Despite continued suburban sprawl, communities across the nation are taking steps to become better places to live and age in, according to data analyzed from the newly updated AARP Livability Index. More communities are enacting policies to improve livability with notable increases in housing trust funds that set aside revenue for a variety of affordable housing strategies—now in over 200 counties. Along with overall livability trends, AARP identifies the top ten large, mid-size and small cities.
Alexandria and Arlington made the top 10 list of cities with populations 100,000-500,000. Both are part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.
Arlington, which ranks second on the AARP Livability Index of medium-sized cities has its own nightlife and cultural attractions that separates it from the capital. Ranked at #1 as America’s Fittest City, Arlington does not disappoint with options to stay active whether it’s at one of the many parks or trails. Many neighborhoods are walking distance to downtown centers or public transit that is either part of Arlington County or WMATA. Housing can be expensive though and opportunity is lacking for older adults.
Alexandria is new to the list, with a score of 61 on the AARP Livability Index of medium-sized cities, giving it ninth place. Alexandria also has its own culture and nightlife that attracts residents. With convenient public transit, plenty of recreational activities and affordable housing, Alexandria is a desired area to live especially with the small historic area of Old Town. With Alexandria’s location, it makes many neighborhoods accessible and close to work for many residents.
This is the first, full update of the index since its launch in 2015. Based on the seven categories of livability measured in the index—housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity—19 of the 30 top-scoring cities in 2015 made their respective top ten list again in 2018. Half of the top-scoring cities are also members of the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities.