AARP revives senior livability index scoring large and small cities

The senior-focused advocacy group tackles the ability for seniors to live in communities of all sizes in an era of higher living costs

AARP’s Public Policy Institute announced this week that it has updated its “Livability Index,” a tool providing scores for every neighborhood and community in the United States based on available services and amenities most relevant to the aging population.

Originally launched in 2015, the Index scores livability by using more than 50 national data sources to measure 61 community characteristics across seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity.

Among the big cities measured, these are the “most livable” for seniors according to the revised index:

  1. San Francisco, Calif.
  2. New York, N.Y.
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Boston, Mass.
  5. Portland, Ore.
  6. Philadelphia, Penn.
  7. Denver, Colo.
  8. Seattle, Wash.
  9. San Jose, Calif.
  10. Milwaukee, Wis.

“[The index] aims to inform and encourage residents, local advocates, researchers and policymakers to take action to make their communities great places to live for people of all ages,” AARP said in a statement. “Users can search the index by address, ZIP code, or community to find an overall or categorical score, identify challenges in their community and compare their neighborhood to others across performance benchmarks.”

As aging in place becomes a higher priority for seniors with each passing year, a tool like this can help seniors determine the communities which will enable that goal even further. This is according to Rodney Harrell, VP of family, home and community at AARP.

“The majority of older adults want to stay in their current homes and communities as they age, which requires walkable neighborhoods, public transportation options, opportunities to engage in community activities, and affordable and adaptable housing,” said Harrell. “The AARP Livability Index provides the clearest picture yet of how well a community meets needs across one’s lifespan, regardless of income, physical ability or ethnicity.”

The 2022 AARP Livability Index includes accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and actively highlights states that have enacted laws to support and promote ADUs (more generally known as in-law suites or guest houses).

“As housing costs rise and home options remain limited, ADUs are a viable and affordable housing solution for people of all ages,” AARP says in its announcement of the index. “However, only nine states and the District of Columbia have passed statewide ADU legislation.”

Visit the updated Livability Index at its dedicated website.

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