Two NJ towns top AARP’s livability list

Matthew Fazelpoor | NJBIZ

Elizabeth and Bergenfield cracked the list of top-scoring cities on the AARP’s Livability Index, a tool that scores every neighborhood and community in the United States for the services and amenities that affect people’s lives the most as they age.

The Index, which launched in 2015, uses more than 50 national data sources to measure 61 community characteristics across seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity.

Elizabeth ranked seventh on the “mid-size cities” list with a score of 64, while Bergenfield was sixth on the “small cities” section with a score of 65.

“The majority of older adults want to stay in their current homes and communities as they age, which requires walkable neighborhoods, public transportation options, opportunities to engage in community activities, and affordable and adaptable housing,” said Rodney Harrell, AARP vice president of family, home and community. “The AARP Livability Index provides the clearest picture yet of how well a community meets needs across one’s lifespan, regardless of income, physical ability, or ethnicity.”

The Index also offers a feature for users to search by address, ZIP code, or community to find a score, identify challenges in their community, and compare their neighborhood to others across performance benchmarks.

While many of these top-scoring communities typically have higher housing costs than the national average, they overwhelmingly score high on neighborhood and transportation measures, where residents can easily walk to or access services and amenities. These features increase overall livability even though factors such as expensive housing lower it. The Index is meant to show a complete picture of the communities’ livability.

You can check out the AARP Livability Index and see your community’s score by visiting www.aarp.org/livabilityindex.

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