Skip to content

Livable Communities: An Evaluation Guide – 2005


The number of drivers age 70 years and older increased by a significant 111 percent from 1980 to 2000. A livable community is one in which the older adult population can remain independent in their homes and maintain a certain quality of life as they age. AARP has created this guide to serve as a tool for determining the livability of a community by offering past research and successful survey techniques intended to gain a better understanding of the needs of older adults in different communities.

Key Points

To understand the characteristics of a livable community, AARP conducted 14 focus groups across the U.S. from 13 different states. All older adults included in the focus groups lived independently and most were actively involved in their communities. These participants were asked to define elements of a livable community pertaining to transportation, walkability, housing, health services, and community activities. The feedback received from these focus groups was used to create useful survey questions intended to understand fully the concerns of older adults regarding the livability of their communities.

How to Use

According to AARP, the purpose of this guide is to “encourage us to take a new look at the community or neighborhood in which we now live.” Part 3 of the guide offers a step-by-step agenda on how to conduct a community survey with the help of local volunteers, sample questions for community surveys, and “get ready checklists” that can be utilized to help local officials and community leaders identify issues of concern. Local officials can use this guide as a resource to create a survey intended to gain a better understanding of current livability features in their communities and the expectations of their older adult population.

View full report: Livable Communities: An Evaluation Guide – 2005 (PDF – 4.1 MB)

Stay Informed — For Free!

The weekly, award-winning AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter provides local leaders with information and inspiration for making their town, city or neighborhood more livable for older adults and people of all ages. Subscribe today!

AARP Livable Communities Newsletter