Joint Center for Housing Studies Analyzes Which Older Adults Have Access to Livable Neighborhoods

Nov 4, 2020

According to a new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and the AARP Public Policy Institute, which examines the AARP Livability Index, there are significant differences between who has access to the country’s most livable communities.

In the United States, these differences occur in part because communities developed without fully considering how residents’ needs and circumstances can change over time. Most older adults, including those with long-term care needs, live in the community rather than in institutional settings, and most want to “age in place”—that is, remain in their homes or communities as they age. Thus, local officials and stakeholders must assess how well their communities are meeting the needs of community members at every life stage.

The report, available here, describes several key findings, including:

  1. Most older adults do not reside in livable communities.
  2. Livable communities are not necessarily livable for the same reasons.
  3. Older adults’ access to livable communities is not evenly distributed.
  4. There is a relationship between different types of livable neighborhoods and
    income, race/ethnicity characteristics, and homeownership status.