American society is aging and Burlington, Vermont is no exception. In 2003, around 13 percent of residents were 65 and older. In 2015, the 65+ population is expected to reach 15 percent of the state’s population, and by 2025, 20 percent. With the idea of livable communities in mind, AARP Vermont commissioned Woelfel Research, Inc. to conduct a survey as part of the Burlington Livable Communities Project, “a collaborative approach to planning the demands an aging population will place on Burlington as a city, its residents and its resources.”
AARP Vermont conducted this survey to understand the needs of the 45+ population in Burlington, Vermont. A total of 800 residents were interviewed on their experiences and opinions regarding housing, transportation and mobility, and community engagement. Results indicated that a majority of respondents believe that Burlington is a great place to live and hope to age in place for as long as possible.
Other report highlights include:
- Top concerns that will challenge their ability to stay where they are include property taxes, rent, and utilities, as well as factors that could limit their independence.
- Seventy-six percent of respondents consider driving their primary mode of transportation, but residents 75+ are slightly less likely to drive than younger residents. Almost half of respondents feel the bus is a convenient option but say the lack of weekend/evening services and inadequate shelter/waiting space are problems.
- Despite the large percentage of respondents who rely on driving as their primary source of transportation, few think that it would be difficult to remain in their current community if they could not drive.
- Overall, respondents feel that community engagement activities are important, including education opportunities, waterfront activities, and volunteer opportunities.
How to Use
While Burlington is considered a great place to live by its aging population, the goal of this study is to identify the challenges and changes that need to be made to accommodate this growing population. Local government officials can use the survey findings to provide insights into the needs, preferences, and expectations of Burlington residents as they try to age in place for as long as possible. Additionally, local planners can use this information as recommendations for how they can ensure that the community remains a great place for the older population to age in place.