The new 2019 Elder Index is an important, free resource available to anyone online. It provides information about elder cost of living across the United States. Here are the answers to some questions you may have.

Q: What’s new about the Elder Index?

A: The 2019 Elder Index is fully updated with new data on the realistic cost of living for older adults. It’s the Index’s first big information update since 2016. The index also has a redesigned, easy-to-use website and a new location online, at

Q: What’s special about the information the index can provide?

A: The Elder Index provides economic information that is both broad and deep. The Congressional Budget Office cites the Elder Index as one of the most commonly used measures of retirement adequacy, noting that it is the only adequacy measure oriented specifically to older people and takes into account the unique demands of housing and medical care on older budgets.

Q: What’s so broad and deep about the index information?

A: The index can provide cost of living information for older adults living in every county and state in the U.S. It can provide expense information differentiating between elders living alone or as a couple, based on their renting or home ownership status and based on their health status. The index will break down the cost of living for each query into a series of expense categories.

Q: What are you actually measuring? How do you determine what an older adult really needs to buy?

A: The Elder Index is based on a no-frills budget that covers needs such as  housing, food, health care, transportation and basic household items including clothing, a telephone, hygiene items and cleaning supplies. It does not include any budget for vacations, restaurant meals, savings, large purchases, gifts or entertainment of any kind.

Q: What if I want to be able to compare one location’s elder cost of living with expenses in other places?

A: No problem. The Elder Index website will allow you to compare a selected county or state with up to three others. More comparisons of elder cost of living information are available, but you will need to contact the Gerontology Institute.

Q: Who is this kind of information intended to serve?

A: Pretty much anyone. The Elder Index can help individuals approaching retirement understand the basic costs of living they will face. Realistic elder expense information also can be a useful resource for advocates, policymakers and lawmakers on local, state and national levels.