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Burlington Residents Provide Insights for Livability Improvement

AARP commissioned a mail survey of Burlington, Vermont residents age 18-plus between December 5, 2022 and January 20, 2023. The survey was intended to gather insights about the livability of Burlington through residents' opinions about and experiences with living in the city. Primarily, the questions focused on issues of housing, transportation, and community design.

spinner image Burlington, Vermont: Aerial View



  • There is widespread concern among residents about the number of people who are homeless, the high cost of living, and the challenge to find housing should they need a larger house or if they choose to downsize.
  • While some residents have considered leaving their neighborhood, fewer than 10% actually want to leave. High cost of housing and crime are the biggest factors contributing to a consideration to leave, especially among those living Downtown.
  • Residents show strong support for zoning changes that would allow smaller housing types for moderate- to low-income residents to be built in single-unit neighborhoods.
  • A sizable number of residents would consider home sharing if it would enable them to continue living in their current homes.


  • Burlington streets are generally viewed as being safe for most pedestrians and public transportation users, but residents are most concerned about street safety for people with disabilities.
  • Perceptions about how easy it would be to get around Burlington, if unable to drive, vary considerably depending on the neighborhood in which residents live, with those in the New North End most often reporting it would be difficult.
  • Ninety percent of residents are drivers, but many would be more apt to walk if sidewalk and lighting improvements were made and more benches installed for people to rest. Residents say they would also be more likely to bike in Burlington if bike lanes were available, and more would ride the bus if there were more convenient routes and schedules available.

Community Design

  • Most residents feel parks and public spaces in Burlington are easily accessible and that quality programming is available in the community. However, there is less agreement about quality programming for older adults being available, and the vast majority feel there are not adequate or easily located public bathrooms available in the city.

Suggested Citation:

Bridges, Kate. Burlington, VT Livability Survey: Residents' Opinions and ExperiencesWashington, DC: AARP Research, June 2023.