Insights From the Latest Livability Index

The latest edition of the AARP Livability Index reveals the U.S. regions with more of the kinds of neighborhoods that offer quality of life benefits for residents of all ages.

2 minute read

December 9, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock

Whitney Airgood-Obycki and Jennifer Molinsky share insights from the latest AARP Livability Index, co-authored with the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

"The AARP Livability Index offers a multifaceted approach to understanding what makes communities livable for people of all ages. The index is composed of seven categories: engagement, environment, health, housing, neighborhood, opportunity, and transportation. Each category includes several metrics drawn from publicly available data sources," according to the article's explanation of the Livability Index.

Among the geographic themes to emerge from the study are that the Northeast and the Midwest tend to have the most livable neighborhoods, according to Airgood-Obycki and Molinsky. More specifically: "In the Northeast region, 32 percent of neighborhoods are in the top national quintile, as are 24 percent of those in the Midwest, 20 percent in the West, and just 9 percent in the South."

"On average, block groups in the Northeast also have the highest overall livability score of 53.8, nearly 5 points higher than the average of 49.0 in the South. Northeastern communities score higher than all other regions in three categories: engagement, neighborhood, and transportation."

The article concludes with a call to action: that all neighborhoods can be livable, no matter where they are found. "The great benefit of the Index is that it enables communities to recognize the features they already have and identify areas for improvement."

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 in Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

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