AARP Finds Burlington and Chittenden County in America’s Top-Scoring Livable Cities, Counties, and Towns in 2023

Posted on 10/31/23 by Laura McDonough

AARP’s Public Policy Institute announced the 100 top-scoring livable communities across the U.S., as part of the AARP Livability Index™ Top 100. However, the data shows that most of the highest scoring communities lack affordable housing and accessibility options, underscoring the need for local leaders to implement policies that address rising housing costs, insufficient supply of housing options, and growing income inequality.

The AARP Livability IndexTM platform is the most comprehensive, web-based tool of its kind that scores every neighborhood and community in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the services and amenities that affect people’s lives the most as they age. For the first time, the Index features 100 locations, including towns, villages, and counties, to be more inclusive of communities outside of cities where people live across the nation.

The 10 top-scoring communities by population size, in ranking order, include:

  • Very large communities (population 500,000+): San Francisco, CA, Ramsey County, MN, Dane County, WI, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Hennepin County, MN, Boston, MA, Multnomah County, OR, Salt Lake County, UT, Montgomery County, MD
  • Large communities (population 100,000-499,999): Madison, WI, Cambridge, MA, St. Paul, MN, Salt Lake City, UT, Arlington County, VA, Rochester, MN, Minneapolis, MN, Chittenden County, VT, Olmstead County, MN, Berkeley, CA
  • Mid-size communities (population 25,000-99,999): Portland, ME, Burlington, VT, South Portland, ME, La Crosse, WI, Belmont, MA, Somerville, MA, St. Louis Park, MN, Millcreek, UT, Roseville, MN, Bozeman, MT
  • Small towns (population 5,000 to 24,999): Aspen, CO, Great Neck Plaza, NY, Orange City, IA, La Crescent, MN, Salida, CO, Pierre, SD, Pitkin County, CO, Falls Church, VA, Jackson, WY, Falcon Heights, MN

“Older adults overwhelmingly want to stay in their current homes and communities as they age, but most of society isn’t prepared to address the needs of a rapidly aging population,” said Rodney Harrell, PhD, AARP Vice President of Family, Home, and Community. “The AARP Livability Index shows that all communities have room to improve to ensure that residents of all ages are active, engaged, and supported, particularly when it comes to affordable housing options. Everyone has a role to play – from community members to researchers, to local advocates and policymakers – to help fill the gaps between what people want and need and what their communities provide, so more older adults can live independently.”

Launched in 2015, the AARP Livability Index platform scores livability by using more than 50 national data sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau American Communities Survey, across seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. The tool measures every city, county, and town against 61 indicators of livability, ranging from monthly housing costs to environmental pollution, opportunities for social connections to the presence of age-friendly community plans. It aims to inform and encourage residents, local advocates, researchers, and policymakers to take action to make their communities great places to live for people of all ages.

Users can search the website by address, ZIP code, or community to find an overall or category score, identify challenges in their community and compare their neighborhood to others across performance benchmarks. New search tools include the “Community Finder Quiz” and the “Explore All Communities” feature, which match users to communities according to their preferred location characteristics that meet their unique needs. The updated Index also includes climate data for every community, so users can pinpoint desired locations based on their weather preferences.

The AARP Livability Index is a trusted resource among organizations to promote livability and support location decision making in communities nationwide. Through a collaboration with AARP, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is helping homebuyers make informed housing decisions that best support their needs by integrating the AARP Livability Index data with NAR’s data platform, the Realtors Property Resource®

Today, AARP and the National Housing Conference (NHC) are co-hosting a hybrid forum, “Building Livable Communities for All Generations,” to unveil the Index and discuss the importance of creating communities that are safe, accessible, and inclusive for all ages, incomes, and backgrounds.

To view the AARP Livability Index or see your community’s score, visit www.aarp.org/livabilityindex

This story is provided by AARP Vermont. Visit the AARP Vermont page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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