Older people face a care home postcode lottery after 10,000 beds were lost in the past five years.
Half of local authorities – those hit hardest by funding cuts – have fewer beds now than in 2014.
The 9,772 fall comes even though nationally the figure rose from 401,322 to 407,058 in the same period.
The findings are said to show older people are at the mercy of a “postcode lottery” in the worst hit areas.
Adult care expert Steve Wilkie said: “If this trend isn’t reversed it’s going to get even tougher to access care in certain areas in the coming years.
“For some it will mean lack of availability and subsequently higher costs force them to delay accessing the right care at the right time.
“Others may feel they are better off financially paying for assistance at home. In fact, what we are seeing is a postcode lottery unfold.”
Care Quality Commission data showed 75 local authority areas have struggled to keep up with provision since 2014.
Sunderland has seen the greatest decline in bed numbers outside of London, losing 15.3 per cent of them in the past five years.
Bracknell Forest in Berkshire and Hartlepool, County Durham have seen similar falls, at 15.1 per cent and 14.3 per cent respectively.
Of 150 local authorities in England, only 74 have more care home beds than they did in 2014.
Two — Hammersmith and Fulham and Newham — have stayed the same.
The UK population is ageing with 18.2 per cent of the population aged 65 or over in 2017, compared with 15.9 per cent per cent in 2007.
Experts predict 20.7 per cent in 2027 and 25 per cent in 2069.
The number of care homes in England fell from 11,113 in 2014 to 10,878 in 2019.
The decline affected 86 of the 150 authority areas, according to the figures.
Mr Wilkie, MD of Responsible Life, added: “The danger is some retirees will inevitably choose to remain in homes that do not meet their requirements.
“It is imperative that people consider all their options and make informed choices well in advance. The
number of beds country-wide has actually gone up.
“So we know a drop in the number of beds in half of authorities is not part of a wider change in how people want to access care in later life.”