The Tar Heel State has mountains, a seaside and a renowned research hub. In addition, communities across the state are taking steps to become more age-friendly.

More than 2.5 million North Carolinians live in areas that have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The AARP state office wants to increase that number to 5 million by 2020. U.S. Census projections show 1 in 5 North Carolinians will be 65 or older by 2035.

Communities that join the network commit to building social and physical infrastructure to make the place more livable at any age. Projects include bike paths, safe streets and opportunities for social engagement. Orange County has made the greatest strides by improving bus transportation and preparing a master plan for age-friendly priorities.

To learn about features that make a community livable, go to