offer are intended to provide residents with a sense of comfort and simplicity. Typical independent living services include household chores like maintenance and laundry. Most also offer dining, transportation, concierge services, a variety of social events, on- and off-site activities, and resort-style amenities.

What’s the average cost of independent senior living?

Pricing can vary quite a bit, but to give you a general sense of what to expect to pay, the national monthly average cost of independent living in 2022 was $3,170. That’s about $1,700 less than the average cost of assisted living, which was $4,951 in 2022.[01] Understanding what different communities cost is crucial to finding the community that best suits your loved one’s needs, particularly because senior living costs tend to rise as the care level increases.

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What are independent living costs by state?

Independent living costs vary from state to state, ranging from as low as $2,430 per month in Kansas to $5,140 per month in Hawaii.[01] Costs are typically higher where the general cost of living is higher, and vice versa. The following chart breaks down the median monthly cost of independent living by state.
State*Median monthly cost
New Hampshire$3,835
New Jersey$3,050
New Mexico$2,745
New York$3,135
North Carolina$3,197
North Dakota$2,820
Rhode Island$3,900
South Carolina$2,897
South Dakota$3,415
Washington DC$5,565
West Virginia$3,311
*Cost data for Alaska is not available.

What are typical pricing models for independent living?

A pricing model is the method a community uses to determine how to package their services for their residents. Most independent living communities use either of the two following pricing models:
  • All-inclusive. Many independent living communities are all-inclusive, meaning a senior pays one base cost that includes everything the community provides, from housing and utilities to meal services, housekeeping, and a range of amenities.
  • A la carte. Also called “fee-for-service,” an a la carte pricing model means a senior pays a base cost for housing and utilities and can opt to pay additional fees for certain services and amenities.

What factors can affect independent senior living costs?

While there are many factors to consider when deciding where your loved one lives, what matters most is that they’re happy in their new home. Actual costs can vary greatly from community to community, so consider the following factors when determining a budget for your loved one’s independent living venture:
  • Location. As you can see in the chart above, the state your loved one lives in will play a major role in the cost of independent living. What also makes a difference is whether they choose a community located in an urban, suburban, or rural area. A city-based community may be pricier because of the greater population and proximity to restaurants, shops, and entertainment. On the other hand, a community in a rural area would likely be less expensive, but it may not have all the amenities your loved one is hoping for.

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  • Services and amenities. Communities with an a la carte pricing model offer a scope of appealing services or amenities but for an additional cost. For example, maybe a community’s base cost includes two meals per day, but your loved one can choose to add on additional meals or snacks for a fee. Depending on what your loved one wants and is willing to pay for, those extra fees can increase their monthly bill.
  • Floor plan. As with any apartment-style complex, the floor plan your loved one chooses will play a part in determining the monthly cost. Generally, larger floor plans cost more than smaller ones. Make sure they’ll have plenty of space to feel comfortable and at home, but also ensure they understand the price differences if there are multiple floor plan options. If your loved one’s desired floor plan has enough room, you might even suggest the idea of living with a friend or roommate to split the cost.

What questions should you ask to understand a community’s pricing?

Knowing what to ask the tour guide or community representative can mean the difference between finding a home that’s just okay and finding one that really suits your loved one’s preferences.
Show up to the next community tour prepared with the following list of cost-related questions:
  • What’s this community’s monthly base price?
  • Does the base price increase annually?
  • Does pricing vary by floor plan?
  • What services and amenities are provided?
  • Is this community all-inclusive?
  • If it’s not all-inclusive, what’s included in the base cost? Are there a-la-carte options that can be added on?
  • Are there move-in fees? If so, how much are they and when are they due?
  • Does this community allow pets? If so, are there any associated fees?
  • Are there any other additional costs or fees to be aware of?
  • What happens if my loved one’s care needs increase and they have to move to a community with a greater level of care?
  • What are the community’s move-out policies?

How do I know if independent living is the right option for my loved one?

If your loved one is in overall good health, roughly age 55 or older, and would thrive in a lively, social atmosphere, independent living could be a great option for them. However, just as costs vary by location, so do communities’ amenities and services.
You want your loved one to find a community that can match their preferences and lifestyle, and a Senior Care Advisor can help. By reaching out today, you can receive one-on-one guidance plus recommendations for communities local to you — all at no cost to you or your family.


  1. A Place for Mom. (2023). A Place for Mom Proprietary Senior Living Price Index.

Meet the Author
Grace Styron

Grace Styron is a writer at OurParents specializing in assistive technology, memory care, and home care. Before writing about healthy aging, she worked for an online women’s lifestyle magazine and as a grant writer for a nonprofit regenerative permaculture farm in Virginia. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University.

Edited byKristin Carroll
Reviewed bySaul Chapnick

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