Report: Assisted living costs rise 6% nationwide

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The cost of assisted living in the U.S. rose 6% in 2004 to an average of $2,524 a month, or $30,288 per year, according to the latest MetLife Market Survey of Assisted Living Costs. Last year's costs were $2,379 per month, or $28,548 per year.

Assisted living in Stamford, CT, had the highest average monthly base cost at $4,327, while the lowest cost was Miami at $1,340.

The survey, conducted for the MetLIfe Mature Market, polled providers in 50 major markets, with 10 providers per market.

The Assisted Living Federation of America said MetLife's figures were overblown. ALFA suggests that providers use the MetLife survey numbers to show how their own facilities compare when fielding calls from prospective residents or the press.