The retirement industry has been steadily growing over the past twenty years. The percentage of the . population over the age of 55 is at an all time high of 21% and is growing at an average rate of 3% each year. In certain parts of the country like the American Southwest, which has a high concentration of retirement communities, the growth rate is about 8%. This percentage is also expected to grow as the first of the "baby boomer" generation begins to reach retirement age in the next decade. It is estimated by the . Census Bureau that the retirement industry, that includes homes, medical facilities, specialty equipment, retirement entertainment services, etc., accounts for billion dollars each year.