A rapidly aging population has helped spur recognition of the importance of creating livable and age-friendly neighborhoods, where people of all ages can maintain independence and a high quality of life.
However, a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP Public Policy Institute shows that most older adults in the US do not reside in livable communities—places that score high on the AARP Livability Index—and there are significant differences between who has access to the country’s most livable communities.
According to Which Older Adults Have Access to America’s Most Livable Neighborhoods? An Analysis of AARP’s Livability Index, these differences depend on whether the resident is a homeowner or renter, whether they have a disability, and by race/ethnicity and income.
“Most older adults—including those with long-term care needs—live in the community rather than in institutional settings, and many want to remain in their homes or communities as they age,” said Lisa McCormick. “Americans must reassess how well our communities are meeting the needs of residents at every life stage, particularly the elderly and very young.”
Although many lower-income and other older adults with higher risk of vulnerabilities do reside in communities with high Index scores, these communities nevertheless differ from highly livable places occupied by higher-income, White, and homeowning older adults.