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AARP Livable Communities

The Livability Index

The AARP Public Policy Institute is developing a web-based tool, the Livability Index that will incorporate mapping technology, preference survey results, quantitative measures and public policies to assess the livability of communities. The tool will use nationally available data to measure several essential attributes of livability, engage stakeholders, and draw attention to livability issues specific to the wants and needs of older adults.

What will the Livability Index do?

The Livability Index will help users better understand their communities and make decisions about their future needs.  The index can potentially be used in several ways. Here are a few examples:

  • A county executive wants to know how to meet the housing needs of older adults. She can see how her community performs for each of the housing metrics relative to the national average and learn about policy and programmatic interventions that could address areas of concern. 
  • The director of a non-profit organization wants to show the need for transportation services in the community. He can view data on transit service available to various neighborhoods in the community and connect to resources explaining how transit is typically funded.
  • A community advocate wants to make the streets safer for those who cannot afford to drive and those who can no longer drive. She can view crash statistics and speed limits for streets in the community and link to best practices being adopted in other communities.

What are the Livability Index’s Goal and Objectives?

The Livability Index will be a tool to help inform policy development, new initiatives, and community stakeholder participation with the primary goal of improving the quality of life for community residents. The index will provide context and information to help:

  • Stimulate local changes in policy, planning, and investment
  • Stimulate state level policy, planning, and investment
  • Brief local policy makers on key policies, investments and other community elements that will make communities more livable
  • Inform residents about elements of livable communities, allow them to make informed choices and stimulate their participation in community change

Read more


The AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) is planning a set of livability reports and is developing an AARP-sponsored index to measure community livability across the United States. Lessons learned from that project have initially inspired the creation of two companion reports, “What Is Livable? Community Preferences of Older Adults” and “Is This a Good Place to Live? Measuring Community Quality of Life for All Ages.”

Is This a Good Place to Live? Measuring Community Quality of Life for All Ages

This report explores the meaning of livability, examines previous efforts to evaluate the livability of communities, and describes the PPI’s current work to quantify and compare livability, with a special focus on the preferences of the older population and the needs of people as they age.

What is Livable? Community Preferences of Older Adults

This report explores the meaning of livability and describes lessons learned by PPI as part of its work to measure community livability. The goal of this work is to quantify the degree to which a community has the elements that are necessary to meet individual needs regardless of a person’s age, income, physical ability, ethnicity, and other factors.





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