America’s demographic future is showing up first in rural areas, where older residents form a greater proportion of the population than in urban or suburban areas.
One-quarter of all Americans age 65 or older live in small towns and rural communities. That percentage is growing, since the rural population is aging at a faster rate than the nation’s population as a whole.
According to an AARP survey (see the link, below), adults in rural areas are more likely than those in cities and suburbs to say they want to reside in their community and/or current home for as long as possible.
In June 2019, AARP convened its first-ever national gathering about rural livability — as it relates to people of all ages and, especially, to older adults. Held in Portland, Maine, the event was attended by AARP staff, volunteers, community partners and livability practitioners representing a range of specialties and locations.
This report is based on presentations and conversations from that event, as well as related meetings, media sources and AARP’s work in communities throughout the nation.
While the AARP Rural Livability Workshop Report is by no means an exhaustive examination of the many issues that impact rural communities, the data, observations and examples contained within these pages can serve to inform community influencers — local, state and national officials; policymakers; service providers; advocacy organizations; citizen activists; and others — about the needs, benefits, challenges and solutions found in rural places.
More from the AARP Rural Livability Workshop Report
- What is a Rural Community?
- What is a Frontier Community?
- Many Rural Communities Still Can't Connect to the Internet
- Rural Communities Are Making Their Own Connections
- Rural Libraries (and Parking Lots) Are Hot Spots
- 2019 AARP Rural Livability Workshop
- AARP Home and Community Preferences Survey: A Look at Rural Livability
Additional articles and a link to this page can be found at AARP.org/RuralLivability.
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Page published March 2020 | Updated October 2020
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