Photo by North Dakota Tourism/Amy Taborsky

Bismarck is ranked among the top 10 most livable small cities in the country, according to data analyzed from the newly updated AARP Livability Index.

The index uses more than 50 national data sources to score every neighborhood and community in the U.S. based on seven categories of livability: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. Users can search the index by address, zip code, or community to find an overall livability score.

When the Livability Index was first launched in 2015, downtown Bismarck was named as one of the 10 “Most Livable Neighborhoods” in the country.

Researchers who compiled the list said with a diverse age population, Bismarck gets a higher rating than others when it comes to opportunity for all ages, including opportunity for work. Bismarck also ranks high in the area of civic engagement and housing affordability. Although the researchers noted good opportunities for outdoor recreation, Bismarck received low scores in the neighborhood and transportation categories because of proximity to destinations like grocery stores, parks and other amenities, and lack of convenient public transportation options.

AARP identified the top 10 large, mid-size and small cities in terms of their livability scores.

“We’ve always known that Bismarck is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire,” said AARP North Dakota State Director Josh Askvig. “We also know that a majority of older adults want to remain living in their homes and communities as they age. This index is a valuable tool to help community leaders and individuals improve their communities and better meet the needs of people of all ages,” Askvig said.

The Livability Index helps communities meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities of demographic changes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections, by 2035 adults 65 and older will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.

Today, there is much discussion across North Dakota about making our communities stronger, healthier, and more vibrant. In some communities, we have state and local leaders and community volunteers working to make their communities more livable or redevelop and revitalize a more attractive “main street.”

“To help neighborhoods, towns and cities become more livable, AARP encourages local leaders to join the Network of Age Friendly Communities. While there are no North Dakota communities currently in the network, AARP has tools to help communities understand their strengths and areas to improve, including the Livability Index. The data shows that these communities in the network are adapting to their aging populations and making sure their communities are safe, walkable, affordable and economically viable to support all generations,” Askvig said.

To find out your community’s livability score, or for a full list of the top ten large, mid-size and small cities in America, visit www.aarp.org/LivabilityIndex.