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How Livable Is Your Community?

It takes more than natural beauty to make a community livable. A new AARP website scores livability using more than 60 factors. (Clean WI)
It takes more than natural beauty to make a community livable. A new AARP website scores livability using more than 60 factors. (Clean WI)
March 12, 2018

MILWAUKEE – How livable is your community compared to others?

How well does your community meet your needs, regardless of age or income?

These are some of the questions answered by the AARP's new website that lets you type in your address, ZIP code or community name and find out just how livable your community is.

Bill Armbruster, a senior adviser for AARP's National Livable Communities effort, says the organization had to collate a lot of data to come up with a livability index.

"Can you get out and have access to transportation to get to the places that you want?” he raises. “Do you have access to the resources that you may need, whether it be medical, but also access to food, your friends and other parts of the community."

The site can be found at, and when you enter your location, the site will immediately give you an overall livability score, as well as individual scores for several factors that go into making your community livable.

According to Armbruster, no less than 60 separate measures were examined to come up with a community's overall score. Twenty of the 60 examined various community policies.

"Do you have a smoke free policy?” he states. “How are your principles with regards to what we call complete streets? Are you designing your roads around cars, or around all users? Is there affordable housing available? Is it accessible? What types of features do you have in your neighborhoods?"

Armbruster says the AARP livability index website also is a great discussion starter for community leaders and decision makers.

"To say, 'Hey, let's look and see where we're doing good and why we are doing good, but let's also look at the areas that we may have for opportunity,'” he says. “And I think it promotes that community dialog amongst decision makers and community members to say, 'What do we want our community to be?'"

With AARP surveys continuing to show that older adults overwhelmingly desire to age in their homes and communities, the livability index can be a great tool to guide public policy.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI