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The Path to Livability: A Resident Survey of Jacksonville, Florida

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Age-Friendly Cities and Communities project was created to help cities prepare for the rapid aging of populations and the increase in urbanization. The program targets the environmental, social, and economic factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults. The WHO has identified eight areas of livability that influence the quality of life of those in a community, particularly older adults. The eight domains, or areas of livability, are:  Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Civic Participation and Employment, Communication and Information, and Community and Health Services.

AARP Research developed a survey instrument that captures the WHO eight areas of livability in order to: (1) help communities establish a baseline with regard to older adults being able to age in place, and (2) conduct a community needs/gap analysis to identify and prioritize areas of focus. To minimize the survey length as well as respondent burden the survey encapsulates the WHO eight areas of livability in a slightly different structure. According to the AARP survey and for the purposes of this report, the eight areas are:

1. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings

2. Transportation and Streets

3. Housing

4. Social Participation, Inclusion, and Education Opportunities

5. Volunteering and Civic Engagement

6. Job Opportunities

7. Community Information

8. Health and Wellness

Key findings include:

  • More than half (59%) of Jacksonville residents age 50-plus have lived in their community for over 15 years and most say their community is a good place to age in place.

  • More than eight in ten (82%) say their community is an excellent, very good or good place for older people to live.

  • Most Jacksonville residents age 50-plus own their own homes, and another majority live in a single family home.

The present report is based on data from a mail survey of 3,000 AARP members age 50-plus living in Jacksonville, Florida. The sample was purchased from SSI, Inc. Each sampled resident was contacted four times receiving the following pieces of mail: pre-notification postcard, the first survey, a reminder postcard, and a second survey. The survey was fielded from June 17th through July 27th. A total of 216 surveys were returned as undeliverable.

A total of 369 useable surveys were returned by the cut-off date, for a response rate of 12 percent. This means that if 95 out of 100 samples of this same size and population were given the same survey, the responses to the questions would fall within a range of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points of what would have been obtained if every Jacksonville resident age 50-plus in the sampled area were asked the same questions. The sample was weighted by age and gender to reflect the actual distribution of Jacksonville residents age 50-plus. The weighted survey included 369 respondents.

An annotated questionnaire for the entire sample is contained in the appendix of this report. Percentages may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.  Also due to rounding, the percentages reported in the text may vary slightly from those in the annotation or in graphs. For more information contact Aisha Bonner Cozad at ABonner@aarp.org.

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