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Living in the Bluegrass State

PHOTO: From Ashland to Paducah, and including all other Kentucky towns, you can now put a community's livability to the test. AARP has created an online livability index. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.
PHOTO: From Ashland to Paducah, and including all other Kentucky towns, you can now put a community's livability to the test. AARP has created an online livability index. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.
May 4, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. – What makes a community livable might change depending on the age of the person giving the opinion.

AARP has launched an online Livability Index that anyone can use to determine how well any community is meeting specific needs.

AARP's chief public policy officer, Debra Whitman, says livability is important to everyone, but especially to people as they age – since most say they want to remain at home, and community leaders need to plan for that.

"And we're hoping that they use it as a tool to think about their communities differently, and how to make them better over time,” she states. “We wanted to make sure that this tool is used not only to say what we're doing right, but also – even if we're doing it right – how can we do it better?"

Whitman says the index was created using more than 50 sources of data, including a survey of 4,500 people over age 50.

The rankings are divided into seven categories, including the environment, health, community engagement and transportation.

Among Kentucky's 10 most populated cities, Owensboro received the highest livability rating, but no town from the Bluegrass state made the survey's top 30 in any of the seven key categories.

Whitman says by considering 60 factors, the livability index stretches well beyond how a town impacts your pocketbook.

"All of those things sort of weigh against the cost of living in a place,” she points out. “So, it's not just a pure cost measure. It's also how good is your community to be in, on an everyday basis?"

Whitman points out that the Livability Index works for small towns, too.

The Livability Index is on the AARP website.


Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY